Jarrod Rawlins

In the summer of 1999-2000, Blair Trethowan and I would meet at Degraves for breakfast and have meetings about opening a new commercial gallery in Melbourne. It took us about two months to refine the idea (it’s not exactly rocket science) and make a business plan for ourselves. Then, about another two months to present the idea to a group of Melbourne artists who would then become our team. Then, another two months to locate a space which we got through Xavier (where tcb is still located); then another two months to get a fund raiser exhibition together so we could build a space. We raised $13,000 at the fundraiser and that’s how much ‘capital’ we had to start the gallery—which was heaps! Dave Morison did a drawing of the layout for us, Chris Pearson built the walls, and all the artists and friends helped us with the rest. The idea to have Uplands (named after a famed skatepark that neither of us had ever been to in California) and tcb share a space came about because we knew tcb was looking for a new space. The Port Phillip Arcade program was rad, so it seemed a shame for them not to continue. We thought that if we build two spaces and they have one and we put our gallery in another then that would work fine, and it worked more than fine. When we first opened, we didn’t have any furniture or a computer, so Blair and I would sit on cushions on the floor in the side room (when we weren’t sitting on the stairwell smoking and drinking beers). The response to Uplands/tcb was immediate: the collectors came, the curators came, the artists came, the artists’ friends and family came. It was perfect. It’s one of my favourite stories.