Sunday, August 27, 2006


It was a dreamy simple idea - to design an “all-in-one protective system for a chick on a motorbike” with the help of 3-D modeling software. In an ideal world the visionary designs that Visual artist and Industrial designer Simone LeAmon ‘enabled’ would catch the imagination of a European motorcycle wear label like Ducati.

Instead, the petite, pragmatic and ever philosophical LeAmon created a sublime series of artworks entitled Bodywork. They depict “ a custom-designed exhibition suit designed in the style of motorcycle racing leather” modeled on her own body and were exhibited last year at Gertrude Street Art Space. “ The large prints were to scale, so when looking at the exhibition people could imagine being in the company of such a suit on a chick who is 5’2”, jokes LeAmon.

Her visual art practice “ explores narratives, inherent within craft and design” and is underpinned by changing notions of desire. LeAmon’s design practice is featured in the inaugural landmark Lab3000 Biennale at the Melbourne Museum. A schmick, thought-provoking survey exhibition profiling the visionary students, mentors and industry professionals working with digital design across platforms from visual art, gaming, animation, motion picture production, web interfaces, print media, sound, manufacturing to clothing design.

“Design’ is a word commonly misused in the community”, LeAmon notes “ Design is often used in reference to polished products, images and notions of good style or taste” she adds, “In fact some of the most inspirational design I come across looks a little awkward. But it packs a punch as far as ideas and its ability to shape the way we behave or think. “ That said, I have also been seduced by thousands of motorbikes” she quips. “Attraction is a strange thing- my days are simply made more pleasurable by a good looking bike.”

Like new media art trailblazer Patricia Piccinini, LeAmon’s fetish-like images speak volumes about the convergence of digital design and art, of what is possible and what is real. This year her simple idea has had momentous consequences. After some diligent prospecting LeAmon found herself invited to a real life “concept pitch” at the tables of Ducati executives in Italy. The possibility of manufacturing customised girly motorcycle wear beckoned.

Not one to avoid risk taking, LeAmon took her sublime simple idea to heart and beyond digital limits.” I recall getting extremely nervous the day before the pitch. I started to doubt the relevance of the meeting and my ability to communicate the concepts” she explains, “I asked my artist friends Nat and Ali who happened to be in Italy at the time to hang out with me at key traffic intersections around Milan. They recorded me from afar while I ran up to motorcyclists and asked if I could kiss their motorcycles”, blushes LeAmon.

”We did this for about 5 hours. It appeared a little absurd at the time but I knew that we were on to something. At the meeting the next day I presented the DVD and my images not knowing how it would be received “, she laughs. Today, the slightly embarrassed artist has garnered an industrial design contract with an Italian Motorcycle label styling leatherwear and helmets.

“Perhaps, it was mirroring the Italian’s unutterable love for their products and tapping into a culture fuelled by desire” reflects LeAmon, “regardless the meeting turned into something greater than I could ever have anticipated”. On her absurdist approach to art and design she waxes,” It is on occasions such as this that I couldn’t imagine working without the knowledge and thinking afforded by such spaces as art, philosophy and theory, the context of the corporate world makes such connections visible. I think many artists and designers forget this stuff and try to hold on too tightly in lieu of taking risks”

Lab3000 is itself a beautifully designed and immersive exhibition with a profusion of similar and different inspirational stories like LeAmon’s. Witness cutting edge design visionary’s who are enabling their simple ideas into the outer limits of digital.

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