\ Isobel Knowles

Email: look@isobelknowles.com
Phone: 0434413076

SHOWREEL, July 2015

I am an artist and animator. I make installations, films, music videos, commercials and whatever else comes along. I aim to do projects that are out of the ordinary, creative and fun.

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I have finally finished writing about the work I made when I visited the Shiro Oni artist residency in Onishi, Japan last year. I made a moving sculpture based on the relationship between Edo period architecture and the community. You can read more about it here.



It's all about the stars at the moment. Stargazing for Beginners, the animated series I made in collaboration with sound artist Camilla Hannan is up on iView. I'm currently adapting it for the domed screen of Melbourne Planetarium for a one-night-only event on June 8th called Listen to the Universe. Come and hear from storytellers and astronomers as well as experience animations and surround sound, and afterwards stay for wine, cheese and telescopes!


This year has flown by with no time for website updates! Since about June I have been working with Van Sowerwine on a public artwork for the City of Melbourne Public Art Biennial Lab at the Queen Victoria Market. It opens Monday and our work will be one of 8 significant public artworks commisisoned for the Biennial Lab. Below is a sneak peak at the stop-motion film we will be installing in A Shed for the final week of the Melbourne Festival. October 17th - 23rd. We'll be present at a stall making miniature produce during market specialty traders hours. We invite you to make an orange or a cauliflower to take home. The installation will run 24/7 for the entire week. There is a big closing party on Sunday 23rd. Check the program for all the events and performances over the week.


What a start to the year!

Soft Stories (Cat Rabbit and Isobel Knowles) made a massive 7m long mechanical wooden factory with kids in a series of Artplay workshops. The factory was partially designed, built and decorated by around 100 kids over 6 weeks. Parts of the factory along with video and drawings and factory activities can be found in the Artplay Gallery until June. Go see some mashed potato becoming guinea pigs! You can read more about it at SoftStories.com.au

In other exciting news I made some animations and illustrations for a story called Chinese Straight by Maxine Beneba Clarke to go with an SBS podcast series called True Stories. Music by James Cecil, Produced by Kylie Boltin and Megan Gibbon, programming by Ben Fletcher.

See the full thing at SBS.com.au

ALSO I am in the Playful exhibition at Melbourne City Library Gallery from April 2 - 29. It's a beautiful group show with so many fun and interesting works by an awesome selection of Australian and international artists: Evie Barrow, Cat Rabbit, Christina Gordon (Jamfancy), Tessy King, Isobel Knowles, Yiying Lee, Holly Leonardson, Beci Orpin, Kenny Pittock, Ashley Ronning, Rosaleen Ryan, Luke Temby (Cupco), Erica Fustero, Anna Hrachovec, Misako Mimoko, Hine Mizushima, Philippa Rice and Soreureubear.

A video posted by Isobel Knowles (@isobelknowles) on


My work is an animated pinball machine loosely based on Bauhaus ballet costumes by Oskar Schlemmer. Thanks to Jem Freeman from Like Butter for the ply construction and Shags Chamberlain for the music.




The outdoor theatre project, Dwelling, which I worked on with Van Sowerwine, Jessica Wilson and Will Heathcote last year has just been nominated for a Green Room award for the Design and Realisation in Contemporary Performance category. We're very happy with how this project turned out. Thanks to everyone who came along to see it. You can read more about the project at jessicawilson.com.au.

Dwelling was an outdoor audio visual theatre experience performed in a custom built house in a carpark in Footscray for Big West Festival. The show explored themes of women's experience of homelessness and violence. Van and I helped devise the experience and created projections which were integrated with the performance.

In other news, the animation I made with KUWAII is one of three winners in the Virgin Australia Fashion Festival Cultural Program. You can read a bit about the winners in RUSSH Magazine.



I have been working on a bunch of fashion commissions for Karl Lagerfel which are really fun.
Check them out along with my other commissioned work at studioiso.com.au



A new showreel for the new financial year! The song is by The Icypoles (which is my band) sung by the lovely Kim White. Hope you enjoy it!



I have a couple of new projects for May. The first one is a video collaboration with Melbourne label Kuwaii. I recreated their beautiful garments with paper and enlisted some little paper ladies to dance around. The wonderful Jojo created a great bouncy dance tune for the occasion.

The second project from May is a music video for Ben Mason. He has a new album. For the song 'Esmerelda' we spent the day in an inner-city backyard with a couple of chickens, a scarecrow and some dancing blackbirds.



A book is launched! The new kids book, Too Much for Turtle that I've been working on with Cat Rabbit is finally out and in stores. We've been celebrating it with a bunch of launch events in different locations. You can see all the sets and characters dotted around in bookshops - Hill of Content in the Bourke St, Readings in Lygon St,Carlton and The Little Bookroom in Degraves Street. We're doing reading events and several workshops for people of different ages. You can see all the events HERE.

Too Much for Turtle
book and characters

Too Much for Turtle
sticker sheet

While I was in Brisbane launching the book I also presented some workshops at QAGOMA with Van Sowerwine to go with our work, You Were In My Dream which is showing there as part of Journey to Fantastic Lands. We worked with small children in the morning to make animal masks and then teenagers in the afternoon to make animated characters. It was so much fun!

I recently made a music video for the Storybox Library themesong by Mark Monnone and Tim Harvey. (I also sing backup vocals on the song!)



There's an Owl Know How app for iPad in the iTunes store! It brings the story to life with stop-motion animation, narration (Cat and me) and music.


Benjamin Portas and I were asked by Harper Collins to collaborate on illustrations for an Anzac-themed book by Kerry Brown called Lest We Forget. The book will be available at the end of February. For more details see harpercollins.com.au.

Lest We Forget

I animated another clip for Karl Lagerfeld - a Chinese New Year greeting.



Some news! You Were In My Dream is showing in an exhibition called Journey to Fantastic Lands at QAGOMA in Brisbane from now until May 10, 2015. The team there created a new configuration of the work to accommodate many people playing at once. Van and I will be going up to do some workshops sometime next year so look out for those!


Also I made a cartoon for Karl Lagerfeld starring his fluffy white cat!



I have a couple of things on this month. This Thursday In Your Dreams opens at Counihan Gallery on Sydney Rd, Brunswick. Van and my work You Were In My Dream has been included. It's the first time we've shown it in Melbourne since 2010. The whole show is really great and there will be workshops for kids all day at the gallery on May 25th.

Secondly, my band released a record! Check out the details on theicypoles.com or listen to tracks at theicypoles.bandcamp.com. The Melbourne launch will be Sunday afternoon on June 15th at Shebeen. We'll be going on tour to New Zealand at the end of the month so look out for us if you're in Auckland or Wellington.



My World Was Made For You
by The Icypoles




Go to the Melbourne Musuem this school holidays and see an animated presentation about Aztecs which I created with my awesome team, Rebecca Hayes (animation), Benjamin Portas (illustration) and Oliver Marriott (coding)

They are running the show at 1pm and 2pm each day of the holidays. The Aztec exhbiition runs from April 9th until August 10th with an opening party this Sunday, April 13th. I can't wait to see all the amazing artefacts!

Tenochtitlan, Aztec City

Moctezuma, King of Aztecs and Tlaloc, God of Rain

Get Adobe Flash player

Tezcatlipoca, god of the smoking mirror



I spent a week with some little paper animals and created this cute promo spot for the Australian Veterinary Association's Polite Pet Month. Written by Zoe Adler Bishop with music by Daniel Clinch.



Catch of the Day has been featured in the online magazine DEZEEN.com



If you didn't get to Westspace to see this installation I built with Cat Rabbit, check out the video we made!
Read more about the project...



A new video for Sally Seltmann.



New showreel!



Last week I animated some toilet paper for Who Gives A Crap, a mail-order toilet paper company who donates 50% of their profits towards providing access to toilets in the developing world.

Directed by Ben McEwing (Storylab) Art Direction by Tin Nguyen (Tin&Ed)



Babies, the single my band just released is in a selection of curated audio as part of the Now Hear This in the Melbourne Now exhibition at the NGV. Look on level 2 in the Ian Potter Center: NGV Australia. The Icypoles are in the Visual Art and Sound selection.



The Stitching Time exhibition at Craft is on for just one more week. It's an exhibition I curated with Dell Stewart that explores the relationship between animation and textiles. Ten wonderful artists have created a roomful of collaborative installations around this theme. Read more on the Craft Website.

Here's a glimpse:




My band, The Icypoles have a single out at last! It's called Babies. You can download it from bandcamp. It was produced by Haima Marriott, the cover photographs were taken by Paul Philipson.

There will be an album out early next year in many regions of the world through Lost and Lonesome (Australia), Lil' Chief (NZ) and Highline (UK/US). Look out for it!



I made a video to help Familia Moja Children's Home in Kenya raise funds to build a bakery. If you're interested, you can make a donation at chuffed.org.



I have a few things to share. I made a video for Sally Seltmann, some titles for Storybox Library, and some workshops at Tarrawarra Museum of Art.

Needle in the Hay by Sally Seltman


Storybox Library Title Sequence


Tarrawarra workshop participant



Tomorrow night is the launch of the Signal Screen Commissions. I've been mentoring Meg Gough-Brooks who has made a beautiful multi-screen animation of very sweet animals going about their evening routine. The screening begins at 6.30pm Thursday, September 26th and will be playing after dark every night until November 4th. Other artists who have created works are Arie Rain Glorie, Aiden Morse and Gerardo Godinez.


Stills by Meg Gough-Brooks

Also, I have a new section of my website! It's a place to find the different events and workshops I have been involved with.



It's a busy time for launching things at the moment. This Thursday will be the grand unveiling of the sausage dog contraption, A Matter of Factory at Westspace. Cat and I are so excited to show everyone. Come along to the opening at 6pm Thursday or see it some other time between then and October 12. The gallery is open Wednesday til Saturday 12-5pm.

Toy Stories - Canoe

Last weekend was the launch of the Melbourne Museum's First Peoples exhibition. They have created a really amazing journey through Victorian indigenous history. I am so proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to something so important. It will be a permanent addition to the Museum so make sure you take a look sometime. The animations I created are in the Many Nations section with the children's objects.

Toy Stories - Canoe




My friend Katie Geppert has started an interview blog which will be focused on discovering people's creative motivation to turn ideas into reality. I am honored to be her first specimen. Here's the interview and while you're there check out Katie's awesome shopping bags!

In other news, things are getting noisy in my studio with the construction of the sausage factory for Cat Rabbit and my exhibition, A matter of factory (Westspace gallery Sept 12-Oct 12). Here's a video of our mechanical madness.



I just got back from a trip abroad installing It's a jungle in here in the Vögele Kultur Zentrum in Zurich, Switzerland. The carpentry team there did a great job re-building the booth. The exhibition is called Responsibility and includes a great selection of artwork and factual installations about social, moral and environmental responsibility. Van and I were also in Sydney for ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Art) with both It's a jungle in here and You Were In My Dream.

Toy Stories - Canoe



If you want to read some more about the museum project I'm working on check out the museum's blog.

Toy Stories - Canoe

Still from Toy Stories: Tin Roller



Here's a music video I made for Monnone Alone. The wonderful Stuart Mannion filmed it and the ever patient Catherine Dwyer and Jana Harper wrangled the crew boat. Congratulations Mark on such an awesome song!

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It's been a busy summer. I've been applying to galleries and funding bodies, preparing work for exhibitions in Sydney and Zurich, running workshops and have started working on a few big commissions.

I'm currently making some animated stories for the Melbourne Museum's Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cutural Centre. They are for a touch screen display that will go alongside a collection of children's toy artefacts. Here is a work-in-progress image from the canoe story.

Toy Stories - Canoe

I'm also working with my friends One & Eight to create a ipad app for children. It's going to be a multilingual exploration of a swimming pool.


Over the Christmas break I made a website for my mum too! She retired from teaching high school French and English and has gone back to making beautiful pottery. I'm so happy for her! Take a look at ultramaureen.net.