Developing young talent

Young Melbourne artists developed their skills alongside professionals last month at the CBC-based Signal Summer Program.

Starting January 9, the youngsters create works that were displayed at the Northbank studio’s January 20 showcase.

Artists between the ages of 13 and 25 who participated in the two-week program created works of spoken word, sculpture, dance, sound and interactive animation under the guidance of working professionals.

Nia Dove-Adotey is a 16-year-old participant of Signal Summer’s Poetic License workshop. Poetic License, led by not-for-profit performing arts company Outer Urban Projects, teaches young artists the power of words through song, rap, beat-boxing, storytelling, poetry and performance.

The workshop is led by a professional beatboxer, a spoken word artist and a rap artist.

“Classes at first were more interactive, like word association games or freestyle rap games. Even games where you just had to keep a constant stream of talking for a really long time,” Nia said.

“Eventually it got to creating your own content and rehearsing and doing full run throughs in the lead up to the event.”

Ben Chesler, also 16, participated in the Automata workshop.

Led by Cake Industries, Automata helped young artists create abstract mechanical sculptures.

“I’m working on a sort of working music box at the moment,” Ben said.

“I’ve been interested in music for a while and thought of a music box as a way to blend sound and engineering. It’ll have a music based component of course, as well as a more electronic pulley-based component.”

Signal’s impact on the artistic community of Melbourne is significant and it seems all those involved are grateful for the opportunity.

“I think it’s pretty lucky that we get to work with very skilled artists. They’re very good at what they do and they offer great advice. Signal itself is well decked out as a studio. I just wish there were more of them around,” Ben said.

“It’s great to have a space like Signal. You get to work with not just professionals but also people who have completely contrasting styles to you. You learn from that, you evolve your own talent and I think it’s a great environment,” Nia said.

Professional artist and one half of the duo behind the Electric Karaoke program Ghostpatrol, also known as David Booth, has been involved with Signal before.

Although he is a teacher, Mr Booth learns from its programs and his time spent with the younger participants too.

“The program we’re using can recognise your lips moving on your face and super impose that onto your computer-generated character. It’s really amazing to watch. I don’t totally understand the back end of it, but that’s what’s so great about Signal and these programs. I feel like I’m getting taught things as well,” he said.

“All the kids are really talented and passionate and optimistic. It’s a really, really nice environment to be in. You know, there’s not just one path to being creative, you don’t just have to go to art school. We’re really privileged to have stuff like Signal.”

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