Archive / Graffiti

RSS feed for this section

Luke Cornish – A Traveller in Wartime

Prize-winning Australian stencil artist Luke Cornish, aka E.L.K recently showed his exhibition of Syrian-inspired artworks, ‘Road to Damascus’ at Sydney art gallery Nanda/Hobbs Contemporary. For over a decade, Cornish has created artwork in the public eye that forces the viewer to reflect on their thoughts and actions and the impact their lives have on others.

Turning over the soil on perceptions of race, religion, conflict and the human condition, Cornish echoes the sentiments of American singer Bruce Springsteen, considering it his job as an artist to ‘observe and report’.

aleppo 7

Cornish extends his social commentary across borders and boundaries, with his work often taking him to the worlds most troubled and troubling places. In June 2016, Cornish traveled through Syria with Sydney’s Anglican Church Reverend Dave Smith, on his ‘Boxers for Peace’ mission. The life-changing journey brought him insights into the lives and stories of the people he encountered.

Despite the poverty and plight of the war-ravaged civilization, Cornish was able to experience first-hand the hope, generosity and defiant positivity of the people of Syria. Taking these reflections back and pouring them into his work, Cornish was then invited to return to Syria to exhibit the show at the Damascus Opera House.

fanning out, allepo

Set on returning to the country, Cornish set about collecting donations for art supplies in Australia for his work with the children of Syria, but in doing so, found he encountered issues with PayPal obstructing any contributions with the label ‘Syria’ or ‘Syrian’ attached. His visit to the area wasn’t without incident either, as he found himself arrested in the wrong area at gunpoint, without the correct papers for his visit. However, the experience has left him un-jaded as to the warmth and humanity of the ordinary people he met along the way.

Continue Reading →

Blek Le Rat – ‘Ratical’

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 7.59.32 PM

Vertical Gallery celebrates their four year anniversary with Blek le Rat, the founder of the international stencil art movement. The exhibition “Ratical” opens on Saturday April 1, 6:00 – 10:00pm. The artist will be in attendance.

Blek Le Rat (Xavier Prou) was born in Paris, France in 1951. Considered one of the originators of the European street art movement, Blek le Rat inspired hundreds of artists around the world with his stenciled style. He is frequently cited as a major influence of artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey; and through his work in Paris he established a style of urban art that quickly spread through Europe and the United States.

Blek describes his early work as apolitical, explaining that he just wanted a way to stand out and to free himself from the feeling of anonymity caused by living in a major city. He was one of the first people to use stencils to make public art on the street using icons instead of writing his name. He started decorating the streets of Paris in 1981 with a rat stencil, hoping to create an invasion of rats – “the only free animal in the city”, while creating a style that would suit Paris and not copy the American style. His street name is said to originate from a childhood cartoon “Blek Le Roc”, also using “rat” as an anagram for “art”.

He studied fine art and architecture at Beaux-Arts in Paris, graduating in 1982. Before his graduation, Prou visited New York City and developed a fascination with the city’s graffiti and street art. “To me, the most interesting aspect of street art is the constant opportunities to be surprised and/or amazed. I lose interest when something becomes routine”.

Blek has created street art around the world, and has had exhibitions in Paris, London, New York, Milan, Melbourne, San Francisco, Munich, and Los Angeles.

Blek le Rat – “Ratical”
April 1 – 29, 2017
Opening reception with artist, Saturday, April 1, 6:00 – 10:00 pm.
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N Western Ave., Chicago

@blekleratoriginal

PORNO!

Melbourne is known worldwide for its graffiti, and has many crews with a number of big names. One of these names is PORNO. Having recently dropped his very first print, we thought it best to catch the man from his lair at Everfresh Studio to get the low down.

Creditp1xels-3E7A8465
photo: p1xels

Damo: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Porno: Sure. I write Porno… ISO, CDF, LED, STD, 321, ADC, INN, WS4, WSO, ID.

I’ve been writing graff for 22 years. I started painting in 1994. My painting was originally influenced directly through hip-hop, older friends, older brothers and the people I hung out with as a hyperactive kid.

I pretty much started DJing, B-Boying, trying to MC and was part of the start a crew called “ISO” which was a hip-hop crew. Many years later that I was only really interested in painting graff. I ended up working in signage and doing a design degree. From there on I decided I wanted to get into my own signage biz because it was the most relevant thing to painting at the time for me. I had worked for numerous signage companies, became a production manager, and became really interested in production, manufacturing and technology which changed a lot of my perception of my art and my processes.

Painting is how I first I started to intertwine with people of the culture. At one point I stepped away from painting all together for a couple of years (around 2006 or 2007). I got back into it around 2008-2009 when I decided I would set up my own signage business. I met with all the guys from ‘Per Square Metre’ and got back into graffiti painting with more positive people and a fresh outlook. I ended up setting up another separate studio after ‘Per Square Metre’ ended called ‘Safe House Studio’ where it was a similar sort of vein; a heap of graffiti artists and artists who ran their own businesses from there and worked together on numerous creative projects, murals etc. The studio got its title from a police raid which occurred within the first month of opening. One of the transit police officers claimed it was a graffiti safe house!

Eventually that closed down and I moved in at the Everfresh Studio, still running my signage business. Here, I’m surrounded by all these amazing paintings and people who are proactive enough to do what they want to do. It’s invigorating and essentially it’s really motivating.

3E7A2763
photo: p1xels

Continue Reading →

MAYO – STAR LYRIC THEATRE

Late in 2016, Rone held his solo show ‘Empty’ in Melbourne’s old Lyric Theatre, the last event to be shown there prior to demolition. Between finishing the show and returning the keys, Rone invited a select few into the space to collaborate and beautify the theatre a little more prior to the wrecking ball.

One of these artists, Mayonaize, internationally renowned tattooist and calligraffiti extraordinaire painted and documented a mandala filling the entire floor space. He documented this entire process through both film and photography. Damo went down to Everfresh Studios to chat with Mayo about this project.

Damo: Could we initially start by you introducing yourself and talk a little bit about you background and your artistic practice?

Mayo: I am known as ‘Mayo’ or ‘Mayonaize, my backgrounds are in both graffiti and tattooing. I am basing everything these days off of more calligraphic approach and trying to push that lettering thing as far as I can. At the same time I am trying to not to pigeon hole myself, but it doesn’t seem to be working. It could be a bad thing… I’m not sure.

Creditp1xels-3E7A8844
Credit: p1xels

Damo: Why Mayo or Mayonaize?

Mayo: I was desperate for a new graffiti word. I used to write any words – words that had meanings or connotations I didn’t necessarily want to be tied to later on down the track. When I thought about it I realised that I didn’t want to get stuck with some word like ‘snake’ or something. I feel that some people have got words that don’t suit them. I watched the film ‘Style Wars’ and Duster said, ‘Graffiti, it’s like a game, it’s like here are your letters go do something with it.’ It really stuck with me. I came across the word Mayo thought I’d try make something out of it. It just turned out that ‘mayo’ was a funny word to use in graffiti, I kind of liked the word and the sound of it. Then I did an exhibition and this was how I was going to stop the cops from catching me, I was like ‘I will just call myself ‘Mayonnaise’.

So then it just turned into ‘Mayonnaise’. Instagram came along and I used ‘Z’, because ‘Mayonnaise’ wasn’t available. I kind of keep Mayonaize for the legal stuff I do and ‘Naise’ for keeping them them off my scent (laughs).
Continue Reading →

ALL BIG LETTERS

Curated by Vandalog Editor-in-chief RJ Rushmore on the 50th anniversary of modern graffiti, ALL BIG LETTERS approaches the medium as fundamentally entangled with its tools. Investigating graffiti as a site of stylistic innovation where the sense of place, the excitement of sport, and the search for fame intersect, the exhibition considers primary yet lingering questions about the medium: Why does graffiti look like that, and why is it on my wall? ALL BIG LETTERS suggests that every aspect of graffiti can be understood as an effort to maximize reputation through novel uses of instruments and other innovations.

Video Produced by Peter English
Archival Video of Jordan Seiler by Aymann Ismail / Courtesy of Slate Magazine
Smart Fools Video by Smart Crew
Music by Watermark High

Continue Reading →

DEATH & DISSECTION: A STUDY WITH NYCHOS – Sydney and Melbourne Workshops

Austrian urban art and graffiti illustrator Nychos has been part of the international art scene for more than 15 years now. He is well known for his huge and technically outstanding art pieces in the urban environment as well as being part of gallery exhibitions.

Recent murals in San Francisco, Miami and New York make him one of the most sought-after artists. Nychos’ paintings and drawings have been exhibited in galleries worldwide, including several solo exhibitions (e.g. Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York, Julian Kolly Gallery in Zurich, Open Space in Paris). The works on canvas serve as unique compliments to his massive public works that give character to cities all over the world.

Raised in a traditional Austrian hunting family, death and dissection were daily business for Nychos. The proximity to animal viscera had a profound effect on him visually. He explores the theme in different styles like dissection, cross section and translucency – pushing it to playful extremes.

Nychos returns to Australia after 10 years and will be presenting a WorkShop in Sydney and Melbourne. During the class Nychos will teach spray can techniques, how to paint translucency, give insight in his coloring concepts and will talk about 3D sculpturing techniques.

This workshop is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the world’s most celebrated artists.

Workshop will also be offering viewings of ‘The Deepest Depths of the Burrow’ with tickets and details here.

‘Make Yourself at Home’ – Goodie

‘Make Yourself at Home’, a solo exhibition by Melbourne based artist Goodie, explores notions of comfort, safety and routine – ideas commonly associated with ‘home’.

Processes are perpetually underway to render things familiar, form habits and configure certainties, in order for us to feel comfortable. We are continually coming to terms with the relationship between our bodies, other’s bodies and the space we inhabit, which function in a way as secondary bodies.

Nevertheless, what is familiar is only a recurring strangeness. ‘Make Yourself at Home’ considers the curious relationship between the mundane and the bizarre. The recognisable is married with abstract, private with public, inside with outside, while ideas and mediums reverberate within each other and happen simultaneously on multiple levels. The show is a pattern of hypotheticals and realities, incorporating installation, painting, works on objects, objects in works, works on works, works on paper, collaborative noise works and poetry.

We sat with Goodie in the lead up to her show….

3E7A4811
photo: p1xels

Damo: Can we just start with you introducing yourself and a little bit about who you are?

Goodie: Hello I’m Goodie… Who am I? I’m predominantly a painter I suppose. But I also work in installation and a bit in film, poetry, illustration, anything. I’m just a human being.

Damo: What’s your background?

Goodie: I’m originally from Canberra however I was born in California. I lived there for the first 2 years of my life. I then grew up in Canberra and moved to Melbourne about 3 years ago.

Damo: What was it like growing up in Canberra?

Goodie: It was good. I always thought it was a good place to grow up. A lot of time to just walk around and the legal wall system in Canberra is unlike any other state. In Canberra there are around 25 legal walls, so there are heaps of places where you can go to paint. But I think the main thing is it’s just really easygoing. You walk down the street and you bump into a bunch of friends. I found coming to Melbourne was a bit like a sensory overload.

3E7A4829
photo: p1xels

Continue Reading →

Girl Power – Melbourne Screening

Girl Power is a documentary that presents female graffiti writers from fifteen cities – from Prague to Moscow, Cape Town, Sydney, Biel, Madrid, Berlin, Toulouse, Barcelona and all the way to New York. The graffiti community is predominantly a man’s world, and men often share the view that graffiti – namely the illegal kind – is not for girls. And yet women have become increasingly more emancipated in recent years; there are female graffiti shows, magazines and websites. Girl Power captures the stories of ladies who have succeeded in the male graffiti world.

However, Girl Power is more than just a look into the graffiti microcosm; it tells the moving story of Czech writer Sany, who decided in 2009 to capture female emancipation in graffiti on film and to give other girls and women the possibility to express themselves. It took her 7 long years to complete the documentary. We follow her life with graffiti, her motivation and values that keep changing as the years go by. We will also meet her family, who are absolutely unaware of Sany’s “second life”. Sany sacrifices a lot for the film, but even when she’s at the end of her tether, she refuses to give up on her dream – to make the very first movie depicting females in graffiti.

Melbourne Screening details:
Friday 24th February @ Grumpy’s – 125th Smith Street, Fitzroy
6pm-1am
Movie starts at 8.30-10pm
10-1am Live acts

TICKETS: Early Bird $10 / GA $13 / Door fee $15
TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/girl-power-movie-screening-melbourne-tickets-30711814865

Martha Cooper x VNA Limited Edition Box Set!

It’s been a long time coming… We’ve chased Martha from New York to Berlin, Miami to South America and finally, we are proud to bring you the Martha Cooper x VNA Limited Edition box set.

vna_34_limited1

We’ve sourced paper, run test prints and bounced proofs back and forth over the course of 6 months to produce an amazingly detailed black & white screen-print of one of Martha’s photos on the cover of issue 34.

vna_34_limited5

It’s taken us a while to confirm all the components of this set (an edition of /150) – from the special signature camera pin badge, to the screen-printed cover and lovingly signed photo prints – and both ours and Martha’s quality control has been super high throughout – there is even an exclusive list included in each set with caption details of each of Martha’s images in the magazine.

vna_34_limited3

We’d like to thank Martha publicly for her assistance and co-operation throughout this lengthy and difficult process, as well as special shouts to Louis @ Spraying Bricks, Nina @Joshua Liner Gallery, Rik @ Ripe Digital and Joshua @ White Duck Screen Print – without whom this would not have come together.

vna_34_limited2

So now, the wait is over, the prints are signed, the sets are numbered and the boxes are packed and they are finally available to buy exclusively, online, from 2pm GMT time today.

martha-cooper-print-sign

Get your set before they disappear!

vna_34_limited4

Martha Cooper photograph courtesy of Susan Welchman.

Unwell Bunny – ‘ Super Psychology’

ub-sp-invite

Urban contemporary artist Unwell Bunny (also known as Ed Bechervaise) opens his new exhibition ‘Super Psychology’ in January 13th 2017 at Besser Space in Melbourne.

A study into the American psyche, the body of work takes part over two time periods. From 6 weeks travelling through New York, LA, San Francisco with observations of American fast food psychology.

And then a second part series, in Melbourne seeing these works for a second time with the figurative edge of the female form.

Its a suggestive dichotomy between the past subconscious experience and the present observational one occurs and takes the viewer into a contemporary lifestyle setting. Whilst still experiencing bursts of subliminal psychology as the American infused imagery punctures the background.

Ed has shown his work in Amsterdam, New York and most recently a solo show in Paris. With its global sensibility and edgy urban undertones, Ed’s motivations are both to be pleasing aesthetically while also disruptive emotionally, triggering questions in the viewer, which is both inward and outwardly focused. A super psychology of self-discovery.

In the lead up to the show, opening Friday 13 January 2017, Ed took some time with our boy in Melbourne, Damo, to chat about all things Unwell.

unwell-bunny-true-conflict-2016

Can you introduce yourself, and explain how you came to be where you are now?

Unwell Bunny: I’m Unwell Bunny (also known as Ed Bechervaise). My art story starts in Adelaide in Australia, I was a graffiti artist early on. I did some art study in Adelaide then I moved to Melbourne. In Melbourne I discovered ‘street art’ it was new and exciting, I started following it, and then got into it myself. Over time my graffiti back ground and street art interest has merged. I’m investigating neo cubism and am creating pop expressionism; it’s a bit of a departure from direct graffiti influences but I still use mediums from my graffiti days and will almost certainly always be part of the genre.

Continue Reading →