Street art and campaigning are age-old buddies; having gone hand in hand since their gestation and covering a range of topics, from political propaganda to raising awareness against media takeover. However one artist is bringing things a great deal closer to home alongside a slightly offbeat subject. For the past year London-based ATM has been re-inhabiting rundown areas of the capital with the ghosts of times gone by in the form of its forgotten bird species. Having recently featured in some of the big dogs of mainstream media, we put Jodie on the case to see what all the flapping was about. Excuse the pun.
“Inner Myths”, a collection of new paintings and sculptural works by Shida is a dynamic record of Shida’s development as an artist who envisions infinite worlds. Influenced by the work of Frank Frazetta, Paul Gauguin, Mikhail Vrubel and Nikolai Kalmakov, for “Inner Myths”, as Australia’s most prolific young street artist, Shida reinvokes two centuries of art history in his characteristic style. Shida is considered an asset to Australian contemporary art, who is constantly challenging himself against the sources of his inspiration.
Shida took some time out to talk about his upcoming show….
Melbourne based artist 23rd Key has just submitted two mind-blowing stencils into Australia’s ‘Archibald Prize‘. She took time to chat with Damo about how this all came about.
DW: Thanks for taking the time to chat. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, what led you to becoming a stencil artist?
23rd Key: No worries. I actually kind of fell into it- I made my first stencil when I was in high school. Being from Melbourne, stencil art was still emerging at the time, my brother knew some of the basics and taught them to me. I happened to really take to the medium though, I found the process of cutting/making stencils really cathartic and have been doing it ever since- I enjoy doing it now more than I ever have. I got to a stage where I’d made so many artworks that I decided I needed to do something with them – being an artist was never something I thought I’d be, ‘when I grew up’.
DW: Often there can be a story behind a name. Is that the case with you?
23rd Key: I struggle a lot when it comes to names, even when I used to play roller derby, I found coming up with a name harder than learning how to skate. The first show I was ever in I went under the pseudonym ‘Keys’, it was basically just because it sounds like my real last name and was my nickname for a long time. Twenty-three has been my favourite number since I can remember and is actually the date of my birth, so I kind of just put the two together. It’s a pretty poor story I guess, hopefully the work I make makes up for it.
Melbourne based Fred Fowler completed his Master of Contemporary Art in 2012, a decade after establishing himself as one of Melbourne’s pioneer street artists. Complimenting his origins in graffiti, Fowler applies a sophisticated, abstract style and a process driven approach. Visual poetics and subtle symbolism are expertly blended across his paintings, etchings, sculptures and installations. ‘In Decorating The Apocalypse’, Fowler’s debut exhibition at Backwoods Gallery, commercial iconography clashed with graffiti tribalism. For his upcoming show, ‘New Landscapes’ opening on June 20, Fred has expressed the effects of modernity and colonization across the Australian landscape. Fred kindly took some time to talk with VNAussie Damo about ‘New Landscapes’.
This is not Just Another Interview. This is an interview with Toby, head honcho of ‘Just Another Agency’. I have been lucky enough to hang out with Toby a few times and she is the hardest working person I have ever met! The scene in Melbourne would not be where it is without her contribution. Toby does. not. stop! A ‘mum’ to almost 40 artists (and a ring-in VNA contributor), Toby kindly made some time to chat….
DW: How did ‘Just Another Agency’ (JAA) come to exist?
JAT: Upon moving to Melbourne from Perth in 2007 my partner and I at the time were looking for somewhere to live and we came across what I like to describe as “a squatters hole”. It was a 2 storey building containing three rooms downstairs and four rooms upstairs along with an amazing outdoor space. When we moved into it however there was no flushing toilet or electricity upstairs. However it very quickly became home. Once moving in everything else just happened. We turned the downstairs rooms into a shop front and gallery along with an outdoor exhibition space and started supporting emerging and established local, national and international artists. Located at 696 Sydney Road, Brunswick (Victoria, Australia) we only found it fitting to call the space ’696′. However after running the gallery for three years, we decided to close taking what we loved from the space and transforming that into the agency. Just like that, ‘Just Another ‘was born.
James Reka is a young contemporary Australian artist 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. His character work has come to represent the beginnings of a new style of street art: clean, unique and not necessarily on the street (much to his mother’s joy). With an amazing show opening tomorrow night (6 June) at Backwoods Gallery, Reka took time to talk to Damo.
For the cover of VNA 26, we’ve returned to the UK to chat to a hugely influential artist and a bit of a personal hero of ours, Robert Del Naja, a character from the art world perhaps better known by his musical moniker; Massive Attack’s 3D. Featuring our first ever glitter screenprint, this is a milestone in VNA history and we’re pretty stoked with this collaboration with the Bristolian artist.
A/D Day 2 began with Feature Artists: CJ Hendry, Mr. Penfold and Meggs – I was admittedly pretty keen to see this, particularly as it was the first time I had had an opportunity to hear Meggs speak after his relocation to San Francisco. This session complemented the Next Gen session of yesterday – allowing creatives to learn what can come of hard work, sacrifice and following your dreams. These talks would have provided food for thought for a number if people in the room – CJ Hendry sold her entire wardrobe to have 12 months off work, study, everything, to pursue her dream. Now, she is killing it with a US show scheduled for later this year and sell out shows here in Australia.
In VNA 26 we’ve managed to cram in large-scale muralists, fine art, graff writers who’ve transitioned to galleries, abstract art and even some skateboarding. From London and California, to New York and Penang by way of Bristol, we’ve scoured the world to bring you a mix of awesome artists we’ve just discovered alongside some of our old favourites who haven’t yet had their time to shine in VNA.
As for the cover artist, we’ve returned to the UK to chat to a hugely influential artist and a bit of a personal hero of ours, Robert Del Naja, a character from the art world perhaps better known by his musical moniker; Massive Attack’s 3D.
After our inaugural visit to Pow! Wow! Hawaii, we made the most of our contacts there, staying in touch with Augustine Kofie and going back to dig in the crates with Buff Monster. We’ve pulled out the stops to bring you some gallery talk with Jonathan LeVine, as well as crossing over to Australia to catch up with James Jirat Patradoon and Numskull.
We also feature 10101010101010101010, or Ten Ten for short, the mystical eastern styles of Calma, London-based print wizard, Aida, and US-artist, Greg Lamarche. To keep things fresh, we’ve also gone large with Lithuanian street painter Ernest Zacharevic and a little abstract too by chatting to Icelandic mark-maker, Katrin Fridriks.
Photo features focus on London, Singapore and Los Angeles, with contributions from NoLionsInEngland, Claude Crommelin, Mark Rigney, Chasing Ghosts and Birdman.
With cover shots from the talented photographer James Sharrock, we’re stepping up our game all round and pushing the boat out with no less than 4 different covers available over the next couple of weeks.
VNA 26 Is available to buy online from www.verynearlyalmost.com or you can pick up a copy in your awesome local Newsagent – we’re now stocked at WHSmith in the UK and Barnes & Noble in the USA, as well as a whole host of smaller, independent stores.
As usual, it wouldn’t be a VNA launch without a big party to celebrate the release of the LTD Editions, and this time we have another dual-city launch in both London at Lazarides Outsiders and Bristol, at Weapon Of Choice Gallery, with delicious, beery support from our buddies at NYC’s Sixpoint Brewery.
London Launch: www.facebook.com/events/456982974436187
Bristol Launch: www.facebook.com/events/672665359467071
More information to come next week!
For further information, email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Or follow us online:
3D – Web – www.lazinc.com/artist/3d – Instagram @ROBERT3DELNAJA
James Sharrock – Facebook – /jamessharrockphotographer – Instagram – @jamessharrock_photo
Head over to our shop to grab a copy here: www.verynearlyalmost.com/shop/vna-issue-26-new/
Based in Sydney Beastman is influenced by the beauty and symbolism behind nature’s repetitive patterns and organic lines. One of the most distinctive and prolific emerging artists in Australia, one third of creative group The Hours and co-founder of East Editions, Beastman has exhibited extensively throughout Australia, as well as in the UK, USA, Germany, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
Beastman recently took time to speak to VNAussie, Damo about his upcoming show at Backwoods Gallery as well as all things Beastman…
Damo: Tell us a bit about your early years and how you got into art:
Beastman: I grew up in the Sydney suburbs, a kid obsessed with and completely immersed in skateboarding. I always had an interest in making art from a young age, was always drawing on everything and messing around with things. Through skating I got into shooting photos and making videos, just messing around whilst out on the streets skating with my friends. Then I began to develop a real interest in the art and design that was a big part of skateboarding culture, as well as all the graffiti I would see on the street. I was really into seeing how the different brands presented themselves in magazines, their deck graphics, logo designs and the way the brands collaborated with artists and photographers etc. I ended up studying graphic design after high school in the late 90s and then worked as a designer for years whilst always messing around with drawing, skate photography and painting. Then it wasn’t until around 2005 that I felt I was creating some unique artworks and actually wanted to show people what I was doing, so I began to get involved more in the local art scene and started showing work in group exhibitions etc. I had my first solo exhibition in Sydney in 2008 and then its all just kept rolling forward from there really.