Joshua Santospirito tells us what’s going on in his back yard.
So what is the Moon Shed?
It is the shed in my backyard in Moon-ah: a slightly wonky old weatherboard construction that was probably built over 60 years ago.
Fellow artists Leigh Rigozzi, Abbie Rothery and myself do printing, screenprinting, run fun events like drawing nights, movie nights and hold exhibitions there during Summer. We painted a sign on the front doors based on the outstanding sign typography from Moonah Machinery on Derwent Park Road that really should be heritage listed.
Image: Installing paintings by Tim Price in the Moon Shed
I quit my job after 15 years as a nurse in late 2018, took my savings and some leave payouts and decided to make art for a while (I was a bit burnt out and badly needed a break).
A week later my good friend-in-comics Leigh Rigozzi rocks up to my backyard garden and says “Hey Josh, can we turn your shed into a studio?” At the time it was filled with JUNK but I honestly hadn’t worked out what to do with myself yet so I shrugged my shoulders and said “yeah sure, why not?”
We moved the junk out, renovated the building as best we could, gave it a lick of paint and it turned suddenly into a studio/gallery. After that we decided to put on exhibitions and have some events once the pandemic slowed down. Abbie Rothery, a wonderful Hobart painter, came on board when we got some risograph printing machines that we all bought together.
Image: Garden gnomes at the Moon Shed
What kind of art happens in the Moon Shed? All kinds! We’ve had exhibitions of a 12 year old daughter of a friend of ours who made her own stuffed toys, incredible paintings, drawings, prints. Anything really.
When there’s no exhibitions on in the front area we spread out our work-tables in there and print on risograph machines, tee-shirt and paper screenprinting, drawing, relief-printing, zine manufacture etc. It’s a versatile space for doing what we want, but a space we can clear out easily to make space for exhibitions.
Image: Moon Shed mural by Leigh Rigozzi
We hope to build a community of engaged artists that come to events and start making art together, it’s really exciting seeing firsthand the connections grow between people over time. We really hope other people in the neighbouring streets do something similar with their sheds so we can organise an art-crawl between houses on the same evenings over Summer. How great would that be!
Image: Painting by Tim Price at the Moon Shed
We were pretty surprised by how many people turned up to one of our events. Thankfully the restrictions on numbers of people who could be at houses had just increased the day before! Lucky!
Image: Event at the Moon Shed
Having exhibitions open to the public every few weeks has forced me to get my veggie garden up to scratch which is great; I’m especially looking forward to the corn crop. On the downside we had some wild kids attend the exhibition the other week who ran down the other side of my house where I haven’t weeded a lot, they pulled out sticky-weed and dragged it around to the veggie patch … which is less than ideal.
Image: The Paperbark Gallery at the Moon Shed
For years I’ve walked down my street where there is one of those street library boxes. I always thought that a wooden box like that would make a fun little art gallery so one day I just built one and installed it on the front fence near my letterbox, naming it after the Paperbark tree just over the fence from it.
The inaugural exhibition in the Gallery was a drawing by young 10 year old Archer who was born in the house next door when I first moved into my house. We stood out on the sidewalk and launched the exhibition with a drink of juice. It’s pretty cute: from my front window I can see people walk past and peer in to see the artworks installed in there. I even put in some solar-powered lights for night time. Anyone can exhibit in there provided that a) the art fits inside, and b) it’s got a good vibe and is G-rated.
Posted: November 2020