Tag Archives: Streetart

Tales from the sketchbook an exhibition by Barek


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


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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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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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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Street art verses Advertising?

Living in Melbourne provides the wonderful opportunity to experience an amazing urban gallery. The art scene is an incredibly healthy one with diverse artworks adorning lane-ways, buildings, warehouses and gallery spaces. Urban art contributes to the joy of life as it provides moments to stop and ponder, contemplate some ideas, or just enjoy the talent that is given to the world free to enjoy.

As a personal preference, I welcome urban art more than the unsolicited advertising assaulting our public spaces. Banksy’s position on advertising is an interesting one and, whether you agree with it or not, it is certainly worth pondering in this context.

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are the Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

…Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

Moving along…. A favourite pleasure is documenting the changing landscape and the wonderful contributions of artists to the streets of Melbourne. When artists pop in to visit from other places in Australia, or from other countries it is an incredible rush to dash and and capture the new artwork. As it is so ephemeral, what is here today may be gone tomorrow, the ability to document with a camera is one way of sharing and hopefully capturing the moment that was.

I’ve decided to share some of my photos that I capture on this blog and I will start with a small selection from Melbourne artists…


Scaling the tower by Baby Guerilla in Clifton Hill


Flight to Freedom by Baby Guerilla in Brunswick


I stopped wearing a watch after the funeral… Collaboration by Kaff-eine and Precious Little in Brunswick


Rainbow Shower, a collaboration with Suki and Be Free in Brunswick


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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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