Walking along Coromandel Place in the city, it’s hard not to notice the large painted white tooth sitting across two diagonal nails. Painted on the black door of number 22-24, this skull and crossbones inspired emblem is the former home of Tooth and Nail Studios.
Established by printmaker Jake Holmes and Cassie Alvey in 2011, Tooth and Nail became an important hub for emerging practitioners, housing 40 artists, a shop and a gallery. For Holmes, who studied at Adelaide College of the Arts from 2008-2010, setting up the space was a way of kickstarting his printmaking career and supporting the local arts scene.
Although Tooth and Nail closed its doors in February 2018, the lease was handed over to Mixed Spice Creatives, ensuring that artists maintain an active studio and exhibition presence within the CBD.
Holmes has maintained his passion for printmaking and his art can be seen around the state as street-art and posters. He has a particular interest in political posters and created the C’mon Aussie C’Mon poster campaign. By printing the words in rainbow colours for one version and working with Aboriginal artist Elizabeth Close on another, Holmes subverted the familiar refrain into a call for action for equal marriage and Change the Date. He says about this project, “The power of the work is that there are 1500 copies, they are affordable and are visible in the public realm.”
Holmes continues to collaborate and focus on projects with powerful political messages. In June this year, he ran workshops at Arts Ceduna, working with ten Indigenous artists to create posters about drilling in the Great Australian Bight. Supported by Ku Arts, the works will be shown in an exhibition at ACE Open for Tarnanthi 2019 in October.
For his current Guildhouse Collections project, Holmes is immersing himself in the Flinders University Art Museum collection of political posters from the 1970s and 1980s. A common theme is the environment, inspiring Holmes to look at the lineage of the environmental movement into contemporary action for climate change. The work will be exhibited at the Flinders University Student Hub later in the year and he encourages people to take photos and spread the message on social media.
He says, “Protest is important over time as things change, it takes lots of different people doing lots of different things to change social ideas. Posters is what I do. It’s my contribution to the bigger picture.”
Guildhouse is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting South Australia visual artist, craftspeople and designers to develop and maintain sustainable careers.
The Adelaide Review is a media partner of Guildhouse.