Veronica Charmont at the Nicholas Building

Poet Shirt, Harveys, and Merino socks.

Veronica is an artist working with 16mm film and digital video to create experimental moving images. Her recent projects have explored the coexistence that arises between human and architectural life.

After researching and interviewing residents of the Nicholas Building, an iconic landmark of artist filled studios, retail spaces and galleries, Veronica has lots of stories from the building located in Melbourne's city centre. Because of this, I always associate the Nicholas Building with Veronica. We took this link as a prompt to photograph Veronica in the beautiful space and listen to her collected stories. 

Veronica also runs the joyful page Flinders Street Photo Booth - a digital archive of people's photo strips from the coin operated vintage photo booth, just around the corner at Flinders St Station. After shooting in the Nicholas Building we popped into the photo booth for our final few pictures. 


Daise VestCross Back Skirt, and Merino socks.

What drew you to documenting and archiving these spaces (the Nicholas Building and Flinders Street photobooth)? 

What initially drew me to the Nicholas Building emerged from repeatedly exploring its nine floors, taking in the details of its design and architecture. I would notice the little details left by tenants, their addition to the building. I realised as time was passing, how these details would change. So many people call it their artists home, as their studios or business are located there, but many also pass through it. The building lives with this constant flow of tenants moving in and out, but also of slow decay. The beige yellow tiles that line almost all of the interior walls are always falling off, which I learnt were irreplaceable from one of the tenants about the same time I learnt it was to be sold in June 2021. This made me think about how the Nicholas is itself irreplaceable to the artistic community of Melbourne, and how much of a loss it would be if the change this time was colossal.

Similarly in 2018 I was walking up Flinders Street to VCA, just having hopped off the 59 tram, when I noticed a sign on the photo booth that indicated it was to be removed from the station due to the Metro Tunnel works. A date in May was to be it’s last operational day. I remember thinking I’ve got to do something, and I decided to collect peoples photographs taken at the booth, post them online and tell the stories that came with them. Therefore, the notion of loss really propelled me to make work about these two spaces, hoping that through the photographic medium they would be immortalised and remembered. But most of all that they would live on in these images.


(1) Merino SkivvyCross Back Skirt, and Merino socks
2) Poet Shirt with Buttermilk Accessories: Kianna Brown Check

We’ve been talking about how to protect and fuel our creative practices lately. Do you have any approaches that you take to keep yours sustainable?  

I think it’s important to keep yourself on your toes, to always try to find something new or re-discover something old that ignites inspiration. For me it’s trying to not settle into being too comfortable with the same films, books, or artists. I’m trying at the moment to do something creative once a day (still trying), and whether that is something as simple as watching a film or reading about an artist, it’s often enough to get the gears in my head going. I think collecting is also really important. I try to keep a folder of things that I’ve stumbled upon, or found fleetingly but haven’t given much time or thought to. It’s always good to look back into the folder and to remember like ‘oh yeah I forgot I was thinking about that for a while,’ and then you can return to it.

A lot of your work plays with curiosity, memory and finding the stories in things. How do you find this perspective extending into your everyday life?

It extends though every day exploring, particularly going on walks in your
neighbourhood or city, and then taking a turn down a different street each time. Seeing the familiar through an unfamiliar lens, and really looking at what’s around you rather than just passing it by. The concept of flaneur has always resonated with me, the notion of being an observer of things. I find that I then subconsciously begin to turn these observations into stories, like if I look into a lit up window at night and see inside a persons home for a split second I begin to wonder what it would be like to live there. I then imagine who does live
there, what they do each day etc. I think everyone does this to an extent, but it’s fun to make work about it. When I realise that thousands of people have lived before you and that they had an everyday, I then like to wonder what stories took place in their lives.


(1) Merino Skivvy layered under Daise Vest, with Cross Back SkirtMerino socks Bone and Cobalt, and Reso Bag Length 2
(2) Daise Vest in Choc Linen,
(3) Market Bag, Merino socks in Black.

What are you wearing today? 

Today I’m wearing a stripey black and white long sleeve from Cos, black Chore pants from HB Archive, with my Camper Chameleon runners and cobalt Humphrey Law merino socks. My favourite details of these pieces would have to be the pops of colour amongst the neutral tones. The Cos long sleeve have a bright orange collar, and the Camper runners have bold red laces. I really enjoy including vivid colour details in my wardrobe. I’m always immediately drawn to colourful garments over neutral, however I try to strike a balance between the two because sometimes I find my wardrobe lacking the muted tones. This outfit is kinda my ‘go to’ for either work or a quick trip to the market.


Can you share something that you’ve been particularly enjoying lately?

I’ve been enjoying listening to Jenny Hval’s new album Classic Objects, but in particular the second track on the record American Coffee. The lyrics of the song follow her life, from birth to discovering who she is and what she believes in. I love the little nods to her life in Melbourne, where she speaks of living in a share house in Collingwood with a group of nurses, and then mentions watching La Passion Jeanne D’arc at (what I assume is) the Melbourne Cinematheque. I think we’re still not used to predominantly hearing or seeing Australian stories in media, and recently I’ve been trying to watch, read or listen to more local stories. There’s a kind of warmth that comes with recognising and relating to the places, objects, or experiences in these stories that are also within your own daily life. 



Thank you Veronica Charmont for your words and inspiration.
Photography and interview by Zoe Baumgartner.


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