The USA based Unearthed film production studios were a horror film studio at large in the 1970s. Rivaling the Amicus and Hammer Horror film studios, the company, formed by Hanna Newman and Joshua Smith was big hit in Grind-house theatres until an explosion occurred on the set of the unreleased film ‘The Sisters of Satan’ in 1979 engulfing the entire film studios in fire.
Part three in our ongoing ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ roles out today, with a comprehensive chat with artist Benjamin Work. Benjamin is of mixed Scottish and Tongan ancestry, and intially struggled to find a sense of belonging and gravitated towards the pop-cultural influences emanating from Los Angeles in the 1990s, such as skate, fashion, gang and graffiti culture. Today, Benjamin’s journey to learn more about his Tongan ancestry has led him to discover images of antique Tongan weapons finely carved with often overlooked symbols of warriors and royalty. These key figures in motion, form the majority of Benjamin’s works with strength and power and occasionally, the Lupe, a pacific bird of peace, feature in his works. He continues to explore the power of kula (red) and uli (black) and their connections to titles, Christian beliefs and youth gangs in Tongan thinking and practice.
Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’?
Benjamin: It’s a statement from a group of creatives that marks a place in time (tā) and space (vā). We are situated in a unique and rich part of the globe that has been subject to many misconceptions throughout the ages, so we are one part of that voice telling our stories from this region of the world. Just like our forefathers who were explorers venturing into uncharted waters, also with us, as we explore what it looks like to be Post graffiti in the Pacific Region.
Next up in our ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ series is Route52. Route52 (Brendan Kitto) expanded from the activities of skating and graffiti to the documentation of what he perceived as important youth culture. With age, this concept was further refined. His need to document process and happenings, capturing a time and place, became his point of difference in graffiti documentation, since most people at the time would only photograph the final result. This patience to capture THE shot in urban popular culture and fashion, has enabled him to exhibit his photos in both group and solo shows. With respect to the past and moving forward with the future, Route52 embraces medium format, 35mm and digital photography, with his own in-house black and white development dark room.
Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of Post-Graffiti Pacific?
Route52: Being able to take the next step into the art arena with friends I have been doing graffiti with over the past 10 – 15 years.
Damo: Can you talk us through your piece, and how you responded to the brief from conception to finalisation?
Route52: There was no brief really, apart from bring your best. I concentrated on a body of work that that I have been working on over the last 4 – 5 years, which is the protests that have been happening regularly over that time.
I chose to work with images from the deep sea oil drill protests and visited parts of New Zealand’s West Coast to shoot images of the landscape that would be affected if a oil spill was to happen.
Damo: How does your piece reflect the ‘dawn of a new movement in art’?
Route52: I wouldn’t say my piece is the dawn of a new art movement, I would like it to make people think of the larger issues rather than their favourite contestant getting voted off a reality TV programme.
Damo: How do you define street art? Has your inclusion in Post-Graffiti Pacific changed your view on this?
Route52: I have no idea on how to define street art , I painted graffiti.
Damo: How does it feel to be included in an exhibition among several of your contemporaries?
Route52: It is great to be alongside people I now call my friends, people I looked up to whilst learning the ropes of graffiti and to be here with them now is surreal sometime.
Damo: Did this influence you in any way?
Route52: It totally did, started from the bottom now we are here.
‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ is now on show at aMBUSH Gallery, Central Park, Sydney.
As part of ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ currently on show at aMBUSH Gallery in Sydney’s Central Park we have been lucky enough to have a quick Q&A with some of the contributing artists. To begin this ongoing series we present to you, Askew One.
With a strong self-taught background in graffiti, graphic design and videography, Askew One’s geographical isolation of Auckland, New Zealand, hasn’t held him back from presenting his work to the world and he is now considered to be one of the leading figures of graffiti and urban contemporary art from the Pacific region.
Using skills in photography, graphic design, graffiti and traditional painting, Askew One captures his audience with visually complex and pleasing paintings whilst drawing attention to the economic and environmental issues affecting the smaller Pacific nations of Oceania.
Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of Post-Graffiti Pacific?
Askew One: I’m stoked to see this show come to fruition. From many late night debates amongst my friends over drinks, trying to define who we are as artists to first connecting with the aMBUSH guys and them giving this chance to share this revelation.
Post-Graffiti Pacific is not just another graffiti exhibition. It’s a statement and a definition – a bold assertion of language, history, culture, expression and the significance of place in art making. Curator Olivia Laita and her line-up of seven leading Post-Graffiti Pacific artists are proposing, with conviction, the dawn of a new movement in art.
Post-Graffiti Pacific seeks to clarify the way we discuss urban contemporary art. Today’s urban contemporary artists have evolved to straddle the divide between public and studio practice and terms like ‘graffiti’ and ‘street art’ have become insufficient to describe their activities and motivations. ‘Post-Graffiti’ is now a recognised term, used to describe the work of artists whose backgrounds in graffiti inform their professional artistic practice.
Australian Kyle Hughes-Odgers’ newest solo show opens at Turner Galleries (Perth, Australia) this week.
Turner Galleries have said “In the five years since we first worked with Kyle Hughes-Odgers, his career has taken a meteoric rise. From fairly humble beginnings as a street artist, this career has evolved rapidly to include major public art commissions, three children’s books, gallery exhibitions in Australia and overseas, and of course the (now international) street art has continued unabated. The spindly limbed characters that populate his artworks have certainly struck a chord with his viewers. They have a universal narrative; they struggle with their lives, carry their burdens, face difficult choices and are not afraid to dream.
Hughes-Odgers’ most important commissions include an eighty meter building exterior (including LED lighting design) at the new Perth international airport. Other recent career highlights include winning the Crystal Kite Award (Australia/New Zealand) with Meg McKinlay for their children’s book Ten tiny things, a forty meter mural for Murdoch University, a three storey building exterior in Washington DC, an interior mural for Jamie Oliver’s Perth restaurant, a four storey mural overlooking the Mitchell Freeway in Perth, solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Berlin, plus his third children’s book is due to be published in November 2015.”
The show consists of new drawings, works on linen and small sculptural works and if you can make it, is unmissable!
Exhibition runs June 26 – July 25 2015.
Born in the late 70’s in Beirut (Lebanon), DEM189 was quickly confronted to chaos and hysteria. Tarek aka Dem189 had to learn the limits of a city at war. Confined at home, during most of his free time outside school, he had to develop his own creative universe. From Lego to drawing, he built his own fantasies. Fascinated by war, he also lays on paper his fantasised weapons and war crafts, genesis to his future work.
In 1989 Dem moved to Paris, and discovered a whole new biotope with different rules and cultures. Ecstatic and overwhelmed by the prospect of this new life, Dem launched into graffiti in his early teens. Integrating various movements from punk rock to heavy metal, electro to hip-hip, switching from one to the other, he developed his own style.
Over the last 7 years, Dem has been working on paintings and installations in an abstract style, parallel to his graffiti world. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Moebius, Lebbeus Woods, Crumb… as well as urban architecture and decay.
His style is unpredictably diverse. Passed 30, Dem still refuses to limit himself to any particular movement. His inspirations and influences are countless. He focuses on exploring many sub-cultures. Urban by essence, he finds what inspires him roaming the streets, and allows himself to experiment with any technique and tools. His work in recent years has left the shores of lettering to venture into the realms of illustration and abstraction.
DEM189’s show ‘Ricochet’ opens at Backwoods Gallery Friday June 19th from 6pm and continues until Sunday July 5th.
Myneandyours is an artist who was born and raised in the UK to Iraqi parents. He now resides in Dubai and lives with his ‘head in the clouds’. He creates colourful, layered artwork with powerful underlying messages, which has placed him at the forefront of a rapidly growing UAE art scene. His instantly recognizable style can be seen more and more in cities around the region.
This new body of work by Joram Roukes touches subjects of exploration and escapism. His predominantly large scaled oil paintings reflect everyday life situations, observed, filtered and reassembled in a collage like fashion. The resulted paintings pose a fragmented yet cohesive view on today’s society and human behaviour.
Originally from The Netherlands, 32-year-old painter Joram Roukes is inspired by his unique and ever-evolving view of the world. Inherently nomadic, Roukes has travelled to, and lived in many places across the world, and is an adventurous explorer by nature. His juxtaposed style of painting reflects that exploratory trait, as it also never can remain stagnant. His artwork often shifts and changes perspective, subject or style, and in turn, forces the viewer’s perception to shift and change, provoking the viewer to question what they see vs. what they know. His narratives are complex and layered, much like his aesthetic. With an extensive background in art history and global cultures, Roukes often pulls from a wide range of popular culture references and influences, readily seen in his schizophrenic painting habits. With his varying qualities and techniques taking turns in his collage-style painting, he is able to utilize his many influences in art and in culture, to represent his take on the world, while confusing the viewer just enough to make them see the many realities of Roukes’ painted world.
This exhibition is now showing at StolenSpace Gallery until 28 June 2015.
Atelier des Bains gallery in Geneve will be opening two men show featuring Kan and Gris1 from Da Mental Vaporz crew (interviewed in issue #28). “Humanity” will include 5 new paintings of each of the artist, one collaborative piece as well as a piece painted on the wall of the gallery.
The theme of this body of work created exclusively for the show are human values and the ways everyday exposure to violence is influencing them. Through their distinctive style, French artists are depicting their vision of this phenomenon. Using fat markers Kan is dotting images taken from news channels, stripping them off details and creating pixelated screenshots of mainstream media imagery. Gris1 on another hand is combining different symbols, visual languages, mediums and techniques from urban and popular art, creating collages that form emotive images about the subject. The idea of exhibition is to invite the viewer to question the issue of violence that shapes up our humanity.
Photo credit Terez (Gris1) & Nicolas Gzeley (Kan).