Shida is an Australian artist specialising in murals, monumental in scale, spread across the east coast Australia and around the globe.
In ‘Summoning Lovers Out of Time’ Shida explores the relationship between ritual, sexuality and love. Psychedelic entities are entwined in a ceremonial act transcending the bounds of known reality.
A reaction to incidents in other states of being. Caught in an ancient battle and aligning at a balance between order and chaos. Shida seeks to turn a tide like an ancient shaman with each works being in essence an invocation, an energetic manifestation, a prayer to joy.
This new project will utilise a new industrial space to create large-scale, site specific paintings and drawings on display for one weekend only.
In Melbourne in the lead up to the show, Damo caught up with Shida to chat and learn more about him and his show:
Damo: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. I was just wondering if you could just start by talking about yourself a little bit, how you got into art… define your style a little.
Shida: My entire life I’ve been an artist; I was always a very introverted kid, always drawing always stuck in my head in my own fantasies. I guess around the age of 13 I discovered street art and that channeled my introversion into… into something that I could actually connect with people and something where I could get feedback and get fuel from there. It’s just been a straight line. It’s been constant.
Damo: So what you do now is a similar style to when you were starting out?
Shida: I think it came from the same place. It came very naturally. I didn’t think about it too much and I was always quite influenced by my subconscious and my fantasy.
Damo: Are there artists that influenced you as well, any one take you under their wing?
Shida: No I never had a mentor or anything like that. My style has been influenced by so many people and so many things over the years and all of that remains residually in it. But it’s hard to say anyone specific. I’ve had role models that I looked at and compared myself to over the years.
Damo: Did you have any art training or anything like that, or did you just keep going through the streets?
Shida: No, and yes. I was working in the streets as a teenager, in high school. The way things worked by the time I finished high school I was at a point where I could survive off my art. I was poor for quite a lot of years doing that but I fully committed. It was like, you know, I use a metaphor of the Vikings when they were raiding. Often they would arrive at a location and burn their ship so there’s is no going back, they just have to make it work. They have to conquer. That’s how they did it, and it was just full commitment and no looking back.
Damo: How do you define your style if you had to put it into words?
Shida: Into words I don’t know.. I think it’s very natural and organic and full of energy. Like I said I don’t think too much when working I just let… I just let it flow to kind of… kind of like spiritual art in a sense that it does come from somewhere, like some higher plane. I guess idealistically it’s quite psychedelic influenced as well. So I guess a combination of that just like expressive… like abstract expressionism with like cultural spiritual art and fantasy; all psychedelic.
Damo: So you’re in Melbourne for your show out at Footscray. Do you want to talk a little bit about that and what it’s all about? Because it’s slightly different to traditional show.
Shida: So Backwards Gallery is starting a new space Backward Studio in Footscray. I got shown through there and straight away I was just struck by how beautiful the place would be and how awesome it would be to work there before it was all set up. So it all came together really quickly. I was just like let’s do a show in two weeks. I’m painting the entire show within the span of probably about two weeks which is a challenge but also definitely the way that I want to be working off the cuff without too much… too much thought.
Damo: I believe there is going to be some installations; glow in the dark / possible fluorescent black lighting is that accurate?
Shida: Yeah there was going to be two rooms. It’s going to be a large front room that will have some work and there will be a second part of the exhibition which is a black lit room which will show a lot of the artworks as well.
Damo: Was the preparation for the show more different to a sort of more traditional show because of that?
Shida: Yeah definitely the time constraint is different and I definitely approached it in a different way… I guess in a heightened way of how I would approach my work with a lot of intention as to what I wanted to put in. It all forms a whole and there is an intention to the whole.
Damo: You’ve travelled a lot around the world you’ve painted a lot around the world. Where is the best place you’ve been and why? I know you did some cool stuff in Hong Kong not long ago.
Shida: Yeah I have travelled a lot. Yeah everywhere you go it’s always completely different. As far as what I do there are some places that have stood out to me. I’ve been to Sao Paulo which definitely stylistically influenced my art. Before I ever been to Brazil I always loved Brazilian stuff… Brazilian street art. There are very liberal and have a long culture of muralism in their culture so people are very accepting of it. it was definitely the city that was the most saturated by murals, street art and graffiti I’ve seen… In my life! Much more graffiti than you would find in Berlin, Melbourne or New York. It’s the peak of what I’ve seen. Where else do I enjoy? I really enjoy Asia as well. I think Asia is a little bit untapped. Whether or not people are open to it [street art] I think people generally haven’t formed their opinions on it yet. I also think they have a bit more, they have a bit more of a mentality where people don’t get involved in other people’s problems. So if someone sees you painting a wall they are not going to come and act like it’s theirs and be a hero. They are going to let you do it because it’s none of their business which is I think how everyone should behave really.
Damo: They just pretend they didn’t see.
Shida: Yeah it is none of their business. It’s like why would you want to… yeah so yeah I really like Asia like Hong Kong particularly I like as a city just how I feel there is so much packed in and it’s so massive you as if you can’t be anywhere where there is more… more around you it’s like the peak of a massive city and really easy to paint in.
Damo: I think I read somewhere that Mongkok (Hong Kong) is the mostly densely populated place on the Earth.
Shida: I don’t know if it’s the most densely. I think in the Gaza Strip is more densely populated than Hong Kong. But it is close, like if you’re standing at one point there is 20 stories or more wherever you are. So it is like a real hive in that way. It does feel like you’re in Blade Runner or like some kind of future world. And I do really get off on the idea of the right now, an example of what the future will be like.
Shida – ‘Summoning Lovers Out of Time’
Sept 16 – 18
Backwoods Studios, Footscray
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept 16, 6 – 9pm
40 Moreland Street, Footscray
Weekend gallery hours: 12 – 5pm