The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is giving back to the community with more than projected pixels. With funding from Creative Victoria, it has established a new mentorship program. Four emerging artists have been selected to produce an original work for the festival with a more experienced artist at their side.

Co-curator and projection artist Yandell Walton, for example, has mentored VCA student and video artist Alden Epp for his work at Ladro. “His work is quite sculptural, and I’m really interested, as an artist, in merging projection and architecture or projection and object,” Walton says.

Based on their proposed work, those chosen were matched with the skill set of an appropriate artist to mentor them in the months leading up to the festival.

Guled Abdulwasi, an African-Australian artist, is projecting his work onto the building he has lived in for the past decade – the Fitzroy commission flats. Abdulwasi brought his vision to life with the help of Nick Azidis, whose specialty is large-scale projection.

Koori photographer Gabi Briggs has developed her work under the mentorship of visual artist Arika Waulu, a Gunditjmara woman who was previously a mentee to Walton.

Rounding out the four is Robert Jordan, an experimental video designer working with a range of analogue video devices. He has been coached by electronic-media artist, and founder of Media Lab Melbourne, Pierre Proske.

“I was feature artist in the second year, and it’s really nice to give back,” says Walton of being a mentor. “It means we can support [these artists] from concept to installation.” The mentors have guided these young artists in the intricacies of their work, whether mapping buildings, navigating the difficulties of projecting onto bark on the ground, or showing them how to use certain design programs. “You can project anything, it’s a really easy medium to use, but then at the same time, it can be really technical,” says Walton.

Big or small, she says that sharing skills and networks and knowledge is essential in helping young artists develop their careers. Being able to provide this opportunity, even in the face of future cuts to arts funding, is particularly extraordinary.

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival runs from Friday July 10 to Sunday July 19 in Fitzroy. Check out some shots from the opening weekend, and don't forget to grab a mulled wine or hot chocolate from The Broadsheet Restaurant if you're passing by.

gspf.com.au