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Tales from the sketchbook an exhibition by Barek

offthekerb

Barek is really quite an extraordinary artist. Today, I spent some time having a preview and a chat, at Off The Kerb Gallery  with Barek and Shini, the director of the gallery. Barek’s first exhibition in Melbourne called ‘Tales from the sketchbook’ will open on 17th October, 2014 at Off the Kerb and is just wonderful.

Barek’s art is recognisable by his signature character drawings. His drawings often depict a similar face, including the Barek eyes and round face. Yet, in this face, emotion is captured that invokes a certain empathy. This is how I came to the works of Barek, and still understand the art of Barek, personally.

Speaking to the director of Off the Kerb, I realised that there is a word that captures some of the feeling, and it is my favourite word; Melancholy. We held a shared understanding of melancholy as a beautiful concept. It can’t be universally defined, yet it invokes empathy. This empathy speaks to something we know, feel or have experienced. It is difficult to understand yet easy to feel.

Tales from the sketchbook

opening 17th October, 2014

6pm

at Off the Kerb Gallery

66B Johnstone street, Collingwood

Barek window

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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in 029 ~ [Unassigned]

 

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Shida : Ecstasy in the Abyss

SHIDA-PROMO-PRINT1I’m totally enamoured with the art by Shida. Such an incredibly original style and artistic ability that is baffling. Ive had the privilege of seeing Shida create some of the amazing art on the streets and I always feel astounded. I’m delighted that Shida will be having a solo exhibition opening on April 19th at Backwoods Gallery. Check out the following promo video.

 

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Will Coles: an appreciation

I first stumbled upon the street sculptures of Will Coles in Sydney, in the May Lane area of St Peters. The first work I noticed was the balaclava clad face. It looked familiar and I was somewhat sure I had seen it in Melbourne, though I didn’t feel certain. Then on the opposite side of May lane I noticed the baby doll, ‘context’.

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‘Context’, May Lane St Peters, Sydney.

‘Context’ was new to me, making me pause and stop for quite some time. I looked at this doll and wondered why it was there and what it meant. It was lying on the ground with mangled body looking as if it had been left by a child who no longer wanted to play with the doll. Maybe it had fallen out of a pram whilst in motion, and parent and child didn’t notice. There it was near the gutter in a laneway, looking unloved, out of context and even disturbing. Of course, I had to move closer and discover the word ‘context’ written on it as well as some paint marks over its face. The paint marks on its face were additions and yet they reminded me of how my children would draw on their dolls faces. I knelt closer and had to touch it. I had become curious. What was it made of?… It was cold hard concrete and the coldness seemed to emanate another dimension to the meaning it seemed to evoke within me. This work seemed to elicit a few responses from me yet, what resonated was the memory I had of my childhood when I accidentally left my doll that could sing (as it had a little record player in its back) out in the backyard. That night a heavy storm started with thunderclaps and rained heavy drops all night. The next day my doll could no longer sing. She was broken and I was sad. After crying for some time she was then discarded by my mother, who has never been a hoarder. I somehow loved my doll less once she was broken. As if voiceless she was no longer alive. That became one ‘context’ of the meaning for me. How easily the doll was discarded when she seemingly had no use, was broken and then lifeless. This mangled doll on the ground before me looked lifeless.

Leaving this work behind me I suddenly started to notice other Will Coles works. I stumbled on what appeared to be a crushed can that had the word ‘work’ inscribed on it and then some more…

At this stage I did not know who Will Coles was or the body of work on the streets and in the galleries. However, it did not take long to find out. With the help of the virtual sphere and the benefits of the hashtag I could seek out more information. Posting photographs of the sculptures to instagram, it wasn’t long before someone popped into my feed and informed me that this is the work of Will Coles… and so the discovery began.

Looking at the #willcoles on Instagram I was able to see photos that others had posted in Melbourne and Sydney. Since then, finding a Will Coles work has always been exciting. Researching and reading about the works of Will Coles has added further insight. Seemingly, there is no end to the layers and meaning and I discover more and more all the time.

Back in Melbourne, I started to look out for the works of Will Coles on the street and in laneways. What I discovered about his work is the placement often appears hidden. Sometimes, I have spent hours just trying to locate a work so I can take a photograph, as I did in Canberra. I knew Will Coles had some works left around the gallery and other places in Canberra. However, they were not easy to spot and I walked for two hours trying to find them. Luckily, just as I was about to give up the work appeared before me…

The works seemingly become part of the environment. With so much detritus strewn around the streets and in lanes, a sculpture of a crushed can with a word on it becomes hidden or seemingly part of the detritus. As a concrete sculpture it often melds with the concrete surrounds and yet taking on the form of our discarded lives it seems to be part of the rubbish just lying around. However, I learnt to look in gaps in walls, on little ledges, on the ground near poles, up high, over and under places and with time the works start to materialise. Once you start seeing a Will Coles sculpture, they just start to appear everywhere you look.

Following are some links that provide more information about Will Coles and his work.

Will Coles | Sculptor and Freelance European the artist’s website.

Interview with Will Coles by Invurt

Will Coles at Brenda May Gallery

Mr Will Coles’ photostream on Flickr

Artist spotlight: Interview with Will Coles by The Flying Room

Will Coles as documented by Dean Sunshine on Land of Sunshine

If in Melbourne, you can see the works of Will Coles in his first solo exhibition in Melbourne that is currently on. This was the first time I saw the works of Will Coles in a gallery context and I have been four times already. The last time I had the pleasure of perusuing through a document with statements on the works by Will Coles. This added further insight into the works, the thinking behind the works and the intentions.
Details of the exhibition are in the poster that follows:

aposter

Finally, here are some photos I have snapped of Will Coles works on the streets of Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

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Whimsical Be Free

I first discovered the art of Be Free on the Corner of the Tin Pot cafe where a little girl was pasted on the wall dropping a deck of cards onto the ground in front of her. This image immediately appealed. It invoked a sense of letting go of order and restrictions whilst enabling the mischievous sense of freedom to take over…. and just to be free… mix up a deck of cards, scatter them on the ground and risk losing some from the deck… This whimsical nature is what is appealing about the character of the little girl depicted in the art of Be Free.

In other artworks the same character can be found splashing paint across walls, jumping in puddles, watering plants, having a tea party and sometimes she is crouched under an umbrella, with a pensive expression, as rainbow rain washes over her. Be Free is almost always captioned or signed near the artwork.

The invitation to the child within is felt strongly when a work by Be Free is encountered. It is easy to relate to the child within. It is someone we all conjure up easily as the experiences of childhood have remained within. Emotions and impulsive actions are the first experiences we encounter. However, throughout life, much of our growing up journey is about pulling this freedom back and accepting the order applied from the world and other social forces. It is the whimsical spirit of letting go, the permission to be naughty, impulsive and playful against the rules, order, and restrictions that is very enticing indeed. Whilst an adult can easily relate, I have found children drawn to this artwork too. Clearly relating to the childhood represented is appealing to all ages.

The little girl, depicted in the Be Free artwork, is an incredibly recognisable character and when a new work appears there is no doubt who the work is by. I have had great pleasure documenting the artwork via photographs and sharing them through the virtual sphere. Alongside the works of Be Free are collaborations with other artists. Two notable collaborations are with the artists Suki and Erin Greer.

Interestingly, it is the artwork of Be Free, amongst the vast collections of street art I have been documenting, that has been commented on most extensively across the international virtual sphere. Clearly, the whimsy of Be Free is one we all relate to.

The saying ‘Once a child always a child’ echoes strongly in the work of Be Free. Following is a gallery of some of the photographs I have taken of the works of Be Free from my Flickr feed. Be Free from Preprint Flickr

Be Free will be having a joint exhibition with Erin Greer called “Monster and the girl’  at Egg Gallery in Collingwood. The exhibition opens February 8, 2013 and runs till February 22, 2013. Following is the promotional video. The gallery is located at 66a Johnston st, Collingwood.

 

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ROA in Melbourne: a personal appreciation

ROA in Melbourne: a personal appreciation

I find the work of the artist ROA quite inspiring and have enjoyed being exposed to his artwork on the international streets as shared via social media such as Instagram that can be viewed at #roa. You can also view ROA artwork here. Whilst I marvel at the amazing murals and beautiful depictions of animals, I have never seen a work by ROA outside the virtual world of sharing. Then I discovered that ROA was coming to Melbourne and exhibiting at Backwoods Gallery in Collingwood. To say I was excited is an understatement and the anticipation started to rise exponentially.

ROA has been in Melbourne for over a month now and, in that time, he has painted murals at Healesville Sanctuary as can be viewed at Streetart news; that I am yet to see. More painting by ROA at Healesville will be happening in the coming week and I am hoping to visit soon and capture the works in person.

The inspiration for this exhibition comes from the local wildlife, places and materials scavenged from abandoned places. I have discovered that this is a process of ROA at every place he visits. He embeds his experience in the local and draws inspiration from what he finds. This includes the animals of the local area and the materials found on which to create artworks.

I had been warned, as a vegetarian, I would find his work intensely confronting. However, beyond the smell of decay, that hits you as soon as you stumble into the driveway of Backwoods gallery, I found the experience of this exhibition to be a celebration of the life of animals and survival despite the destructive force of humans. Paying homage to the cycles of life and death present an acceptance and love of the animal as a being. I didn’t find this exhibition confronting and left with an intense respect for the artist and his work.

My personal reflections, and response to the work of ROA, suggest the capacity of human destruction is envisioned in our disdain of the existence of animals, their life, death and decay. In presenting the totality of cycle, the appreciation of animal existence and survival is intensified. His work captures the outside and inside. The experience is interactive as the artworks on salvaged materials produce canvasses that are constructed where you can open doors to reveal the inner parts of the animal depicted on the outer canvas. Similar to a lift the flap experience when reading a children’s book yet imminently superior. Learning that ROA is also a Zoologist adds further insight to his work and appreciation of animals.

The exhibition will be on till the 16th of December and they have a few filming projects happening to capture the transformation occuring during that time. As I’m leaving Melbourne on the 10th for a road trip, I won’t be able to go back and experience the level of the transformation that occurs and I can only imagine the smell.

The artwork will continue through time even when the decay of life is long gone.

Below are a series of pictures from my visit and a great video clip of ROA painting at an abandonded hospital in France.

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PORTRAIT Enter the world of ROA from THE MOUARF on Vimeo.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in 029 ~ [Unassigned], 994 ~ Australia

 

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Haiku Bird for Free Art Friday

wings outstretched I fly

touching the sky in moments

feeling inspired

Haiku Bird being set free

Melbourne has joined other cities from around the world participating in Free Art Friday and started Free Art Friday Melbourne. I have decided to participate with a Haiku bird.

Each week I will make one bird and write one haiku to be set free in a public space for someone to find. I am combining my love of poetry and writing with my love of making.

The location of the my Haiku birds will be revealed each Friday on my Facebook page and via my Instagram. Hopefully, when someone finds the haiku bird they will post a picture and message me via Facebook, Instagram or both.

This is my first Haiku bird being released with the Haiku underneath the bird. Below are a couple of progress shots.

Haiku Bird

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2012 in 029 ~ [Unassigned]

 

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Evolving Street Art: Be Free

Having grown up in Sydney’s innerwest during the 1970’s and 1980’s, I was privy to the developing graffiti scene around me. Initially, it was tags around train stations, on trains and around the industrial areas that were experiencing a decline.

I lived up the road from the Pye Television factory during my childhood. This was the first factory that my mother worked in when we arrived to Australia. She was in the production line, putting together television sets. However, that factory shut down leaving the building uninhabited for the many years that I lived there. All the kids in the neighbourhood were curious about the empty factory buildings and we would ride our bikes to them to have a peek in to see what we could see. The same street had lines of factories shutting down and becoming empty shells. This was Marrickville South, also called ‘The Warren’.

The Warren, bordered the suburb of Tempe. The division between the two suburbs was marked by a train line. On the Tempe side was a cliff edge, a great big blank wall of concrete, with housing up the top. On the Marrickville side were the industrial buildings. This became the face of graffiti in the area. As I remember, it started with tags and then tags started to transform to larger pieces on these walls bordering the train line. Watching the transition always fascinated me and continues to do so….

That was a long time ago… since then the transitions have continued and my fascination has intensified. This is the reason I started documenting art on the streets. I love watching the changes. I revisit places continuously to observe changes. Now my observations are not only with the eye, but with photographs to document the changes. I sometimes focus on the changes that are a result of different lighting, other times it’s the changes as a result of the elements weathering the art, or art being capped, buffed, tagged over and so forth.

However, there is one piece in Fitzroy North that has captivated me with the interactive changes and evolution over the course of a few months. It is the three dimensional Be Free artwork installed on a side wall of a cafe. I love this piece and many times over the past few months elements have disappeared, it has been added to, taken away from and then added to again. The natural elements of greenery have started to grow and weathering of the artwork has appeared too. The following photos are in chronological order demonstrating the evolution of this artwork as I have photographed over the course of this year.

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