Big Fag Press

Archived entries for Friends in Print

A letter from China

Audrey, Diego, Gina
Audrey Qin from China, Big Fag Press boss Diego Bonetto, and Adelaide comic book artist Gina Chadderton at the Big Fag Press, mid-2016.

During 2016, we had the pleasure of welcoming Audrey Qin from China to work with us on the project of cataloguing and archiving John Demos’ huge body of work. Audrey was an exchange student at Sydney College of the Arts, and we loved working with her. Upon her return to China, Audrey sent us a letter about her experiences with Big Fag, which we reprint below.

Thanks so much Audrey, please come back and join us again soon!

– the Big Fag Press team.

– – –

Dear Big Fag Press,

Thank you very much for the time we spent together. For me, a short-term exchange student, it was such a blessing to join this passionate big family and get a fantastic insight about some interesting issues in the Australian art scene. With approximately zero pre-experience in the art industry, I joined the team as a volunteer at the end of the June 2016 and left with fruity art world experience.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the late artist John Demos’ art work almost accidentally, when I enquired about those storage boxes laying out in our ‘warehouse’. From then on, I started to get to know this extremely talented and unique artist — John Demos.

Between June and October of 2016, I devoted myself to take care of the inventory of John’s legacy. It was such a privilege to go through the whole process of making the inventory. My instructor Diego and I decided to take pictures of every valuable item of John’s old art works and belongings and record them using Google spreadsheets. It was like an amazing treasure hunt, when we actually took everything out and examined them in detail. Eye catching images kept popping out with forms I’ve never perceived before. However when things came to which item to keep and which to cast off, no one in the team seemed to feel authority enough to make the call.

Although with a natural sense of art, John was caught up by schizophrenia for most of his life. He creates art work such as repeatedly well organised chalk letters on blackboard, repeated words on giant pieces of paper, colourful or pure black ink strokes on paper, etc. Some of them are already covered by dust yet with a sense of decay which can be John’s personal touch and the idea that he wanted his works to convey at the first place.

In my personal opinion, there are two kinds of artist in the modern world — one is making art only for themselves while another is doing things mainly for the mass public. It’s about the personal drive of making art which is divided into an intrinsic drive and an extrinsic drive. If I put my feet in their shoes, as an intrinsic driven artist, it doesn’t matter if my art work can be appreciated by other people because it is the process of making art what matters to me; however, to be an extrinsic driven artist, presenting the art works is crucial, for audiences are the major group to communicate with. Thus, in John Demos’ case, making art released the nerves and expressed his feelings of the world. Perhaps John never wanted these works we uncovered to be exhibited. But once an artist wants to acknowledge their talent or effort, they need find a way to approach the audience. Extrinsic artists want to make their works ‘popular’ in an exclusive way. It comes back to my personal interest — how to bring traditional culture back to the stage without turning it into a soulless commercial product or compressing it into souvenirs.

I wanted to help out at Big Fag Press in the very beginning because of the bursting passion of art within the group members. The art industry is a tough world to live in. I feel Big Fag Press is somewhere between an art club and a not-for-profit business. During my internship timeframe, I had the privilege to witness its AGM (Annual General Meeting) and I was also allowed to bring two of my friends along. It was a mind-blowing experience for me with an executive board formed by people from all kinds of different job background. The team roles are assigned by the whole group all together. Although most of them in the board have another job, being artists is their common identity and the definition of passion. It is such a blessing to be in part of the amazing team.

Big thanks to Big Fag Press! I will catch up with the work on John’s project after I go back to China. Please keep me posted about your progress as well.

Best regards,
Audrey Qin

audrey qin with john demos art shirt
Audrey Qin with a John Demos art shirt at Big Fag Press

Artist in residence from Italy and a workshop

We are very lucky to have emerging artist Giorgia Severi all the way from Italy in residence at the press for the next three weeks.

Giorgia will be working form the Big Fag Press studio producing works for two exhibitions in Sydney, at MContemporary and the Italian Institute of Culture.
While here we will also offer a collaborative workshop with Giorgia and artist/forager Diego Bonetto, two days learning about medicinal and edible wild plants and producing beautiful monotypes using ink and natural sap. Sat 29 and Sun 30 October.

See here for details and bookings>

Giorgia is not new to Australia, having spent several months here working with remote communities to produce works that were then exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2015.
A special treat for us, come by and say hi or join the workshop and learn about how to produce your very own plant print.

Black Boots Collective : punk, politics and prints at the press

Aris Prabawa - Your Politician, biro on paper, 35 x 25 cm

Aris Prabawa – Your Politician, biro on paper, 35 x 25 cm


6pm Tuesday March 8th

An art exhibition, print collaboration, workshop and performance with the Black Boots collective on their tour of East Coast Australia. Featuring works by Aris Prabawa, Arya Pandjalu, Mochamad Tamzu, Budi Prakosa and Wahyu Jatmiko.

Print Culture at Delmar Gallery, this Saturday

Samuel Savage, "Kab Le" (dancing men), 2014

Samuel Savage, “Kab Le” (dancing men), 2014, (detail), vinylcut on paper, 74.5 x 121cm

Big Fag Press is participating in an exhibition at Delmar Gallery in Nov-Dec 2015, curated by Catherine Benz.

The show, entitled PRINT CULTURE, brings together DIY printmaking collectives from Indonesia and Australia: KRACK! (Yogyakarta), Umi Arts (Cairns), Frog House (Yogyakarta) and Big Fag Press (Sydney).

As always, we’re very pleased to be able to connect with other community-engaged groups who work progressively with print culture.

Bagus "Gonk" Prabowo, "Mangir" 2015, batik on canvas, 80 x 300cm

Bagus “Gonk” Prabowo, “Mangir” 2015, batik on canvas, 80 x 300cm

The details:

Opening: Sat 21 Nov, 3-5pm
Exhibition: 22 Nov – 6 Dec
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 12pm to 5pm
144 Victoria Street Ashfield (Sydney) NSW 2131
p. + 61 2 9581 6070

How amazing!

Elastics / Borrocha / Elástico (2012 Timor-Leste Mobile Residency Archive).

Elastics / Borrocha / Elástico (2012 Timor-Leste Mobile Residency Archive).

It is with great pride that we’d like to congratulate Fiona MacDonald, Narelle Jubelin, Maria Madeira and Victor De Sousa for winning the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award with their collaborative work Elastics / Borrocha / Elástico (2012 Timor-Leste Mobile Residency Archive).

This is the second time in 4 years that a print produced on the Big FAG wins the most prestigious recognition of excellence in the medium of prints, last time being the collaborative work by artists Lucas Ihlein and Ian Milliss.

Big FAG supported the production of Elastic with inkind administration, prepress, design and some of the printing. It is a great honour to have worked on such an amazing work comprising of ten plates of 2-3 colours and a folder.

The finalist exhibition is on until 15 November, 2015 at the Freemantle Arts Centre.

Read more about the work on Art Almanac and the West Australian.


A weekend with #legends

What a pleasure to spend the weekend at Volume Book Fair catching up with some legends of the printing game and meeting new stars.

Below a visual recount from our instagram:


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Big Fag Press at the Volume Art Book Fair

volume art fair artspace

Big Fag Press are presenting a selection of “prints we’re proud of” at the Volume Art Book Fair at Artspace, Sydney, this weekend.

All the details:

Friday 11 September: 5–9pm
Saturday 12 September: 11am – 7pm
Sunday 13 September: 11am–6pm
FREE and open to the public

The Gunnery Building
43–51 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo 2011

Friday 11 September: 5–9pm

Big FAG newsletter

It’s cold in July in Sydney, so what we do is rug up and write newsletters over here.
Here’s the latest

Please join our mailing list if you’d like to receive this. If you’re lucky we might post 6 to 8 times a year, definetely less than once a month, and usually it is a crafty wordy work of our in house excellent writer, Lucas Ihlein, but sometimes there is words from all of us.
In print,
the lithographers.

A gift from the FAG headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland

A gift from the FAG headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland

Share a plate with Mirra Whale, for delicious prints

We’re excited over here at the Big Fag Press, as we managed to secure Mirra Whale for our next printing workshop in the Share a Pl8 series, so good, book your place today.

Share a plate with Mirra

Share a plate with Mirra


Mirra is most famous for her exquisite drawings, portraiture (see here for her selection for the Archibald last year) and big scale prints of weeds, and she will join the Big Fag team for  a small numbers/high attention time. Learn how to create a beautiful artwork inspired by the long standing tradition of still life. Here’s a selection of drawings, etchings and aquatints form Mirra’s hands:

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The Daughters Project Responding to global #genderviolence

tammy brennan daughters zine big fag press

Tammy Brennan is a writer and performance artist who creates music theatre work about the lived experience of gender violence and sexual trauma. You can see some of her previous work on vimeo.

The Daughters Opera is a piece of collaborative contemporary music theatre about gender violence in the 21st century. It is currently being produced by Sydney-based performance artist Tammy Brennan, between Australia and India. A powerful monodrama that spans a massive emotional terrain, the audience enter a mythic realm engulfed by fear, condemnation, sacrifice and ritual directed by acclaimed Indian theatre artist Anuradha Kapur.

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