We want to share with you some inspiring people we have come across on our own creative journey and share an insight into their creative practices, inspirations and projects.
That Paper Joint is the name that artists Max Malone and Zoe Crook agreed on for their new creative project: Melbourne’s first collage studio and gallery. Located in an old building (used as a medical centre back in the day) on Brunswick’s busy Sydney Road, That Paper Joint is by itself a ‘collaged’ space. As you pass by, this unique place won’t go unnoticed, as their front window is already a beautiful composition bursting with colours, decorative items, shelves full of magazines and books, plants, framed pictures and lamps. Everything is carefully assembled, like a cut and pasted collage picture itself, framed by the window frame. The interior aesthetic makes of That Paper Joint an extremely welcoming space, which is something that Max and Zoe wanted to create: an inclusive hub where the community could come and join through paper.
They offer public and private workshops (no previous art experience is needed), collage packs for you to try at home, and a gallery with affordable prints, original artworks and local artist exhibitions.
That Paper Joint is an original place that aims to bring collage making to everyone’s lives.
As creatives ourselves, we highly admire Max and Zoe’s work and effort on bringing up a creative project like this, particularly during these times of uncertainty and hardship. Art can be a way of bringing hope and change to life, as it connects us with the intuition and creativity within ourselves.
You can check their website here and book your next collage workshop, or see their beautiful art for sale on their online shop. Alternatively, just come say hello to Max and Zoe at the studio (544 Sydney Rd, Brunswick 3056).
We talked to them about this project, and here’s what they said to us:
Just so our audience can get to know you better, would you shortly introduce yourselves in regards to your art practice?
My (Max’s) practice has always revolved around found imagery, within books, magazines, and other printed ephemera; even during my formal education within graphic design, I was constantly creating things using fragments, snippets, and cutouts from other original sources. My practice is still fundamentally dependant on assembling elements from disparate sources in order to create my own story. Maybe this is just a fancy phrase for stealing ;)
Zoe is originally from Geraldton W.A, and we met in the UK ten years ago.
Now working together at that paper joint, Zoe brings many talents and skills to the team. With a work background in web & digital design, Zoe takes care of a lot of things behind the scenes, as well as co-hosts all of our workshops, providing care and attention to detail. Her attentive eye and empathetic nature has led to the couple creating a creative environment that feels safe and welcoming for all.
You were pioneers in creating a collage studio in Melbourne. How did the idea come to your minds? Did you have any reference from a similar space somewhere else?
In the UK we used to run a project called ‘Collage Club’ in Bristol. In the back of the music venue, we’d host these wild monthly collage sessions for large groups. It was always a beautiful chaotic mess, but looking back, it was those messy student-filled nights where we first got the confidence that a collage studio might work.
It wasn’t until many years later, after moving to Melbourne and becoming inspired by the breadth and diversity of the hospitality scene, that we felt there could be a space for us to open up a dedicated, purpose-built venue. And then during the beginning of the pandemic, it gave us the time to really think harder about the concept and visualize all the details.
How would you define the act of making collage, and what is its particularity as an art practice?
Collage in its traditional and simplest sense is the act of taking various materials and sticking them onto a backing. The word collage, originally comes from the French word meaning ‘to glue’. But for us, we sometimes collage but with no glue at all! You’ll have to attend a session here to fully know what I’m talking about ;)
Who are your biggest references in collage?
The online Instagram community is huge and there are so many contemporary collage artists out there, trying new things and expanding what’s considered ‘collage’. It’s impossible to pick out any individuals at the moment, as I feel everyone is pushing each other to make incredible original work. If you're looking for inspiration, check out the Melbourne Collage Assembly for starters.
We know That Paper Joint opened just recently (November 2021), but do you feel people are already engaging with the activities and products that you offer? How do you promote your workshops and get visibility?
We’ve been sharing the word whoever we can, radio interviews, magazines features (print and digital), social media. We’d like to run a printed ad campaign one day too. But for now, a lot of the growth has come from Instagram. The response, honestly, has been better than we anticipated, our workshops are beginning to sell out, as are our Collage Packs!
Can you describe what would a collage workshop be like at That Paper Joint?
Firstly we want the studio to feel like your studio. It’s our goal for you to feel comfortable, relaxed. Then, simply put, it’s a two-and-a-half-hour journey into your own creative potential. It’s broken down into a few sections; image searching, cutting, composing, and capturing. The time absolutely flies by.
We supply all the tools, materials, refreshments, and guidance, and the rest is up to you! Depending on the books and magazines you choose from our bookcase, you could come a dozen times to one of our sessions and always end up making something wildly different each and every time. The scope and diversity of what our participants have made are amazing.
There’s a lot of recycling and reusing in collage making. Do you have some kind of donation system where people can bring their old magazines and books to you?
Yes! On our website, you’ll find a donations page, where you can fill out a quick form and let us know what you have available, and the quality. Since opening, we’ve been receiving some truly epic donations. We’re almost out of space in the storage room, but it’s so hard to turn donations quality down, especially as the more variety of materials we receive, the better our sessions will become! For us, we’ve set a goal for That Paper Joint to champion sustainable creativity and use second hand wherever possible.
*Photo credit: William Hamilton Coates