Archive / Artist Profile

RSS feed for this section

‘Scarlet’ – James Reka

‘Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du mußt nach Berlin.’ (Franz von Suppé)

Have you ever felt that things are not within your power? Meekness is a fiendish strategy to hold intact all that is dreadful and extreme. Self-subversion and asceticism hold strong, but quietly and softly the eyes of the charming and innocent boggle upwards at the hedonist. She unveils the dark ritual of work, eat, sleep, repeat – the catalepsy caused by first world existence; escalating the desire for pleasure to it’s all mighty destruction. She is Scarlet.

From the roaring 1920’s, to the second World War, and the Berlin Wall that divided the German Capital for 28 years – Berlin has historically been a dark dystopia, juxtaposed between desire and destruction. The fate this city bore has given birth to unique cultural grounds, where the lines between high life and underground are inescapably blurry. Nourished by street art, punk culture, techno music, sexual laxity and hedonism – a new generation has transformed the artefacts of Berlin’s dark past to create a Scarlet utopia of the post-war state.

Following a journey of influence in Berlin, Reka returns to Melbourne for his first solo exhibition in 4 years – Scarlet. Metaphoric notions of reconstruction are actualised through the post-cubist, industrial stylisation of the female form that features throughout Reka’s latest works – both painted and sculptural. His ‘Scarlet’ collection bears Reka’s iconic visual language, with hints of a modern romance amidst historical sculptural artefacts, erotic art forms and Berlin’s unavoidable pleasures.

Surrender to the hedonist, wander the darkness and experience James Reka’s ‘Scarlet’ at Backwoods Gallery from March 23rd to April 8th 2018. Enquiries:

James Reka stands as one of Australia’s most respected young contemporary artists, having earn’t his place in the National Gallery of Australia’s permanent collection. While currently based in Berlin, Germany. His origins lie in the alleyways and train lines of Melbourne’s inner-suburbs, where he spent over a decade refining his now-emblematic aesthetic and pioneering of a new style of street art in Australia as part of the original Everfresh crew.

Surrealist, abstracted characters emerge from the depths of Reka’s mind, communicating through strong lines, bold colours and post-cubist styling. These figures live in the homes and laneways of three continents, clambering up walls and enriching the urban environment with his iconic visual language.

With influences in pop culture, cartooning and illustration, Reka’s studio style emerged from his early design practice, featuring striking lines and colour ways. Over time, the logos and symbols he created evolved into more structured, animated forms and evolved to new mediums: murals, photography, and most recently sculpture.

Through these origins, Reka has developed an incredibly diligent, almost obsessive attention to the technical proficiency of his studio work, which has elevated him to produce meticulously detailed, collected pieces. His art sits somewhere between humorous and menacing, contrasting the two opposing feelings in a way that is unique to his vision. These pseudo-human forms are recognisable but isolating, playful yet eerie.

This is Reka’s art: a paradox between fastidious design and graffiti.

Recently, Reka has held solo shows in London, San Francisco, Paris and Milan, has exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol, as well as pieces appearing in New York, Munich, Denver and Cologne exhibitions. On the streets, his characters adorn the walls of cities around the world from Japan to Buenos Aires, Montreal to Brooklyn, Rome and Berlin.



On Saturday, February 24, downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) will proudly present the latest exhibition from leading German graffiti artists and storytellers HERAKUT — HERA (Jasmin Siddiqui) and AKUT (Falk Lehmann). Titled “Herakut’s RENTAL ASYLUM,” the exhibition of all new works will inhabit CHG’s 4,500 square-foot main gallery, with the artists in attendance.

Regarding their newest creations, HERAKUT states: “The show is called ‘Rental Asylum’ — as we all need to rent a place somewhere far from today’s actual reality, don’t we? And all our creatures on canvas are the happy patients of our rental asylum. They all have different reasons for checking in with us, for a bit, before facing the shit show our world has become.”

After joining forces in 2004, the artists merged their names and styles to collaborate as HERAKUT. Since then, the duo have been painting murals all over the world, along with additional works on canvas, paper and film for gallery and museum shows. Beyond international exhibitions around the world (France, Gaza, Germany and Jordan, among many others), live festival showings at Glastonbury (U.K.), Coachella (U.S.) and an appearance at the Happy 80th Birthday, Dalai Lama celebration (U.S.), this marks HERAKUT’s second exhibition at the gallery.

HERAKUT consider themselves “storytellers” who want to share their thoughts and questions with the public, so their figurative work is always accompanied with text. Their process of painting is also a dialogue with both artists adding their individual techniques to the piece. Jasmin uses her drawing skills on finding the form and proportion of their characters, while Falk specializes on painting the photorealistic elements.

In addition, HERAKUT are also involved with a variety of charity organizations — where the two work with children in schools and youth programs teaching young people to create a world for themselves — inside their minds. A collection of their work can be found in their books HERAKUT – the perfect merge and After The Laughter.


Q&A with LING

Born in New Zealand and raised on Melbourne’s Hurstbridge line, Ling is a multi-faceted artist based in Melbourne’s infamous Everfresh Studio. With a background in stylised lettering and graffiti, Ling is also well known for his 80’s and 90’s pop culture pieces, littering the streets of Melbourne and beyond, pushing those who come in contact with the pieces to reminisce of days gone by.

Having shot to international notoriety through his “Allure of Gold” project, taking everyday items like trains and cars that have been left to degrade and painting them gold, giving them the illusion of value once again, Ling is now pushing things even harder. Whilst on the hunt for a holy grail gold piece – ‘I noticed an abandoned fighter jet at Santorini airport…’– Ling has started working on far more diverse projects, pushing the canvas-based boundaries of portraiture and abstract work. A member of Melbourne’s ID crew, Ling is no stranger to collaboration, and is as familiar working alone as he is taking part in full scale productions, including most recently at Denmark’s Roskilde festival.

Photo: LING

Continue Reading →

A few questions with Scott Albrecht

Last time I saw Scott, we were playing ping pong at The Marcy Project in Brooklyn.  Sadly for me, he beat me in a best of 7.  It still stings a bit.  I mention it here as a form of therapy I think.  Anyway, I’m catching up with him now as his two person show with Mary Iverson called ‘Correspondence’ has just opened at Andenken in Amsterdam on November 11th.

Continue Reading →

Dscreet’s Dirty Protest: A Tremendous Trump Tower Takeover


After a hugely successful opening, Twumps is closing it’s doors this weekend. Twumps will be ending with a YUGE bang as well-known graffiti artist Dscreet “breaks in” and trashes the joint. Mimicking a break in to Trump’s very own penthouse, Dscreet films his break into Twumps, spray paints the walls, and even takes a “dump” on Trump’s desk.

Continue Reading →

Secret Walls x Melbourne / #PaintWillSpill World Tour

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 5.23.33 PM

Secret Walls began back in 2006 in a small bar in East London, it was small and intimate yet had the potential to be so much more. Years of hard work, dedication and a strong following has meant Secret Walls has pushed the boundaries and raised the bar for artists and promoters alike on an international stage.

Secret Walls is the world’s premier live illustration battle. Working in a similar way to Fight Club, Secret Walls battles are set up and promoted through word of mouth and social media with battles taking place between two individuals or teams of artists.

On Monday November 6, Melbourne will once again play host to this prestigious event. Fighting it out at Melbourne’s The Vic Bar will see Callum Preston and Heesco vs. Jack Douglas and Unwell Bunny….

Continue Reading →


Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 7.09.33 PM

‘FACING DECONSTRUCTION’ by Unwell Bunny is somewhat of a self-portrait for Unwell Bunny otherwise known as Ed Bechervaise. It represents a point of reflection both on himself and the urban art movement he has a lengthy relationship with. Captured are faces of Ed’s contemporaries, mentors, figure heads and the new breed of an independent disestablishment art movement.

‘FACING DECONSTRUCTION’ opens at Backwoods Gallery on October 20th from 6pm. Visit the exhibition page for more information. In the lead up to the show, Ed sat down with Damo….

Damo: We’ve finally managed to actually speak in person! Could we just start with who is ‘Unwell Bunny’ and how do you describe your current style?

Unwell Bunny: Unwell Bunny is kind of like my second artistic incarnation; an incarnation of Ed Bechervaise and my first graffiti name in Adelaide that I ran for about seven years. Moving to Melbourne I felt the need to reemerge in a slightly different form and Unwell Bunny was the reemergence. It came from a comic book that I did very early on in about 2002 or 2003 whilst I was actually witnessing the Melbourne street art boom happening. I had not quite ten years’ graffiti heritage and the street art boom was just completely new and I’d never experienced anything like that before. So, Unwell Bunny is the reincarnation of my graffiti past in a new form which has gone on to resemble urban contemporary art -giving me another sphere to project myself beyond my own name.

This allows the work to have secondary perspective on things and that works quite well for me. Keeping my name as a part of the linkage to my artistic practice with Unwell Bunny being an easier vehicle to move forward with.

Face one 700 x 600
Continue Reading →

‘Content by the Kilo’ – Callum Preston


‘Content by the Kilo’ is Callum Preston’s first venture north to exhibit artworks from his home town of Melbourne, with Church Brisbane being the perfect venue considering his history creative visual work in the music industry.

The artworks are a collection of what he calls ” fast and loose” butchers shop signs, the kind of thing you would have seen as a kid while shopping with a parent, proclaiming the finest cuts, the cheapest prices or the freshest produce. Big bold and eye catching, from a time before social media, you wanted to say something, you wrote it down and put a splash of neon around it.

Callum sat down with Damo over at Everfresh Studios to have a yarn about his show and what else is happening in his world.

Damo: Thanks for taking the time to hang out today. Can you introduce yourself and talk about your various artistic practices?

Callum: My name is Callum Preston I am based out of Everfresh Studios in Collingwood (Melbourne, Australia). I’ve been part of Everfresh since around 2004/2005 when I was a lot younger. I’m currently 33 and I’m a full-time… I don’t really have a full-time title but I’m sort of a full-time artist / designer / sculptor. It’s kind of very blurry; basically I’ll have a go at anything. That’s sort of my motto. I have just come to accept that I don’t really like the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ phrase. I think it’s not as simple as that, it’s more that will do a lot of things to the best of my ability and then I have to decide whether I think that’s an acceptable quality. I’m sort of still finding my feet in all elements of my practice but I really am enjoying myself.

Continue Reading →