On the evening of Saturday August 13 at At the Above in Fitzroy, the creative practices of Andy.R and Jac of calico.whore were brought together in dialogue through a series of exploratory performances as part of their exhibition Two.

The title Two denotes the duality of the identities and practices displayed, however the contents of exhibition encompassed an even greater multiplicity.

The exhibition also included works spanning a variety of disciplines, including textiles, jewellery, shoes, sculptures, furniture and publication.

New works were created in front of a live audience as part of the performance element of the exhibition. Tapping into the sensibilities of Gutai performance art and the spontaneity of live performance, the artists were interested in the ways that the space, the audience, the subjects, and the mood coalesce into the creation of imperfect, unreplicable, experimental works.

Audience members were invited to watch a series of performances of haircuts, and the creation of subsequent works that incorporated the hair in paintings and resin sculptures. The new works are available for purchase from At the Above.

The Creatives

Jac is a multidisciplinary artist, design consultant and founder of the clothing production house five.one.six. In her artisanal practice, calico.whore, she creates wearable objects that marry antiquity with modernity.

"[calico.whore] is where I can really express myself and create entirely as I like to without commercial limitations", explains Jac.

With a background in fashion design, Jac seeks to create works that have a prolonged significance in one's life and transcend seasonality, a notion that is often associated with fashion. Everything that she creates for calico.whore, from ideation to release is guided by feeling.

"I want everything to be beautiful and have a story, my work aims to tell stories in visually enchanting ways that reflect my inner self and how I view the world", she says.

Andy.R is an artisan hair stylist who uses unconventional cutting techniques and custom created natural hair care products. He operates out of his hair salon in Fitzroy, which also showcases experimental art.

Through his work, he is continually pushing the boundaries of hair and presenting its outcomes in various mediums, including video, photography and performance.

"Inspiration for my work stems from natural beauty and minimalism," says Andy.

"I like creating hair that is organic without artificial approaches or interventions (for example, the use of forceful brush blowdrying of hair or gimmicky hair products that claim to do all sorts of things)."

The two met in what Jac describes as "a haircut that started a friendship", forming an instant connection and mutual admiration of each others' works.

On the Genesis of Two

The idea for Two came from a previous project that did not pan out.

"What actually prompted it was a group show I was a part of that I originally invited Andy to perform in," explains Jac.

"...I ended up leaving to take another more solo direction, and it turns out that was with Andy."

However, discussions about working together on a project have been going on for longer than that; the discussions from the group show helped with concretising what that collaboration could look like.

"... I think that many of the projects that have come about have been as a result of a series of events that have led me down that path, similar to a domino effect", said Andy.

"There was never a direct proposal of this idea, it just seemed obvious and fell into place sort of on its own", reflects Jac.

On the Importance of Materials and Process

The exhibit portion of Two consists primarily of singular edition unique objects. Both Andy and Jac show a clear reverence for the materials that they work with in their practice.

"My fear is dilution of content and wastage of resources," explains Jac.

"My expression across [all the forms I work in] is in the detail, the hope is for it to be appreciated and understood, not sold or produced in quantity."

For Jac, "it's always been about the making".

Such care for details is also why process is such an important aspect of Two, as reflected in the performances.

"My process of cutting hair can take up to two hours," Andy explains.

"I meticulously work my way through the hair section by section, strand by strand. My method allows freedom to observe how the hair responds and then opportunity to further refine the work and process accordingly.

"I use art as a way to explore cutting techniques and approaches. In particular, performance art has been an expressive form."

On their Approaches to Creativity

The multidisciplinarity of Two is informed by Andy and Jac's fluid conceptualisation of medium.

"I see many forms of creativity as interconnected," said Andy.

"One creative discipline inspires the next, whether I'm working on a large scale painting, sculpture, photography, film or cutting hair, there is always that connection to a whole crossover of ideas.

"I always love exploring and experimenting the possibilities of things and pushing the boundaries. I enjoy understanding the foundations and then challenging [them] to discover new inspiring ideas and concepts."

Jac's mantra of "to construct a garment is to build a home" reflects a similar understanding of all the disciplines she dabbles in as contributing to a greater collective theme:

"There's a few meanings [to this mantra], one referencing in a very literal sense of the process of making a garment from start to finish. Similarly to how a tailored jacket is sculpted like a piece of delicate architecture," she outlines.

"In a more sentimental and personal way, I feel that the clothing we wear is our home. We live in them and [hopefully] maintain them, treating them with care, laundering, repairing, re-arranging and updating every now and then.

"To invite someone into your home is a loving act of closeness. To wear something is to make it a part of you and to identify with that thing.

"We wear so much more than just cloth to skin, we wear a lifestyle, we wear our relationships, our emotions, our past, our personalities."

For both Andy and Jac, their practices always start and come back to their primary medium - hair and garment making respectively.

"I like to learn new practices and work with new mediums that I can bring back into the wearable," Jac reflects.

"Whether it's furniture, jewellery, shoes, sculpture, publication - they're all forms that we live in and centre our lives around."

The collaborative dialogue between Andy and Jac's practices is also enhanced by their mutual interest in learning more about each other's disciplines.

Andy has an existing connection to fashion and garments through his mother who practised in fashion design and tailoring.

"I always have been interested in garment construction", he mentioned.

Last year, Jac commenced a Cert III in hairdressing.

"I've always wanted to learn hairdressing, I love hair as a medium so naturally it's something that could very easily cross over into my practice as it now is", she said.

While she did not ultimately end up completing the certification, she still intends on exploring hairdressing on a deeper level.

"I [want] to learn the fundamentals of hair before working with it in a conceptual practice", she extends.

On the Role of Collaboration in their Practices

Such shared approaches to medium and similarities in visual sensibilities led to a surprisingly smooth collaborative process.

"When you have a strong vision and aesthetic it is really difficult to find collaborations that feel comfortable," reflects Andy.

"It's been a real pleasure to work on the Two performance with Jacinta as we have had a mutual understanding of what we have wanted to create and our thoughts on the project have complimented each other nicely."

Jac agrees.

"Usually I like to have full control over my work so I rarely enter into actual collaborations... With Andy and I, this show truly feels like where his practice and mine meet," she says.

"Our ideas would just flow so naturally bouncing back and forth between us in perfect melody.

"My voice feels heard within this collaboration, and I feel like it's allowed my to elevate beyond what I could have achieved on my own."

Andy and Jac also sought out other designers to help with enhancing the experience of the space. These include furniture and vases by Chong Office, floral arrangements by Alchemy Orange, jewellery by Vincent Jewellery. The space was scented with a wearable fragrance developed by Jac with Perfume Playground. Makeup was done by Kara Iacobellis for the models used for the performances.