“I was spending too much money elsewhere and wanted to process [film] for free. So we bought a lab.”
That’s how Analogue Academy first came about in 2013, Joshua de Hoog tells me with a half-smile. It was a modest aim, considering what the space has become. As I speak to Josh now we’re sitting at a long table, hot coffees between us. Behind him the wall beholds a myriad of works from local artists, some meticulously detailed, some bright and playful, one by a person as young as seven. To my right on a stage there is a bar with a liquor cabinet and a coffee machine, below which sits two big treasure chests filled to the brim with film canisters. To my left, between two green plants you can see the grey cold of the winters day in central Geelong.
Joshua Maxwell de Hoog is a local multi-platform artist, with pursuits in all manner of visual art, writing and poetry, and music. The twenty-five-year-old has been living in Geelong for ten years and been operating as an artist for six. He opened Analogue Academy with two friends, James Cox and Daniel Horvat, originally as a place to process their own film, but the place has grown into Geelong’s hub for off-kilter forms of self-expression, built around the ethos to ‘Keep Geelong Weird’.
“We decided to open that service [film processing] up to our friends and we’ve just sort of been continuing to grow it slowly. It is a project of love, so it’s very much been a slow burn over the last five years, but, we’re really happy to still be here.”
Though their flame may have been growing slowly, Analogue has evolved from a processing lab into a café, bar, exhibition space, and performance space for all manner of artistic pursuits that may have otherwise struggled to find a platform in Gee-town.
“When we first started Analogue, there wasn’t really many places to exhibit or host events that weren’t aligned to a pre-existent idea of what art and music should be. There wasn’t a jazz scene, there wasn’t really a spoken word scene, there was just that psych-rock stuff that’d been in Geelong for a really long time. We wanted to be at home for something different.”
Recurring events like Jazz In A Hat and Lowercase Poetry have been a big influence in Geelong lately, sparking a curiosity for artistic niches that don’t always have a huge following among young people in regional towns. “There’s lots of events that started here and have since grown out of the space. I think that’s a good representation that there is a demand for different forms of creativity within Geelong. I feel like we’ve got a slow build of response, but we do have a good response none the less.”
The slogan ‘Keep Geelong Weird’ is indicative of why Analogue has been so dedicated to cultivating arts culture in Geelong.
“I think the main reason that we wanted to be really passionate about it being Geelong focused, as opposed to wider Victorian focus, was the fact that all, or most, creative young people, as soon as they were graduating from school in Geelong were going to Melbourne. We had lots of talent within Geelong, but it was never getting shown around the Geelong region. And to me, that was really sad that we couldn’t have this local community of artists. We were all just trying to make it in the city, when we had lots of great resource within Geelong. So that was the main reason for building Geelong itself.
“If you’re a young Geelong creative, I think you should be really proud of the city that you’re in, and to keep your work within Geelong you’re doing a really great thing for the uprising of arts and culture within Geelong. And, if you know of other creative people in Geelong, get around them, let’s support local and help lots of people create art in this city.”
If you want to suss out what’s happening soon at Analogue, drop in and get a coffee or suss out their Facebook page. Josh also has heaps of cool art you can find out more about at www.joshuamaxwelldehoog.com/
Analogue Academy is located at Cuzens Place, Geelong.
Written by Liam McNally