With the current state of the world affecting all industries, but in particular the arts industry, it has put the onus with creativity and production on the artist across Australia, and abroad. One particular artist comes from Melbourne, Victoria – via Timaru, New Zealand. Bailey Dunnage, the cutest plant-dad online, graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2017 and is currently taking the Crisis out by the root.
In recent months the Musical Theatre graduate has launched a YouTube channel that is full of facts, humour, and covers to keep you going through isolation. We interviewed him on his process, and what the project has meant for him.
What were you doing in the lead up to creating Bailey’s Botanical Band?
“I had the idea late last year, and at the time I was working at a call centre. In my spare time I was trying to progress my love for graphic design, and I started creating little title screens at the start. Come mid-January (oh how long ago that seems now) I quit my job to pursue my artistic career full time, so funnily enough, I was sort of already living a crazy isolated life in my room being creative before it was cool – I’m the OG quaranqueen!”
What was the process in creating this process?
“After I had finished animating all the visual elements, I then had to refine the concept. I was inspired by my favourite YouTube channels ‘Superfruit’, and ‘UNHhhh’. I knew I wanted the editing to be engaging, and to have silly traditions each week. I actually filmed a trial episode before the official launch, which was hilariously terrible!
Setting all the plants up takes longer than I’d like to admit, and they block off the stairway to the bathroom, so I blame the frantic energy throughout the piece on the fact that I really need to use the bathroom. Choosing a song and plant each week is the hardest part, because I usually try to relate the two in some way. I try not to write too much of the episodes down, so things remain somewhat organic.”
How has the reception been since launching Bailey’s Botanical Band?
“It’s been great! I’ve chosen a pretty niche market of people, because I know some of my friends love the songs, but aren’t exactly plant lovers, so finding a balance between the two has been the hardest part, and something I’m still figuring out.”
How has this project helped you during this crisis?
“At heart I’m an introvert, and as I mentioned, I was working from home before all of this. When lockdown happened, I was well rehearsed. In saying that, I tend to go through a downward spiral of overthinking if I don’t have something to keep me occupied, so this project has really helped me to stay focused and of course, keeps all my creative vines growing.”
What’s your opinion with regards to artists during this crisis? Despite the protections of our government, has the arts industry died?
“The arts industry has certainly taken a hiatus during this time; however, the practice of art is still in full force. Artists have an advantage at this time as we are able to keep ourselves occupied by being creative at home, and we have already seen some very entertaining things come from this time.”
What can we expect from Bailey in the future? Will an accompanying album of all covers be on the horizon?
“I have heaps of ideas for future episodes! I really want to test out the waters and try some different things, as it’s still early days. I’ve had a lot of interest now regarding an album, and I would love to. It’s more about finding the money and time to get it done. I’m also considering releasing “Bailey’s Botanical Book” with illustrations by yours truly, so fans can have their care information with them always. I’m dreaming big, since there’s not a lot else to do right now – but keep expecting videos every Thursday!”
Bailey’s Botanical Band is (chloro)phyll of humour, beautiful singing, and facts to keep any age group entertained whilst in isolation. Follow Bailey on Instagram and Facebook @baileydunnage – with his Acoustic Covers EP available across all music streaming platforms.
By JOSHUA HALL HAINES