Author Archives: traffman

About traffman

I don't like labelling people, but if I were a blog post, I'd be tagged something like this: sydney, australia, melbourne, albury, male, gen-y, gay, hr, media, art, architecture, nailbiter, photography, design, business, atheist, apolitical, caucasian, lhatese, taken, citroen, gym, swim, brunette, black humour So that's me, now for my story. I started life growing up in rural Australia as the third of five boys. For the first 18 years of my life, I knew I wanted to be an architect. I would spend free time drawing house plans and reading architecture books. But when I finished school and started to study architecture at university, I had one horrible realisation: architecture is not the career for me. So I quit the degree and talked my way into a PA role, which had the unforseen side-affect of giving me a taste of the business world. Six years later I graduated from a business degree and have been working in Human Resources in the media industry ever since. So here I am. On New Years Eve 2009 I made a resolution to find my artistic aesthetic. So I started culturepublic. The idea is that I'll post for a year and then look at my tag cloud to see what I'm most interested in. So thanks for being part of my journey. Oh, for the record, consider this permission to reference, link to, or steal from, this blog. Comments and the odd email are most welcome too.

Lafayette Park, Detroit

Modernism sometimes gets a bad wrap, being called soulless, elitist, or even barbaric. But gosh it can be awe-inspiring. These pics of Mies Van de Rohe’s Lafayette Park (in Detroit of all places) are from Dwell.

Lafayette was the first urban renewal project in the US and remains an intimate, dense community of differing scales within a suburban, yet shrinking, city.

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized



Kusama for $1000!


The annual MCA Bella Dinner will soon be held in Sydney.  An annual event, the dinner also hosts a prize draw which costs $1000 to enter, but entrants are guaranteed to win one of 30 fine contemporary pieces. This year they even have a Kusama in the mix (see below).

The Kusama is by far the most valuable piece – and a stunning work in its own right – but for sheer beauty,whimsy and originality, my favourite has to be the Lionel Bawden sculpture made from coloured Staedtler pencils (above).

You can view all the works here.  If you want to enter, you’d better be quick, as the draw is notorious for selling out before you can say “Bargain”.


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Posted by on August 7, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Going Batty: Animal Architecture


It could be said that architecture is one of the most humanist pursuits, existing solely to make humans happy.

The always clever BLDGBLOG this week features the Bat Spiral, a project by UK architecture firm Friend and Company which shows that animals can get just as much enjoyment from architecture.

Based just outside of London, the Bat Spiral is designed to provide a roost (cave?) for the 17 bat species that are native to the UK.  The 45 square metre structure can house about 330 bats who are attracted to the structure for its dark spaces, and for the warmth generated from the black timber walls.

It is also surprisingly beautiful with its simple, reed-like support columns raising it above the swamp, and its graceful painted timber curves.


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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in architecture, building


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Franck Gohier: Target

Sold Out

Australia is a funny place. We laugh at the commercialism of the US but spend ourselves silly on credit.  We welcome people from all nations, yet shun our own ancestors.  Or, as the recent Australian film Samson & Delilah showed, we pay exorbitant amounts of money for Aboriginal art, with most of the funding going to the gallery owners and only a pittance to the actual artist, who often lives in squalor.

Welcome to Franck Gohier‘s world, currently on display at Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney.  Gohier uses his acerbic wit to comment on themes such as the Northern Territory invasion (ahem, intervention), the credit crisis, and global warming.  This wit, combined with the pop-art aesthetic, sends a powerful message about where our country is headed.  The bullet holes aren’t so subtle.

Oi Oi Oi

Welcome to the Tropics



3 minute warning

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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking


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Terrafugia: Coming to a Street (or Sky) Near You


Technology doesn’t normally feature on culturepublic, but this is just too cool to ignore.  US aviation company Terrafugia has just released the Transition, the world’s first street-legal aeroplane – yep, a plane that turns into a car.

It’s surprisingly cheap, priced at $190k, and they’ve already taken deposits from over 100 eager US-buyers who are due to receive their new toys sometime in 2011.

Apart from $190k, all you need to fly the Transition is a sports pilots license, which takes only half the time to obtain than a full license.  Once you’ve got that, you’re all set.  Transition’s wings fold up in 15 seconds, and although it chews through the fuel (11kms per litre in the air, and not much better on the ground) this little beast is sure to make you the envy of all your friends as you fly over the freeway, looking down at their gridlocked SUVs.




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Posted by on August 2, 2009 in Uncategorized


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Lacey Terrell: The Passing Ring


Being nomadically inclined, I’ve always understood the appeal of running away and joining the circus. In fact, if it weren’t for shared bathroom facilities and a little too much socialising for my tastes, I would probably have already done so.

F-Stop have released a new issue of their always awesome e-zine, focusing this month on the theme of Amusement.  Their featured artist is Lacey Terrell who has spent the past 13 years documenting what she calls one of America’s last nomadic tribes, the Culpepper & Merriweather Great Combined Circus.

The circus travels continuously for eight months of the year, mainly throughout the midwest, and is otherwise based in the remote town of Hugo, Oklahoma – perculiarly, the town of 5,000 people seems to be the winter home of about a dozen competing circuses.

Anyway, back to the photography.  Terrell’s work captures the essence of what the circus is all about: bright colours, movement, and the promise of something new every day.  It also goes behind the scenes to depict the reasons that circus performers choose this lifestyle in the first place: for some escapism, others restlessness, boredom, cameraderie or sheer desparation, for the lack of a better option.

The Passing Ring is a culmination of over a decade’s hard work, and the quality of the images definitely reflect the artist’s dedication. You can see more of Terrell’s work via West Hollywood’s Kopeikin Gallery.  Also worth checking out is the F-Stop group gallery exploring similar themes.

Edit: after hearing from Terrell herself, she suggests some more reasons why people join (and stay) with the Circus:

One thing not mentioned was that many of the performers are true artists, trained in Circus arts since they were children. So there is an artistry element, as well as a life-style element that factors into the reason for being with the show. Other non-performers have many reasons as well. For some, it’s a business. For some, an adventure. For some, a second chance at life away from hardships experienced in the past. And for others, it’s what they know. Circus is a way of life, offering a sense of community and family to many. EB White wrote, “The circus comes as close to being the world in microcosm as anything i know; it is universal and complex magic.”






All photos copyright Lacey Terrell.


Posted by on August 2, 2009 in looking, photography


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Detroit: Hantz Meanz Farmz


Once a city of innovation, by all accounts, Detroit is today a city in ruin: the Pompeii of our times.  The statistics are frightening: unemployment amongst the highest in the nation, population decreases surpassing even east-Berlin after the wall came down; and not a single supermarket within city limits.

Hantz Farm in inner-Detroit is set to change this.  John Hantz and Matt Allen have created this innovative approach to save the local community.  They realise that much of Detroit is simply “too broken to fix”, so aim to reinvigorate it by creating 100 acres of urban farms – former residential or commercial plots of land which they will clear and transform into a thriving agricultural area, for a relatively low cost. They cannot reinvigorate the fledgling car industry which has devastated the local – and national – economy, but they can create jobs, stimulate the local economy, and give residents a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

It’s an inspiring idea that will create jobs, increase the health of its denizens, aid in smart energy use, lower crime rates and free up emergency services to look after the inhabited areas of the city.

Natty little logo, too.



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Posted by on August 1, 2009 in building, urban design


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