INTERVIEW: SHANI FINCH

In anticipation of our upcoming open panel discussion ‘Not Your Muse’ in California Lane, presented in collaboration with BAM!, Griffith University and Brisbane City Council for the Women's Work exhibition, we catch up with one of Brisbane’s boldest creative ladies and featured panel speaker, Shani Finch.

Shani is a resident artist at our home/true love/studio - Mayne Line. She’s been universal in launching a number of creative collaboration and curation projects throughout Brisbane including Netherworld’s ongoing monthly community art exhibitions and has hosted, helped organise and operated the Scribble Slam events at Ric’s Backyard for the past two years. Her work is a direct projection of her thoughts and true self - bold, honest and completely unfiltered. By using her art as a platform to open a dialogue about issues such as the female body image, sexuality, social constructs and equality, she's has made a name for herself in the Brisbane art scene, committing her work ethic to have impact.

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INTERVIEW: JOEL FERGIE (THE ZOOKEEPER)

This week we interviewed our friend, fellow studio resident and creative inspiration, The Zookeeper (AKA Joel Fergie). The Zookeeper is a Brisbane based street and fine artist who’s large scale murals look to break the monotonous routines of daily life. Fascinated with nature from a young age, his creative inspiration is drawn from parallels between animals and humans. Zookeepers work looks to create a vessel through nature, to bring positivity and optimism to everyday life. Through metaphor, Zookeeper aims to shine light on the many things that are overshadowed in our society and his heartfelt, emotive and evoking pieces are capturing the attention of creative communities across the nation.

You may recognise Joel from his latest regional silo artworks, his participation in Brisbane’s beloved public art collective, the Brightsiders or his regular features on our instagram.

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JOEL, THIS IS THE FIRST SELF PORTRAIT YOU’VE EVER PAINTED, IS THAT RIGHT? Yes, this was the first self portrait I've painted! I've always avoided them because I haven't been a confident portrait painter, but I’ve been working towards changeling myself and am really happy with the outcome!

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE GLASSES? I I feel like in a way the glasses are framing me and all the other people who wear them, making an artwork in itself. Like looking through a window, it’s like looking past the reflection and exploring yourself, and I think there's a lot in that as a concept. The way I see it is like they’re framing our identity and that's a lot of what I was thinking about when I was painting this piece.

I shot photos of my friends in our new studio, Mayne Line wearing them and was really inspired. When I was painting in the wall, I was noticing all of the intersections in it, like the rendering and different sections that were broken or harder to paint and I was thinking about challenging parts of myself, deconstructing myself and putting that kind of reflective energy into it. The frames of the glasses really open that dialogue up for me … and they look fuckin awesome!

WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A RESIDENT AT MAYNE LINE STUDIO? I absolutely love having a supportive family of artists around me. There's a unique energy in the space and we all push and challenge each other in really exciting ways, which is something I feel has a lot of love and power behind it.

HAVE YOU GOT ANY EXCITING PROJECTS COMING UP?
Myself and DRALP are currently working on a project down in Victoria called Sea Lake, working on 7 large silos. We visited the town in early 2019 and engaged with the community so this will be a celebration. I’m excited to share it!

Mayne Line  Resident Artists

Mayne Line Resident Artists

INTERVIEW: MEL STRINGER

We caught up with local art angel, Mel Stringer to chat girly facts and the inspiration behind her artwork for upcoming fem first exhibition, Praise You (launching Thursday August 22 at Lightspace, Fortitude Valley). Anyone familiar with Brisbane art who know that Mel Stringer is an absolute veteran. As a women who inspires many with her creations and encourages pride and diversity across all body shapes and sizes, Mel Stringer is an artist we’re absolutely head over heels for.

WHO IS MEL STRINGER? I'm a 32 year old Australian artist based in Missouri.

YOU'VE SEEN INCREDIBLE SUCCESS IN THE LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ART AND DESIGN SCENES FOR SUCH A LONG TIME! HOW DID YOUR CAREER KICK OFF? I have been creative from an early age, having a cartoonist father helped with that. After I finished high school I worked for a year then convinced my parents to let me move to Brisbane to study art. They let me! I started making and distributing zines like Girlie Pains and involving myself in group shows. Livejournal and Deviantart were a great way to meet other likeminded artists, some of whom I've finally met since moving to the US!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN ONE SENTENCE? Equal parts sweet and sour, cute and tough curvy girls.

TELL US ABOUT THE ARTWORK YOU CREATED FOR PRIASE YOU. It was inspired from a recent trip to Joshua Tree and other desert-like places in the USA. It's a cute witch hanging out with an armadillo as the sun goes down.

WHAT DOES THIS ARTWORK AND THE CONTEXT OF THE EXHIBITION MEAN TO YOU? I wanted to create something peaceful with a little edge and a little bit of cute while showing off some curves. Also, I spent a lot of time painting it. It went through many transformations. It finally revealed itself to me and I had to stop putting down paint and know it was finished.

YOUR WORK REPRESENTS WHAT WE SEE AS AN ULTIMATE CREATIVE EXPRESSION OF BODY POSITIVITY, SHOWING THE BEAUTY OF PEOPLE ALL SHAPES AND SIZES AS WELL AS THE QUIRKS OF THEIR PERSONALITY THROUGH YOUR CUSTOMISED CHARACTERS! HOW DOES IT FEEL TO CREATE CHARACTERS, AND BE SUCH A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL FOR THE INDUSTRY AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE THIS WAY? First and foremost I create for myself and am inspired by my own body and other body types similar to mine. To know I inspire or encourage people who may look similar is really encouraging. I wanted to create art that I wanted to see in magazine pages and hanging on walls.

IF YOU COULD LEAVE ONE LASTING MARK ON THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE, AND WHY? Just be kind to people.

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INTERVIEW: MATT DEASY

With his solo exhibition 'Apocalyptic Dreams' currently showing in Brisbane, we thought it the perfect opportunity to introduce another local creative who works closely with The Club, Matthew Deasy. If you've ever sought out local screen printing services in Brisbane, Deasy's name would definitely be familiar to you. He's the brain child behind No. 7 Print House, which has been in operation since 2009! You know all of the hand printed Culprit Club shirts ya'll get around your bodies? Well, you've got Matt to thank for those! Finding a printer who's a) creative b) reliable and c) doesnt mind doing small runs to support local artists and businesses is pretty much 1:100 in the ratio of rarity, and we were lucky enough to find THE ONE - Matt Deasy. Check out his full interview below, and get to know why he's one of the most highly regarded and respected printers around.

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MATT, YOU’VE BEEN IN THE SCREEN PRINTING INDUSTRY FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS, WHICH IS CRAZY IMPRESSIVE! HOW DO YOU THINK IT’S BEEN SHAPED AS A SERVICE/ART FORM SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED?
Screen printing was and still is one of the most versatile forms of printing coupled with it’s relatively low costs (compared with other forms of printing), has always made it an attractive labeling option for a wide range of mediums, from textiles right through to obscurely shaped objects made of wood and plastic and metal. I was always really interested in the graphics based side of the trade, which is more paper, plastic and vinyl printing. Before modern day digital capabilities were available, screen printing was often one of the only options to have black and white through to full colour reproductions printed. Learning about these pre digital processes has shaped a lot of my own artwork and I often like to replicate my own digital graphics and adapt them to the manual and mechanical screen print process.

WHAT FIRST GOT YOU INTO SCREEN PRINTING AND WHAT MADE YOU STICK WITH IT?
In the beginning screen printing just happened to be an accessible outlet for me to create imagery without the hassle of having to draw or illustrate objects from scratch. I was always a keen drawer as a kid, but always found the process time consuming and often couldn’t put down on paper what I really wanted to. I was immediately drawn to the free experimentation and vivid ink colours of the screen print process. The first prints I created were basically collages of leaves and grass that I laid out on paper and then blended different coloured inks through the screen straight over the top of them. As soon as I’d done my first print, all the leaves and grass stuck to the screen which basically became my first reproduction stencil. I was probably 13 or 14 at this stage and from here quickly started adapting these types of processes to clothing. At this time I was fairly obsessed with music and band culture so decided to try something a little more technical and started reproducing hand cut stencils from imagery of my favourite bands.
This process kind of led me from the free experimentation side to learning more refined skills about accurate stencil making, techniques which eventually led me into the industry as a commercial printer.

IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE A MAN OF THE BANDS OF SORTS, HOW DID YOU FIND YOURSELF WORKING WITH SO MANY MUSICIANS?
My good friend and I moved to Brisbane at the same time after starting a band in our home town. Straight away we started going to gigs and not long after started booking our own shows. We got some moderate success locally and it introduced us to countless musicians and artists. At the time I was working for a screen print company running a night shift and started mentioning to people I could print shirts for their bands. It started to snowball from that point working with musicians quite regularly, from clothing merchandise through to poster and album artwork.

AS WELL AS BANDS, YOU'VE ALSO WORKED WITH A HEAP OF LOCAL BUSINESSES OVER THE YEARS, WHO’VE BEEN SOME HIGHLIGHTS TO WORK WITH AND WHY?
There’s been so many now!  It seems every month I’m being introduced to a new artist doing really great things. People like the Hangar Collective from about 10 years ago gave me my first regular poster commission work, and around the same time I started a working relationship with the Room 40 label, which has been a great opportunity to print work for overseas artists. There have been countless others as well from the last few years like Phoebe Paradise, Bedroom Suck, Contrastore, Phase 4, Ivy niu and yours truly, The Culprit Club who have all made a solid local community of artists. The support locally and even interstate has been overwhelming!

WHY BRISBANE?
Well honestly, I was never sure if Brisbane was going to be my permanent base. There were quite a lot of companies I worked for locally that turned out to be almost soul destroying environments. I was often disappointed in my work colleagues attitudes to the art form, treating it more as a means to an end of a working day. It was quite a dark period for me looking back and I tried to completely quit the trade on a couple of occasions, which again made for some very depressing experiences. Since about 2011 things started to look up moving into a different area of screen printing and finally finding some like minded work colleagues. This gave me a platform to get serious about starting my own business and during this time have created many fantastic relationships with local artists. I also think Brisbane has grown a lot in the last 10 years and perhaps the cliche of Exodus to Melbourne is slowing and allowing a culture to fully grow here in Queensland.

DO YOU FIND SCREEN PRINTING A COMPETITIVE INDUSTRY?
Definitely not at the time I started. It seemed everywhere I worked, no one was interested
In their job, in fact there was actually hatred for it amongst most of my work colleagues. It just seemed at that point there was no one interested in looking after artists print runs or small scale merchandise jobs. I think this was an important development in allowing me to garner a solid customer base. Things have definitely changed in the last 5-10 years though with the rise of social media, youtube, hipster culture as well as a major decline in the pre-digital manufacturing sector, of which the screen printing industry was a major part of. This sort of opened the gates to a lot of people creating their own screen print setups and trying it out for themselves.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE FAVOURITE GARMENT DESIGNS YOU’VE PRINTED, AND WHY?
I really enjoy CMYK process printing (photographic reproduction) and split fountain blending which has been an integral part of my current exhibition. Some highlights over the years include the Bedroom Suck 5 year Anniversary tee designed by Gill Tucker, Freetime watercolour reproduction tee, Love of Diagrams LP covers, Birds of Tin reproduction 7 inch record cover & poster, Jet Black Cat -Steph Hughes Record store day collaboration tee.

YOU USE SCREEN PRINTING AS A TECHNIQUE FOR YOUR OWN ARTWORK ALSO, CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH YOUR STYLE AND PROCESS?
The techniques learnt as a commercial printer I have adapted into my own screen printed artwork. Iv’e always found great pleasure in the little mistakes in screen printing, it’s always something that would immediately catch my attention, such as if something looks out of registration, warped, distressed or if ink has bled out of a print. You’re taught to pick up on all of these mistakes and have an eye like a hawk for it during a print run. I took all of these faults as a method experiment further into my own printed works.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT SOLO SHOW, APOCALYPTIC DREAMS?
The upcoming exhibit is something I've been working on for about 2 years now! I’m up to 195 printed posters in my catalogue, so thought it might be a good time to have an exhibition for numbers 180-189 and focus on a specific size of print being A2-A1 for this show. The work is a mixture of photographic collage, free form blending and transparent colour layering across 10 different works with some test prints in-between. They’ll be a total of about 25 pieces on display and for sale. Hopefully I’ll have an online shop setup after the exhibit where prints will be available for purchase as well. I’m also hoping to do some collaboration prints with some of my favourite local artists.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY FOR PEOPLE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
The best way is to make contact through my website at www.no7printhouse.com
or direct at no.7printhouse@gmail.com

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INTERVIEW: MIKE WATT - NO SUCH LUCK

With impending misfortune looming in the next month's trajectory, we're getting very excited to revel in all that is dark and dreary with an absolute banger of a group show, No Such Luck launching on Friday 13th of October.

FULL LINE UP: ART BY DALE, MUCHOS, SINDY SINN, MIKE WATT, SHIDA, IROK, DIZZY LITTLE DOTTY, MAD CROOK, MAID, MICKY HORA, MASONRIE, TORI-JAYE MORDEY, CRISIS, ZOO KEEPER, LUSID ART, HARLEY AND HANDEN, INK BOY, LACEY, MARK RICHARDSON, JOEL MCDONALD, BILLIE SCHNEIDER, QUINCY MIKE, SHVMVN, ADAM AVERY, TUCKS ONE, JOE O'TOOLE, ERIC BRUCKNER, MATTE & LUCKS.

We catch up with one of the feature artist's from the show, and a new comer to the gallery walls - Sydney based illustrator / creepy character creator, Mike Watt. 

CC: Tell us about the piece you’re creating for No Such Luck - what’s the story behind it?

MW: I was a massive horror movie nerd when I was younger and Jason from Friday the 13th was my favourite character. When I got the brief all I could think of was Jason, I think he's probably already a sign of bad luck but I covered him with bits of broken mirror just to be sure.

CC: What materials did you use to create it? 

MW: Mostly acrylic on water colour paper, there's a tiny bit of whiteout and biro in there too. 

CC: Are you superstitious, if so - what of? 

MW: I'm not that superstitious, but at the same time I'm really paranoid, so I avoid opening umbrellas inside and every thing I can just in case. 

CC: What should you be afraid of on Friday 13th? 

MW: Jason.

CC: What’s the most unlucky thing that’s ever happened to you?

MW: I think it's really unlucky to drop food. It sucks on so many levels, you loose your meal and then you have to clean up. It's the worst.

 

Check out the facebook event for more artist interviews, artwork previews and spooky stories in the lead up to Friday 13th!!

INTERVIEW: MAID & RETRO - SOMNAMBULISTS

"Somnambulists is a six part film series that follows the actions of MAID and RETRO on their recent Italian adventure. The series takes a fresh approach to filming, editing and track selection which results in high-end filming, drone footage, slow cuts, and bleeding edge bass music taking you on a journey so intimate you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the tracks eating spaghetti bolognese."

With the 3rd edition of Somnambulists, 'Greetings from Genoa ' fresh on our screens, we catch up with the infamous Aussie duo, MAID and RETRO to talk through the Somnambulists series, and their shared 'sleepwalker' experiences across Italy.

CC:  Tell us about how did the Somnambulists concept come about?

RETRO: I guess always watching graffiti movies with gangsta rap on real fast pace never really gave me the feeling that I was there, as I've experienced it first hand. So I tried looking for songs and found it was the slow pace video editing that made me feel like I was there in the moment.

MAID: Retro was the ideas man behind it all. I think he did an awesome job giving it the right feel. Spots can be very stressful, but painting is a very quiet activity. We returned from the US and were a bit sad we couldn't create something to share of our travels and painting so next trip we locked in Tom Rolfe to come and shoot it all.

CC: You’ve gone into the definition of the word in the video descriptions (Noun: A condition that is characterised by walking while asleep or in a hypnotic trance.) Is this how painting feels to you?

RETRO: Feeling calm in these experiences is important most of the time....

MAID: Mostly, yeah. Painting can be another world. I feel completely free to roam around and do what I feel. It’s a nice peaceful trance.

CC: What was your favourite model and why?

RETRO: for me, Rome... we met with great people. We painted a model in a spot that I've tried several times over the years, so to get that done felt really good!

MAID: The Northern line - model and colour!

CC: What was your favourite destination and why?

RETRO: Napoli for the Pizza and metro.

MAID: It’s a hard one. I loved travelling through all the cities and seeing all different ways of life and architecture. Although, Napoli did have beach of cats and Mt. Vesuvius!!

CC: How did it compare to painting at home?

RETRO: At home I’m chill.. I work plenty to feed my addiction of travelling and painted a few times every year. I still love painting here, but there seems to always be problems and too many politics that come with it...

MAID: Yes, I agree. I wish we painted more at home, but at the moment we are just focusing on working at home.

CC: Do you always paint as a pair?

RETRO: Umm yeah. For the last couple of years it has been a consistent doing. It works well because we are both pretty relaxed in these moments. We are both motivated to travel and consistently try paint while away.

MAID: Mostly. Even if one of us has planned to paint, the other will come for the drive but then most likely do something too.

CC: If we were to trawl through your travel bags, what would we find?

RETRO: SD cards, cameras, a few t-shirts and shorts.

MAID: Lots of random shit. Good jeans, sneakers and goretex. Drawing supplies, a crystal, shells, a good book and oils.

CC: Can you tell us something that happened along that way that we won’t see in the clips? 

RETRO: A whole lot of driving was done over that 3 weeks... not a whole lot of relaxing though.

MAID: Some close calls and weird conversations with police. Then there was all the rad people who made me coffee, and Tom’s Rolfe sleep deprivation.

CC: What were the major highlights?

RETRO: Pizza, gelato and overall just doing galves.

MAID: A line, B line, Margaritas in Napoli. 

CC: What’s next for MAID and RETRO?

RETRO: Well the plan is hopefully to do another trip by the end of the year, but it's hard to leave an Australian summer for an international winter....

MAID: More travel and more painting. And hopefully release some artwork pieces together!

Keep an eye on @liquidpastels and @blogtheif instagram accounts for updates, and catch the next episode coming soon via the @ironlak youtube channel. 

INTERVIEW / COURTNEY BRIMS / BUSH FABLES

The Culprit Club is proud to announce, BUSH FABLES – a solo exhibition of new works by Brisbane-based artist and illustrator, Courtney Brims launching Friday 09 June, 6pm in Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley. 

Inspired by the beauty of the Australian landscape, Courtney Brim's incredible new series of work, promotes appreciation and awareness of our unique biodiversity, while exploring ideas of destruction, displacement, rebirth, and the delicate connectedness of nature.

We catch up with the lovely lady herself to talk through the concepts and ideas of the show, and well as her inspirations and experiences as an artist. 

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How would you describe your style in one sentence?

CB: Loaded with tiny details and always a touch of macabre.

What’s the premise behind the Bush Fables show?

CB: The whole idea behind this collection of work was to bring attention to our beautiful endangered wildlife and plant species.

How do Australian fairytales and Picnic at Hanging Rock come together in contrast in your work?

CB: I wanted to mesh together the sweetness of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie with the surrealism of The Magic Pudding and the eeriness of Picnic at Hanging Rock. I feel like the Australian bush has all three of those qualities.

It's the idea of nature being this beautiful, cruel beast that's mysterious and dangerous yet vulnerable and fragile. There's this line from The Witches of Eastwick that says 'nature absorbs all', which kind of sums up my this collection perfectly.

With Picnic at Hanging Rock, I guess, in a slightly disturbing way, I've always liked the idea of these three ethereal girls walking off into the bush and vanishing, like the wilderness just gobbled them up.

In my narratives I'm not necessarily representing humans as the baddie. We're definitely not blameless for the state these species find themselves in and a lot of my pieces touch on the issues of feral predators and land clearing, but I wanted to focus the attention on how wonderful and unique our species are, rather than focusing on the blame.

Whether the bone fragments are humans that have perished because of how they treated the earth, or whether like Miranda and co, they have been absorbed into the bush, I like to keep it fairly open for interpretation.

The vibe of the show really remind us of Fern Gully! It’s like you’re whispering Magi’s words of wisdom! What do you want audiences to take away from seeing the show?

CB: To go home and watch Fern Gully!! Not to take what we have for granted, be a responsible pet owner and familiarise yourself with the awesome work of conservation groups like Bush Heritage, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Arid Recovery.

How much time do you spend creating each piece?

CB: Anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

What materials do you use to create them?

CB: I use of combo of Polychromos and Prismacolour pencils on paper.

What's you favourite thing about Australia’s native species and why?

CB: The diversity! Mountains, deserts, beaches, woodlands, reefs, rainforests. It gives us the most amazing biodiversity.

If we were to rummage through your backpack, what would we find?

CB: Crackers. I rarely leave the house without snacks.

What would you be lost without in the world?

CB: I guess it would be really inconvenient if I lost my right hand.

If you could be any native creature / critter, what would you be and why?

CB: A quokka! They seem so damn happy with life!

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courtney brims bush fables brisbane the culprit club

FEATURE ARTIST: PROCREATIV

As a close friend and extended family to The Culprit Club, it gives us great pleasure to introduce ProCreativ. Having spent many years travelling, he cut his teeth early in the streets of Brisbane. Now working from his studio at Jugglers Art Space in Fortitude Valley, he spends the bulk of his time working on murals and large-scale projects in the area. With his hunger for new challenges, proficiency in aerosol, brush and digital mediums and 20+ years of experience, ProCreativ splashes dedication and talent through each piece he creates. His style is as commendable as his kind, creative soul. 

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How would you describe your style in one sentence? 
Tentacle inspired, funkified movement, with a touch of darkness and a twist of light. 

Tell us about the current piece you have available at The Culprit Club?
“Octoblast”. It’s an exploding octopus. Acrylic on canvas. 

Where did your creative career begin, and how did it progress to where you are now? 
It began with copying my uncles 70s record sleeves as a 10 year old kid, I then discovered illegal graffiti at 13 which blew my mind. Most of my art training was done on the streets during the 90s.. This eventually led me to crave creativity of any kind. I was in a career where I wasn’t happy, so I ended it, and began my art journey. Now I work on mural projects, illustrations, canvases, digital art, hand painted signage and art installation. 

Who are your major creative influences, and why? 
So many and for so many different reasons. Alphonse Mucha and H R Giger had a massive influence on me in my younger days, with the flow and energy in their works. Glen Barr, Anthony Ausgang, AAron Horkey, Hannah Yattah, Onour, Rough, Robert Williams and the list goes on. Old school writers like Merda, Delta, Puzle, Cruel, Dio. They were, and still are, true style innovators. My daughter, just because. My friends and peers who are always pushing forward. They influence my drive. 

What’s the best and worst things about being a Brisbane local artist? 
Best thing: Being part of something that is alive and thriving, with a bright future.  Worst thing: Not enough diversity in artists getting opportunities.... And all that buff. 

Do you find it difficult sourcing paid mural work in the city? 
Sometimes. It depends how hard I go looking for it.

If we were to trawl through your studio, what would we find? 
Paint, works in progress, a sketch book from 1990. My studio is my base but anywhere can become a makeshift work space. 

What’s the future got in store for Procreativ?
A life time of creativity. Keep sharpening the blades. Exciting projects and good times. 

Where can people find more of your work? 
A few random walls around Brisbane, several bars in the valley, Aether Brewing at Milton has my art on all their beers, my lounge room, and I exhibit regularly in group art exhibitions like No Acronym.

@Procreativ and @Procreativ_digital on instagram

www.facebook.com/procreativ   /    www.procreativ.com.au