Lucas Ihlein and His Philosophy of Community Building and Blogging as an Artform

Essay by Luke Foster

“My thoughts on writing:

Artists need to write. The practice and effects of art in the world are too important to be left to historians, critics, journalists, theorists etc. Artists’ voices should be central to the conversation. 

Also, artists need to write in diverse ways. Here are some of them:

We need to write as artists (through interviews, artist statements, reflective pieces, poetic texts, blog posts, scripts, scores, users manuals, manifesti, media releases, audio recordings); we may choose to write as scholars (through papers, chapters, essays, conferences etc); and where possible, we might include writing within our artworks (with text operating as an integrated component of expanded artworks that circulate beyond the walls of galleries and museums). 

The graphics (layout, formatting, visual components, diagrams, maps etc) which frame writing are a key component of the writing itself.”

Lucas Ihlein

I think the engineers must have been a bit worried that the Harbour Bridge that they had designed would meet up perfectly in the middle. I feel a bit the same way about the bridge I am building. However, I am not the only engineer Lucas, and his friends are building the bridge from their side too.

It’s because I burnt bridges over twenty years ago with Lucas and his friends after living with them at Demeter Bakery in Glebe/ Sydney that we were house minding for Marr Grounds. I went on a back packing holiday in India for about three months and it was my first international trip as an adult for about three months. I spent most of the time in Chennai and Pondicherry in southern India. Due to the rush to leave I forgot to pack my psyche meds in the last-minute rush.

In India I had an amazing and difficult time, and, on my return, I was completely bananas and made a mountain out of a mole hill and attacked my flatmates as I hadn’t been taking my meds. It was so bad I quit my job and ran away to South Korea to teach English a few months later.

Anyway, I hope that explains my poor behaviour and attacking Lucas and his friends who didn’t deserve that behaviour.

Anyway, returning to Lucas: I am a big fan of his writing particularly the blog about staying in the confines of Petersham for a month and blogging about community building there which means making as many friends as possible and helping them.

“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.” 
― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability

I used to have Nick Cave the Australian musician’s lyrics and Jack Kerouac’s novels as my main influences as a writer but as I have grown up it has become Lucas, the Dalai Lama, and Patch Adams.

After ten years of hardly exhibiting I had a café show called Community Building and it was influenced by Lucas’s idea of making as many friends as possible and helping them like he did with the Petersham blog and social interaction. I think the show was in 2011.

It was a small café show of drawings, but it made the foundation for my returning to art and writing as serious artforms.

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquillity and happiness we all seek.” Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lamas ideas about compassion and forgiveness are central not only to my writing but how I exist in the world now. But I have a lot to learn.

I recommend Lucas’s two books for further publishing and his blogging writing too to any prospective publishers as they are very well written and interesting.

Like Lucas I blog regularly on my website that my friend in Sydney Ross updates for me. And have also got my first book Mothers Love published in London with Austin MaCauley Publishers.

I feel there are pros and cons of blogging vs writing in books but also feel they work well together.

I promise never to get carried away with my anger again. I feel my beach walking, drawing, writing, friends, and support workers dissipate my negative emotions I have that used to result in temper and anger tantrums.

Also, Lucas is a multi-talented working in the mediums of performance, drawing, print making and installation art with shows at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, and the Sydney Biennale.

I would love to buy one of Lucas’s prints which are under $100 Australian dollars.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” 
― Buddha

I wish I had contemplated this Buddha quote before getting angry in the past.

I am deeply sorry to Lucas but also to his friends too who I attacked, and I hope you accept my apology.

The Harbour Bridge coming together.

A Lucas Ihlien print I want buy.