Digital and graphic design studies influence Sean Cassidy's new exhibition

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE: Sean James Cassidy, Kerrie Peden, James Cassidy and Parkes Shire Council's Natalie Williams with one of Sean's works from his most recent exhibition at the Parkes Cultural Centre. Photo: Submitted
DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE: Sean James Cassidy, Kerrie Peden, James Cassidy and Parkes Shire Council's Natalie Williams with one of Sean's works from his most recent exhibition at the Parkes Cultural Centre. Photo: Submitted

Parkes artist Sean James Cassidy has embarked on a journey of learning and discovery.

On completion of his studies of digital and graphic design, Sean has used this new medium to create a collection of works based on poems written by family members. He brings together skills in animation and design to produce an exhibition called Computers and Friends, comprising two parts - digital art prints and a series of audio-visual works.

The digital art prints are a visual representation of three poems, each complemented by an animation and effects video.

"The impetus for this exhibition came from the influences of growing up in Parkes and from listening to stories and poems written by my family," Sean said.

"The works are an investigation of self, family and connection to ancestral threads and to place. From a baby, I grew up listening to my father singing and quoting poetry of his own and other's and my parents Janice and James have always supported my art career.

"Aunty Kerrie has also supported me, recognising my passion from an early age."

Millenia Wandering was written by Sean's father James Cassidy and seeks to evoke the wonder of our existence and the possibly random timing of our creation. Sean draws on the symbols of his heritage to enhance distant attachments.

Around and through this poem, is woven music, influenced by outer space and the inner space of molecular structures. Actual sounds of pulsars and other recorded sounds from space are used in the musical accompaniment. Jason Nacho Murchie produced the musical accompaniment and was video editor.

The poems Blood Moon and Radio Telescope were written by Sean's aunt, Kerrie Peden.

Sean said these works are a representation of Parkes, itself.

"I have always had a fascination with the night sky," Kerrie said.

"And often heard my grandfather's story of his sighting of Halley's Comet in 1910. On the occasion of the Blood Moon, I stood out on my back deck, in the cold, to witness it. What I saw was so impressive, I was moved to write this poem."

Blood Moon is an animation of multilayered symbols weaving around the marvel of the heavens and the attraction to its mysteries.

To Sean, growing up, the Parkes Radio Telescope was a familiar sight.

On the digital art print, he has used the textures of the grain paddocks it sat among, to symbolise place. It also had a big impact on Kerrie.

"I grew up watching its construction and it was the reason for the only day in my life that I wagged school. It was at Parkes High School and I was in Fourth form or Year 10, as it is called now," she said.

"It was the day of the moon landing and all the students were gathered in the bottom quadrangle. A small black and white television was wheeled out onto the first storey balcony.

"I thought, I'm never going to be able to see a thing from here. I had the feeling that something very special was about to happen. So, determined not to miss it, I left and got home as quickly as I could.

"There, I witnessed this momentous occasion, sitting in my grandparent's house, in front of the fire. It was awe-inspiring.

"So, when Sean and I were talking about the radio telescope one day, he struck a pose, looking up, with his hands on his hips, creating a caricature of the Dish. It looked exactly right so I wrote that picture, as a poem."

Sean was supported with the animation and graphics, on both of Kerrie's poems, by Tanjim Islam, Nathan Kopp and Jason Nacho Murchie, who offered their technical advice for the project.

This exhibition also screened the video 'One's Garbage, Another's Gold', produced by the international art group, Ub Ubbo Exchange, of which Sean is the director.

The drummer Matthew "Chi Chi" Cicchinni is the performer and the video was made by Miguel Valenzuela and Jason Nacho Murchie.

It has since been entered in an international drumming video competition and has made it to the finals.

"Recycling is such an important and powerful process, taking old and used goods and giving them a new life and purpose," Sean said.

Computers and Friends is seen by Sean as a celebration of the lasting influences and nurturing support he has received throughout his life in Parkes and beyond.

"Since completing my studies at Enmore Design Centre in Sydney, I feel very grateful to be able to share my new computer skills with my family and my town," he said.