Freo's View


Posted in festivals, fremantle by freoview on March 12, 2016

There is absolutely no reason to be bored in Fremantle this week as there is plenty on to just watch or join in. And if that is all too much and you don’t like crowds, why not have a look at some exhibitions in town. Anya Brock at PS Art Space in Pakenham Street, Aboriginal art at Japingka Gallery in High Street, stunning underwater photography at the Glen Cowans Gallery at the Roundhouse and great landscapes at the Adam Monk photo gallery in High Street, and have a look at the exhibition at the Fremantle Arts Centre as well.

On Saturday the all weekend CHILLI FESTIVAL starts on the Esplanade, and there is also the BIKE MUSIC FEST UNCHAINED at Princess May Park next to Clancys from 1 pm. Another bike event is that night at South Beach where LIGHT ME UP BIKES will visit the international food market from 6.30 pm.

The traditional yearly BROOME TO BICTON free concert with the Pigram Brothers is on in Quarantine Park near the Bicton Bath from 5.30 pm on Saturday as well.

On Sunday the gorgeous GROWERS GREEN FARMERS MARKET is on from 8 am till midday, the SUNDAY BBQ session at J Shed is on from midday till 9 pm, the free courtyard Sunday concert at the Fremantle Arts Centre is from 2-4 pm with the VILLAGE VIBES, and at STRANGE COMPANY free music is on from 4-6 pm, while at Clancys they’ll start the March CRUCIAL ROCKERS free concerts from 7 pm. And the Zydecats are at the Workers Club at Fremantle Oval from 6-9 pm.

Roel Loopers



Posted in art, crime, fremantle by freoview on February 18, 2016

WA TODAY reports that $ 100,000 worth of Aboriginal art has been stolen from a house in Little Howard Street in Fremantle, so if anyone offers you art of that kind at markets or anywhere else make sure to contact WA Police!

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 21, 2014

The weather is changing and autumn on the way, but it looks as if the weekend is going to be pretty perfect again in Fremantle, so why not come up to Arthur Head next to the Round House on Saturday for a FREE LIVE CONCERT featuring Ngati, Mutima Band and The Biz.

Just down the road at Bathers Beach the Sunset Food Markets will also be on, so combine the two events, have a good meal from one of the 30+ international food stalls.

The Glen Cowans, Wild Twig and Mutima art galleries will be open at Captain’s Lane, so check out the work by our local artists. It has not been confirmed yet that the new Aboriginal Cultural Centre will also be open. It would be a shame if it was closed as it would get great exposure on Saturday.

Park at TAFE at Fleet Street for free, walk down High Street to look at the gorgeously lit up heritage buildings and enjoy Freo’s West End.

Roel Loopers


BB sunset



Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 19, 2014

The Fremantle BATHERS BEACH ART PRECINCT in collaboration with the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets will hold a FREE end of summer live music concert this Saturday March 22 from 5.30 to 9 pm at Captain’s Lane on historic Arthur Head, next to the Round House.

NGATI, the MUTIMA Band, and the BIZ PROJECT will be performing, while the studios along Captain’s Lane will be open, so check out the great underwater photography of Glen Cowans, the nature paintings at Twig Studio, and the eclectic creative mix at Mutima Arthouse. It is not confirmed yet that the new Aboriginal Cultural Centre will be open on the night, but I hope the City of Fremantle can organise that, so that our Nyoongar friends can showcase their work as well.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 20, 2013

Fremantle creatives came together for a second time at Kidogo Arthouse to see how they can better communicate, collaborate, lobby and market. The idea of getting art-related people together came from Kidogo owner Joanna Robertson and is still very much in its infancy as Monday’s meeting showed. It is a big challenge to try to create a group that wants to be inclusive and embrace artists, galleries, musicians, photographers, writers, designers, etc. as the issues are very different for each section. But creative people do love a challenge and coming up with good solutions, so I believe there is merit in trying to get something off the ground in Fremantle and taking ownership.

One thing I would like to try to organise is a German style ‘Stammtish’ where a table is reserved in a pub one evening each month for creatives to casually connect, discuss issues and problems and try to get to know each other, as artists often work in their own little bubble. Not knowing what is going on in the big bad world is a disadvantage, as often creatives miss out on opportunities to participate in, or benefit from, events, forums, grants, etc.

The Fremantle Arts Alliance, or Fremantle Creatives, or whatever the group will be named one day, is a really good initiative and deserves support from our creative and business community!

Roel Loopers




Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 19, 2013

The call by Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO Tim Milsom for a forum on arts in Fremantle is an interesting one because art and culture are diverse and huge and hard to put in one basket. How do we support all the different aspects?  What might work for visual art might be irrelevant for performing art. A sculptor has different needs than a painter, and the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra again has totally different requirements.

Visual artists and galleries are struggling because there are not enough art collectors. Art galleries demand commissions of at least 40% of the sales price and if artworks need to be framed it is hard for  artists to make a profit from exhibitions because they’ll pay for the framing, plus commission, plus opening costs, plus materials, plus studio rent. All that makes art often too expensive for the average punter as even emerging artists have to put ridiculously high prices on their works to at least cover costs.

The musicians of the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra are a dedicated lot and often perform great concerts for next to nothing. Their payment depends on how many people attend and often the hourly rate they receive after many rehearsals is less than that of a waiter in a pizza cafe. How do we solve that problem without major sponsorship?

Contemporary musicians find it hard to get gigs and often have to fight to get paid if the public does not turn up at the venues. How are we going to change that?

Commercial galleries close because of lack of sales and high rents. What to do about that?

Is a forum on arts going to change any of this? I have my doubts. What would be helpful is an on line calendar where all arts practitioners can enter their events, exhibitions, etc, so that they don’t take the audience away from each other by having openings on the same day. That needs to be better coordinated. I know I miss out on many arts events because I have already committed to go to another one on the same day and often even at the same time of the day.

Individuals make a difference and need support from the City of Fremantle and State Government. Look at the great examples of Sculpture@Bathers and the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra. It is all done trough hard work by committed people, but the risk is they’ll burn out one day, like those at FotoFreo did. Arts need financial and in-kind support, not another talk fest.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 23, 2012

Discover your Freo Arts at I read on a postcard I picked up at a Fremantle cafe. I thought it a very good idea to promote the Fremantle art industry and artists, so went to the website. What a disappointment to see then that all the City of Fremantle website does is promote institutions but not local art retailers.

When visitors to Freo goes to the website to find out what is on here they won’t find a mention of Japingka or Merenda Aboriginal art galleries, and neither of the well established Perth Galleries and Gallery East. There is also no mention of Glen Cowans photography gallery, or of Greg James and Jenny Dawson at the J Shed. There is no mention whatsoever of any privately run galleries!

I think it is quite remarkable that the city sets up a site to promote Fremantle arts without including all our art outlets. The City’s Economic Development Department works tirelessly to support our Fremantle traders, so why is the Arts in Freo website not doing the same for art related businesses?

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on February 25, 2012

Fremantle council will be dealing in March with the future of Arthur Head and consider a proposal by Artsource to change the historic area into an art hub, so I and many others have been wondering about the need for subsidised artist studios and artist in residency accommodation, and about the validation for throwing the Circus School out of the Old Customs House building in Phillimore Street.

In principle it is a good idea to support emerging young artists, but is it a good lesson for them to be sponsored so they can survive in their chosen profession? How many other professionals would like the same support and get offices and workshops at reduced rent.

But studios are not only let to emerging artists. At the Old Customs House there are also well established artists, who get thousands of dollars for their artworks. Should they be financially supported by the tax payers, or be considered to be small businesses, who take risks like all other businesses, and fight for their market place and business survival? I know of one very well known artist who has two houses in Fremantle, but still works from a subsidised studio at the OCH. I also know that another artist lives in Northam and only uses the subsidised studio when he comes for weekend visits to his son.

On a recent visit to the OCH a friend of mine walked through the building to find only a single artist in her studio. All the others were not used, presumably because the artists have jobs to go to and only use the studios infrequently. Why then should they get subsidised studios? Or are they only Sunday painters, and should a government agency sponsor amateur painters, who only dabble in art as a hobby?

The successful artists I know treat it as a professions and get up every morning to go to work. They support themselves by working hard and are not waiting for government hand outs or cheap work spaces. They pay full commercial rates and demand professional fees for their work.

We also have to question why the Circus School will have to leave the Old Customs House at the end of this year to make space for an art gallery. Why would a state government agency want to run a commercial art gallery in direct competition with existing Fremantle art galleries who are doing it tough. Will the Artsource gallery charge the same commission as commercial galleries do, or subsidise artists again by charging less, thus unfairly disadvantiging the privately run galleries in Perth and Fremantle?

The Minsiter for the Arts needs to have a good look at Artsource and where it is going, and the City of Fremantle needs to consider if it wants to support only one group of professionals, and if that is fair to all the hundreds of other small business owners who are doing it tough.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on February 17, 2012

Recent quotes in the Fremantle Herald by Artsource head Jude van der Merwe and well known North Fremantle art educator and gallery owner Julian Goddard, made me think of the art scene I was once a very active part of.

Galleries complain about lack of sales and some have closed, while other new ones have opened full of optimism, and possibly some naivety. Artists complain about a perceived lack of support form their galleries, while gallery owners complain about a perceived lack of loyalty from their artists. Throw independent art consultants and curators in the mix, who act for public artwork commissions, and you’ve got a whole lot of dissatisfied individuals, all going for the same treasure chest that are sales and commissions.

But should the debate be about not enough sales and galleries, or more realistically deal with the fact that there is a tsunami of artist, or more precisely, people who call themselves artists? There is an over saturation of mediocre to bad artists, who refuse to take any note of the good art that is out there, and never reference or compare their creativity, or ability to put something halfway decent on a surface, to that of people who are good at it.

Many of these ‘artists’ get supported by state government agencies like Artsource, who are giving them subsidised art studios, but no one requires them to have any business sense, or a certain standard of work and work ethics. Hence mediocrity is supported, when reality and honesty is asked for.

Please ‘artists’ stop asking your lovers, friends and family to give you an opinion about your art. They will all tell you that you are great, when in fact you produce utter rubbish. Be brave enough to ask an honest professional and save yourself from the embarrassment of a public exhibition, where people walk around with a smirk and shake their heads in disbelief.

Independent artists are small business owners who need to learn to be realistic, like retailers. No one owes you a living because you, and often you alone!, believe you are a brilliant artist who should get thousands of dollars for your work, while what you have on show is an insult to real artists who know about brush strokes, light and composition.

That, my arty friends, is what we are dealing with. The mediocre supporting the mediocre, telling each other how good and misunderstood they are, and sadly government agencies and art educators do the same, to protect their own jobs.

Last week I walked through an exhibition of photography in Fremantle. Only a single photo was anywhere near the standards required to call oneself a photographer, but this woman had her show. Yesterday someone told me he had walked out in disgust about the unacceptable low quality of the work, the lack of understanding of the simple basics of the craft! So I am not alone in my opinion.

I have seen the same happen on a professional level since the invention of digital cameras. Now everyone who owns a camera is a photographer and they are all out there competing against those of us who learned our craft from scratch. I have watched many times in utter disbelief so called wedding photographer doing photo shoots in the West End of Freo. I see ugly backgrounds behind the wedding parties, but these ‘pros’ don’t even notice it. I watch their lack of understanding of stunningly beautiful light, that they totally ignore by letting their flashlights do the creative thinking for them. They put the camera mode on P or A and all will be fine, is the attitude of these ‘pros’, who are ripping off their customers by selling bad photos for large sums of money.

While I get a lot of compliments for the photos I blog here, I rarely get asked to do assignements in Fremantle any more, because I am too expensive after having been a professional shooter for over 40 years. But people will know how to find me if they want some photos for free for newsletters etc. I have had enough of that and won’t be accommodating those who don’t support me.

Society needs to go back to insisting on quality. We want good quality art, good quality photography and design. We want good quality service. We want quality to have a relevance to the money we are expected to pay. If you produce crap don’t expect us to pay money for it. If you gallery owners hang the stuff, don’t expect us to buy it. Be more selective and get some sense of reality back in the over crowded art scene. Get rid of the no hopers who take up art gallery spaces and subsidised studios. Maybe then we will have a vibrant artscene again where buyers flock back to.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 22, 2011

I have to agree with CITY OF FREMANTLE  Councilor John Dowson that the Cultural Development Strategy indeed seems narrow if the main focus is on public art and painting walls of derelict buildings. Where is the long lasting legacy for the city on buildings that will be developed or demolished. Is that value for money?

Art seems to be a buzz-word lately, but my feeling is that there is a lot of naivety about it. (Just for the record; I was partner in a highly successful art gallery for years, have exhibited my photography extensively, and try to support artists and galleries whenever I can, so I am all for more opportunities for artists).

Let’s for example look at the idea of making Arthur Head an art precinct. Sounds great. It could become a tourist attraction, but how is the city going to do it? I heard councilors saying they wanted the cottages become available for visiting international artists. Nice idea in principle, but will that bring any visitors up that way? Will those artists run galleries in the cottages, and will they be allowed to hammer nails in the heritage walls to display their work?

From my experience I know most artists are not good business people, and most are not interested in running their own galleries, so will the city open art galleries at Arthur Head and compete with already existing commercial galleries in town? Also don’t forget parking is not allowed up here!

There is also the issue of quality. Many of the city’s studio spaces are taken up by mediocre Sunday painters, who seem incapable of viewing their own work critically, and call themselves artists. Is that what we’ll be getting at Arthur Head in the future?

If the Arthur Head historic cottages would only become artist studios for wannabes, there would be no benefit to the West End and the retailers at this end of the city. It would not attract more visitors, shoppers and buyers, and that is what is needed for the struggling businesses here.

Roel Loopers






%d bloggers like this: