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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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Puppetry inspiration

This past year has been hectic, with deadlines for assessments, especially as I studied a WISE subject via San Jose State University. This meant there were no breaks between semesters, and often I was working endlessly to meet assignment deadlines. All I could do was forge ahead and not think about it too much… My only respite, to the assignment madness, were my streetart photographic adventures; shared mostly via Instagram.

So… what do you do when your study deadlines slow down and give you some breathing space? Engage your creativity of course, and revisit some past passion. This is just what I did with puppetry.

Luckily, Barek an artist from Brisbane announced a competition via Instagram titled #makemeabarek. The competition was run via Facebook and as my account had been inactive for a significant time, I had to reactivate to participate. What was involved was creating a character and including the signature Barek eyes.

I have never been able to complete a puppet in such a short time-frame but decided to give it a shot. Working collaboratively, with my partner we lost sleep and kept at it until we realised the day before that we were going to meet the deadline… Yippee!

Not only did we meet the deadline but our character was the winner! For our joyful effort we have an original
Barek artwork on the way… WOW!

Apart from the sheer joy of working on puppets again, I’ve enjoyed dipping my toes into Facebook and finding some of the talented artists I admire there too. I had been somewhat resistant of Facebook for quite some time but not any longer.

Following are some photos of the puppet entry. The inspiration for the puppet technique is Japanese Bunraku puppetry, although we have modified the actual technique and the puppet will be operated by two people without the strict adherence to the traditional form. The scenery is inspired by the talented Melbourne based artist Suki.

I’m now working on another character and hope to create a short video demonstrating the puppets. Stay tuned 🙂

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Ephemeral Street art ~ A Melbourne Story

Yesterday, Worker’s didn’t give a rat’s in response to yet another work, by Banksy, being destroyed in Melbourne. This echoes an earlier destruction of a Banksy work in 2008 of ‘The little diver’ as found in the following news report; The painter painted: Melbourne loses it’s treasured Banksy.

Today I’m sharing another artwork that has been ripped from public view by another international artist. Her name is Alice Pasquini. Click on the link to her name and explore, you wont be dissapointed.

This time the position of the artwork is not as high profile and I doubt the story of the STOLEN artwork will make front headlines. However, my discovery of the dissapearance of this work occurred on the same morning that the destruction of the Banksy work was reported. This resonates quite strongly in my imagination. It stirs feelings and debate amongst people, you only need to follow the comments feed on the stories reported in The Age to realise there is much division on the value of Street art.

My position on the situation is very clear. I love Street art. It brightens my day by providing me/the public with an urban gallery. It slows me in my tracks as I travel through the day. I stop, notice, stand back, move in close. I look at the details and take in the environment. I discuss the pieces with passers by, strangers and share moments that otherwise would not have ocurred… I document what I find and share on Instagram with an international audience delighting in the art of the streets.

I regularly pass by the Alice work and take delight in the enjoyment of the gift the artist has bestowed on the streets of Melbourne. I first photographed this work about six months ago in the suburb of Northcote, Melbourne. The artwork was in an obscure street, lined with warehouses amidst other streets of suburban houses. There were two works contributed by Alice and both were on Metal doors.

The first photo is the photo of the work that has been stolen. The second photo is of the artwork that still remains

Now there is only one work left as the metal door of one of the artwork above has been taken off. Someone has STOLEN the artwork. The only remnant of the artwork’s existence is the orange/yellow paint splash on the left.

This raises the concept of the ephemeral in Street Art and this is part of the reason I love Street art so much. The idea that one day an artwork can dissapear produces a desire to find artworks and see them, to share them. At the same time there is beauty in ephemera as the work fades with time due to the elements of wear and tear. The glare of the sun can dull colours, the glue of the paste-ups becomes affected by the rain, sun, wind cycles and slowly portions of the paste-up begin to unstick, fall off or wither away. This type of ephemeral I have decided to term as natural ephemeral. It is the artwork interacting with the elements. It transforms in it’s environment unaided by human’s. It shows how an artwork can evolve in a street setting. I walk past works often to observe the changes and have come across the beauty of a work as it seemingly becomes part of the brickwork in this natural process of change. This is the ephemeral nature of street art I love.

However, in the world of Street art there is another and more destructive form of ephemeral. This includes the destruction of artwork, as depicted in the news reports on the Banksy artworks, the stealing of artwork as has happened to the work of Alice, and the tagging, pasting, or painting over artwork.This ephemeral produces disdain, anger, disappointment and incomprehension. It is this ephemeral that is always difficult to reconcile.

Whilst this has documented a somewhat ugly side of Street art in Melbourne, and even the world, I am grateful for the tenacious nature of the artists and their passionate pursuits to colour the world of the streets for public view. I am very fortunate to be living in a city, that can sit proud amongst other cities as having a very healthy and prolific street art scene. It is wonderful to have so many talented artists contributing that are both homegrown and international. I can never thank the artists enough!

 

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