WHEN photographer Kevin Thornhill moved from London to Canberra this year he came armed with a wealth of talent and experience, but didn’t quite know where to start.
“I had met a few people on social media, but I hadn’t really put any faces to names yet, and I really wanted to establish myself here,” Kevin says.
Enter RAW: Natural Born Artists – an independent organisation launched this month in Canberra with a goal to showcase emerging artists through collaboration and networking events.
Described as a “circus of creativity”, RAW’s directors select artists from an array of creative fields – including painters, fashion designers, make-up artists, photographers, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and graphic designers – and invites them to display their work to the public at networking events held once every two months.
Founded by artist Heidi Luerra in Los Angeles in 2009, RAW has since expanded throughout the world, coming to Australia last year.
Its Canberra launch saw a crowd of the capital’s burgeoning creative industry packed into Academy nightclub, where guests could freely talk to artists and purchase their work.
Showcase director for RAW Canberra, Sarina Del Fuego, says the movement is a welcome outlet for local artists struggling to live off their craft.
“We want to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity,” Sarina says.
“There is so much talent here in Canberra and it needs to be seen, supported and promoted. It gives artists a chance to meet, network and collaborate with other local artists and for the general public, it is a great night out, [with] visual and aural treats.”
Digital artist Mick Ashley, who was invited to join RAW via Facebook, says it’s a dynamic collaboration “where everyone can be themselves.”
“These are all fresh new artists, so it’s easy to get ideas and be inspired by people,” he says.
“Twenty years ago artists would leave Canberra for Sydney and Melbourne because they thought we had no soul. Now we’re staying put because of events like this.”
The next RAW showcase will be held on November 13 at Academy Nightclub from 7.30pm. To apply to become a RAW artist, visit rawartists.org.