Urban Nation – Project M/3 – Berlin

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Urban Nation’s Director, Yasha Young, had a few words to say about the latest installation of their Project M series, part 3:

PROJECT M ⁄ 3
MARTHA COOPER ⁄ DOTDOTDOT ⁄ ERNEST ZACHAREVIC ⁄ VARIOUS & GOULD ⁄ M-CITY ⁄ LEVALET ⁄ PLOTBOT KEN ⁄ DAVID HOCHBAUM ⁄ MARTIN WHATSON ⁄ EVOL ⁄ BUFF DISS

www.urban-nation.net

Analogue / Digital Conference Discount Code

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Our friends over at Analogue / Digital are offering 20% off tickets for their May conferences in Brisbane and Melbourne until Friday midnight, which also marks the end of the second release of tickets.

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For more information, follow:
Instagram: @analogue_digital
Twitter: @AD_Conferences

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Check out their website at:

www.analoguedigital.com.au

Followers will need to enter the coupon: ILOVEAD2014 on the site to redeem the discount.

Houl – Interview

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Our man in Canberra, Damo, caught up with local legend, Houl, for a few words on his crazy characters, the creative process and, dare we say it, why Canberra is becoming cool…

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DW: How do you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?

Houl: It starts out with bold colours, thick lines and simple characters, but then those thick lines find some more details and the simple characters become more intricate and haggard. Wrinkles make drawing fun, so I’ll throw some of them on in there. It’s never super realistic, my characters are always confined to the realm of 2D illustration, nothing that could ever peel off the page, but it’s something which is mine. A perfectly flat upper eyelid. A swooped Elvis-esqe fringe. Perhaps some sort of animal face or mythological reference. I mainly work with hues of blue and purple but have been expanding that recently. They are black and white fine line drawings, full colour characters with markers on old street signs, shredded decks or rusted saw blades, or half shaded half outlined pieces with aerosol on walls across Canberra and Sydney.

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DW: How and why did you get into art? Tell us a bit about your early years.

Houl: I drew when I was younger, that old story, but after High School I gave it up. It wasn’t for me, wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, nor was I happy with my work all that much. However, after moving closer to the city for work and Uni I began to see paste-ups by SMC3, Max Berry, Stryker X and Ears, which prompted me to start doing something similar. I started out with stickers, slapping them up with painters gusto because I had no idea what I was doing, before being encouraged by those same artists who inspired me to start drawing, to go bigger, so I began making paste-ups before eventually picking up a can. Who said peer pressure was bad?

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DW: Can you talk us through your creative process, from concept to finished product?

Houl: The process varies, but most of the time it involves an idea, which turns into a rough sketch. Over the top of that, I’ll work out a much more refined drawing, tick lines, details, all the bells and whistles. From here it can go a couple of ways. If it’s going to be a wall, I’ll leave it as is. I’ll plan my colours, take it to the wall, then ignore it completely and freestyle something on the spot. if it’s going to become an canvas, I’ll sketch it out, lay in the colour fill, then once dry, detail over the top. The fill can either be straight Posca or, if it’s a street sign piece, spray paint after I mask it off a bit. Most pieces I’ll finish pretty quickly. I’ve begun to realise that if I labour over a piece, spending days and weeks on it, I get too attached, and feel terrible selling it. If I do a piece I’m happy with, but didn’t take me as long, then I’ll be more open to someone else taking it from me for themselves.

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DW: What’s the scene like in Canberra. How would you change it if you could?

Houl: It’s growing, that’s for sure. When I first arrived about 3 years back there were the crews, but they kept to themselves, and then a handful of other artists who painted, but again mostly kept to themselves. I’m not sure if I’m suddenly in the loop or what, but now we’ve got artists coming out of the woodwork, people picking up cans for the first time and absolutely killing it, people who’ve been painting for years getting up and going big, and so much support from the community. Stores like Sancho’s Dirty Laundry are doing wonders for the scene, stocking materials, providing a space to display work and giving out so many opportunities to get involved, get up and have fun. The only thing I’d change is the misconception that Canberra is boring. It may have been at one point, but not any more.

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DW: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?

Houl: Music is constantly playing when I work. Tom Waits or Frank Zappa is great when I’m trying to draw a gnarly, fucked-up kind of character, all twisted and bent; the visual images those guys evoke is perfect. If I need something that’s a bit relaxing and calming to help me focus on a piece which needs doing, some Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Boards of Canada is called for. A lazy afternoon pain session will have The Knife or Seekae and if I’m at a wall, super psyched to be out painting, it’ll be something more upbeat, perhaps some GZA, Blackalicious or Dr. Octagon.

DW: You have just collaborated with Mike Watt on a pretty cool flip zine? How did the collaboration come about? Did you sit down together and smash it out or was it a labour of love over some time?

Houl: The Plum Darlings vs The Deadly Dusters (or The Deadly Dusters vs The Plum Darlings depending on which cover you’re looking at) came about from mutual admiration for each others work, a desire to do something a little different and a glimmer of hope that collaborating with Mike might help me get into his pants. We discussed it in passing during a paint one day, and then hashed it out online. It took us a while to get it where it is today. Mike knew he wanted to make gang members, but beyond that we had a whole bunch of ideas and plans. There were some amazing ideas and plans involved, but due to time constraints, a lot got cut. There was going to be a more in-depth story involving Canberra and it’s surrounds, a bunch of paints leading up to the release featuring the different characters loitering about and looking menacing, but when it comes down to it, I’m super happy to have worked with Mike and just as happy with what was produced. Hopefully I didn’t scare him off and we’ll do something again in the future.

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DW: What makes you laugh / pisses you off?

Houl: When I see someone’s dropped ice-cream melting on the footpath, the edge of a shoeprint in a fresh poop and having someone cut in front of me only to catch up with them stuck at the next set of lights.

DW: What are Houl’s plans for the rest of 2014?

Houl: Cybernetic legs. I want some telescoping thighs, wheels in my feet and Swiss Army knife toenails. Failing that, just as much art as I can cram in. I have my own zine, which I’ve been working on for a bit, posted a bunch of images from it as I was finishing them, all Norse Mythology themed. I’ve got a B-Grade Movie Poster exhibition I’m working on a piece for, and whatever else I can really find, as well as something awesome with a few other people from Canberra.

DW: Where else can people find you?

Houl: At home, in my study, which doubles as my drawing room, wearing my squishy pants and slippers, which I got when I was 8, hunched over a drawing. If the sight of this doesn’t appeal to you, you can find the pretty things I draw which contradict my appearance at www.facebook.com/houlart or on instragam at @houlart. I have a blog which is www.houlart.blogspot.com but it’s more neglected than my social skills, and finally, if despite all of that, you do want to contact me, I’m available at houlstreetart@gmail.com for commissions, exhibitions and children’s birthday parties.

Evolution – Bustart and Zaira – GO Gallery

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Our buddies in Amsterdam put together this little video exclusive for VNA from their latest show at GO Gallery in Amsterdam, featuring work from Bustart, Zaira, The London Police and more.

This clip is part of a larger Dutch graffiti documentary coming soon…

Thanks to Rhylie Luanweir for the exclusive.

www.gogallery.nl

Vivid Sydney – T-World, Joshy D, Mike Giant

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May 28

Joshy D and global art icon Mike Giant are collaborators and the founders of streetwear brand REBEL8, t-world has joined forces with Vivid Sydney to present a talk on how one of the world’s biggest youth brands maintains street cred while building a hugely successful business.

More jump off after the jump off…

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Whether you love the brand or just want insight into their success, you can hear these living legends discuss their creative collaboration and learn how they built a successful brand without selling out.

Tickets and info here:

http://www.vividsydney.com/events/mike-giant-and-joshy-d-rebel8-on-collaboration-commerce-and-credibility-in-youth-culture/

Swoon – Submerged Motherlands – Brooklyn Museum

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Swoon’s latest installation opens to the public on April 11th. We headed over for a sneak preview of the biggest street art installation of the year. After months of sweat, headaches, doubtless countless tears, sheer exasperation and hours and days of preparation from Swoon and the team, this is what unfolded. I’m not sure Brooklyn Museum were quite ready for it…

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www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/swoon

www.swooninprint.com

Rone – Wallflower – Stolen Space – Solo Show

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Australian artist Rone’s latest show, Wallflower, opens at London’s Stolen Space gallery on the 11th April. We caught up with one of the worlds most impressive muralists for a few words on his technique, the community he has helped build in Melbourne and the gorgeous girls who act as his muses.

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VNA: Rone, firstly congratulations on landing the show at Stolen Space, tell us a little bit more about your latest show… You’ve painted some of the biggest murals in the world, how do you keep pushing and challenging yourself?

RONE: I challenge myself in walls that actually don’t even think I can do before I start. Then once I’ve started I’ve got no choice but to make it happen. I always wanted to paint big ever since I went to Berlin for the first time and saw what people like Blu had done. Since then I realized what was possible with some paint and a roller.
Now I’m at a point where I know If I’m not truly scared of a wall I’m not pushing myself.

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VNA: When you’re going big, how do you maintain the detail and perspective? Do you project up your large-scale pieces? Do you feel like projecting up is cheating a little?

RONE: I projected 1 or 2 walls before I worked out it was a waste of time. There is so many technical issues with projecting that it limits what I wanted to do. I now use my own method, much like the grid system but a bit more loose.

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VNA: Give us some background on Everfresh, how that came together, who made it what it is and where is it at right now?

RONE: Everfresh was started by 5 or 6 Melbourne graffiti/street artists. We wanted our own space to work from rather than trying to fit into a traditional art studio. We found a space we all shared, it was more like a club house than a studio. 10 years later we have moved a few times and fluctuated in size as people come and go. Just this month we have signed a lease for a new space that we should be in for many years and what we hope to do in the future is start an international residency for street artists. Not to exhibit in Melbourne, but just to paint walls.

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VNA: Who are the girls you paint in your pieces? Are they real people, or do you make them up in your head? Do you have a never-ending stream of beautiful girls on tap just queueing up to let you paint their portraits?

RONE: Ha, no I don’t have a stream of girls queuing. But it is getting easier to convince them to work with me. So yes, they are real. The girl in this show is actually Teresa Oman, she is an amazing person from Byron Bay in Australia.

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VNA: What’s the art scene like in Melbourne right now? It’s traditionally home to Australia’s street art scene, do you feel it still holds that crown?

RONE: I think in Australia, Melbourne still has the strongest constant art scene. Strangely Melbourne has never had one of these mural festivals but I don’t think it needs one either as it is abundant.

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VNA: What is it about Melbourne that cultivates such a liberal attitude to art and painting in public spaces?

RONE: I think there could be a thesis written on this answer but it still wouldn’t explain it all… Let’s say it’s complicated.

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VNA: Do you feel you’ve helped to shape the scene in Australia through your work with Backwoods and Everfresh?

RONE: I wouldn’t say I have shaped it, but I have been there to see it change from an ignored sub-culture to Melbourne’s biggest tourist attraction. I think one thing we did right was to welcome other international artists. I’ve always been a big traveller, so whenever someone came into town from another country, we welcomed them, and I think that has made us a great destination for other artists. Just knowing they can ask us for help finding a place to paint or borrowing a ladder makes a huge difference when traveling.

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VNA: What does this year hold for you project-wise? Are you continuing to work on projects abroad? Do you feel you have to exhibit abroad to step your profile up in the art world?

RONE: I’m off to Taiwan and Mexico if everything goes to plan in the next few months. I think painting abroad is a great experience, just to be part of a new community and to leave them something they hopefully love.
I haven’t exhibited (solo) anywhere for almost 18 months, but my focus has been more international rather than Melbourne. I think it’s important for an artist to exhibit out side of their home city, it is much more challenging but also more personally rewarding.

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VNA: Is there anything you feel you still have to prove, or do you feel you’ve achieved as much as you want to artistically? What does the future hold for you as an artist?

RONE: I have already achieved far more than I ever thought I would as an artist. However, now I’m here, I know I’m far from finished.

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www.stolenspace.com

www.r-o-n-e.com

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1010 – Abyss Solo Show – Affenfaust Galerie

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Teaser for the upcoming exhibition, ‘Abyss’, by 1010 at Affenfaust Galerie on the 12.04.14.

The current exhibition shows mainly paperworks and acrylic paintings from his Abyss Series.

1010 was born 1979 in Rastenburg and has been living and working in Hamburg since 1987.

In his art, he deals with language, symbols and signs, with automatisms of perception and the structures of society. 1010 is a conceptualist. His art doesn´t explain itself. An elaborate system underlies it, which evolved over the last years. It´s up to the viewer to perhaps detect it on his own.

www.affenfaust.org/1010-abyss