Bill Tikos is The Cool Hunter – the tastemaker and visionary behind the culture and design website baring the same title. Since it began in 2004, The Cool Hunter has sought out the most creative, original and beautiful ideas from around the world from architecture, design, fashion, travel, music and art.
This month Tikos brings his vision to an experiential exhibition called The Art Hunter. For the project Tikos has partnered with Palmer Art Projects and The Artistry to construct The Art Hunter experience in Sydney’s Alexandria – a vibrant funhouse that asks: How alive are you?
Tikos pitched the idea for a column about what’s cool to the Sunday Telegraph in Sydney nine years ago while he was running his own literary agency representing writers. It wasn’t long before Tikos was syndicating The Cool Hunter column to a number of publications around the globe, from London to Rio and more. A year after it appeared in print for the first time, Tikos launched the online version. “I have since branched out to branded TCH events, an online store, a physical store and brand marketing and consulting through our agency, Access. But it all started with The Cool Hunter.”
As for how Tikos sources and selects content for the site, he says it is an intuitive process. “We receive a lot of material every day, and we source material ourselves globally. I trust my intuition and I know instantly when I see something that is worth featuring.” The site has a rich art and design focus. Highlights include a house built into a disused quarry in Wales, replete with a library and a cigar room, Metro Napoli’s art-filled subway stations in Naples and the thatched facade of a fruit market designed by Kengo Kuma in Kochi, Japan. The physical nature of so much of what’s featured on The Cool Hunter means it’s a natural progression for it to move from digital curation to offline, real-world curation. “We have had several successes with temporary stores and events, each curated by The Cool Hunter,” says Tikos. The Cool House was a pop-up design boutique hosted in two striking homes in Melbourne and Sydney last year.
For Tikos, The Art Hunter exhibition is a chance to develop his take on the typical, white-cube gallery space and the traditional mode of showing contemporary art. “Art is ever-expanding and changing. I wanted to transform the typical art gallery space in a dramatic way. Most galleries are all white walls and light and not much else going on. With The Art Hunter, we have done the opposite.”
The Art Hunter exhibition has been built into a 500-square-metre warehouse space and includes 120 artworks drawn from an impressive list of emerging and established Australian talent. Tikos appointed Diana Palmer of Palmer Art Projects to develop a roster of artists for the exhibition. “Tikos’ vision for The Art Hunter immediately appealed to me,” says Palmer. “He wanted to create a beautiful space that was totally unlike any of the galleries we are used to; no white walls, intimate spaces and a real connection to each work.” The exhibition is designed as a kind of maze – move from the main foyer through to the colour room, then into a textured room, down a hallway, into a video room, across to a mirror room and finally a confessional space with black light and sticky notes. Palmer worked collaboratively with Tikos and Sydney-based brand-experience agency, The Artistry to bring it all together. “We worked together on a brief for each room,” she says. “The Cool Hunter and The Artistry wanted an installation on each wall and floor, and special lighting. Then the works go into each of these spaces.”
Friends With You Art Collective’s buoyant, yellow MDF smiley faces, entitled Round & Round, have been featured, as well as a set of Philjames’ vintage painting interventions and a video piece by Bridie Connell called St Teresa Swoon involving peach-coloured feather fans. Other artists include Stephen Ormandy, Jasper Knight, Todd Robinson and Sam Mitchell-Fin. The result is an art wonderland. Instead of the energy and animation of the artworks being lost in stark white, they are bolstered by colour, texture and light. While the exhibition is only a temporary experience for now, Tikos says he would like to recreate The Art Hunter again in the future. “There are so many incredible artists doing cool stuff and I want to provide a creative, exciting platform for that.”
The Art Hunter is open until March 30 2014 at 90–96 Bourke Road, Alexandria.
Tues to Fri Midday–8pm
Sat & Sun 10am–4pm