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Artist profile: Mic Porter

Mic Porter is synonymous with graffiti, urban and contemporary art in Melbourne. Having been beautifying Melbourne’s streets since the early 2000’s, Mic has recently returned with a vengeance. Speaking from his new studio in Melbourne’s inner north, we took ten minutes with Mic to discover a little more.

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Damo: Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your art?

Mic: My name is Mic Porter and I am a painter and sculptor, with a background in a few other mediums as well. I have been practicing for several years and really enjoy what I do. I am based on Melbourne but have travelled quite a bit and manage to experience many cultures. More recently I lived in Auckland for three years.

I don’t exactly know how to classify my style whether or not it is a style or not. I try and jump around a little bit from being like really loose and free with my line work and then make it really tight, either way I tend to be fastidious. I mostly create figurative painting and sculpture but I’ve also done a lot of installation sculpture.

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DEAMS – ‘Transition’

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Painter, designer and geometric visionary Deams has been influencing the Melbourne street art scene for over a decade. A founding member of the infamous Melbourne collective AWOL Crew, his work can be found in both galleries and street contexts around the world.

Deams has an intuitive approach to painting and process, which allows for his work to oscillate between tangible and intangible forms and realities. He approaches his practice with a studious dedication to his past and the immediacy of his present, discovering links between the impressions of his childhood and his current ideas and experiences.

His work continues to explore aesthetic and interpersonal relationships through compositional conversations in form and texture.

Following on from his hugely successful 2016 exhibition, ‘In The Fold’, Deams returns to Backwoods for his second exhibition with the gallery. ‘Transition’ marks a further progression and sophistication of his distinctive approach to painting and abstraction. This new body of work encapsulates the seemingly chaotic yet clearly directed nature of energy and form in a state of transition.

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ALL GOOD THINGS – LAUNCH PHOTOS

A huge thanks to everyone who came down last night for the show opening!

It was great to see so many familiar faces and so much love and support for VNA.

Massive thanks to all the artists who contributed to the show – 45RPM, AJ FOSIK, ARYZ, BLEK LE RAT, C215, CAM SCALE, CHLOE EARLY, CONOR HARRINGTON, CYRCLE, D*FACE, DAN KITCHENER, DAVE WHITE, DAVID SHILLINGLAW, EELUS, EINE, ELK (LUKE CORNISH), ERMSY, FAILE, FINTAN MAGEE, GAIA, GEORGIA HILL, GHOSTPATROL (DAVID BOOTH), HERAKUT, INKIE, INSA, INVADER, JAMES JEAN, JOE HOLBROOK, KID ACNE, LISTER, M-CITY (MARIUSZ WARAS), MOBSTR, MR JAGO, MYSTERIOUS AL, NIELS ‘SHOE’ MEULMANN, PAUL INSECT, REMI ROUGH, RONE, RONZO, RUFUS DAYGLO, SHEPARD FAIREY (OBEY), SICKBOY, STENDEC, STEVE CROSS, TOASTER, THE LONDON POLICE, TILT, TIZER, TODD FRANCIS, TOM FRENCH, TRISTAN EATON (TRUSTO CORP), VHILS, WILL BARRAS

Bidding is well underway and we look forward to raising thousands for Macmillan Cancer Support. All items are available for worldwide shipping, tracked and insured, but we cannot calculate this until we have the winning bidder’s details so please don’t be put off by misleading info on the listings! Hit us up with any questions – info@verynearlyalmost.com or via artFido

All items are up online here and bidding closes at 12 midday Monday 1st May (GMT):

www.artfido.com/vnamagazine

Special shout outs to the Macmillan Cancer Support team, Eve, Jay and Lauren at StolenSpace, the superhuman Andy Vasy for his stellar work getting the work on the walls, Simon at Luardos for the delicious tacos, James Grant for shooting these great pics below, Soffles for providing tasty snacks and the legends from Sailor Jerry for pumping out wicked cocktails all night long.

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ALL GOOD THINGS

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As the saying goes, ALL GOOD THINGS must come to an end and, after 10 amazing years, Very Nearly Almost Magazine is shutting up shop.

Finishing on a high that has seen the front cover graced by some of the brightest stars of the contemporary art world, including D*Face, Invader, Shepard Fairey, Futura, Swoon, Martha Cooper and more, the team behind VNA have made the difficult decision to draw this chapter to a close with an exhibition and forthcoming book.

In celebration of the incredible people that have made the magazine what it is, VNA are presenting their 10th Anniversary group show with some of the team’s favourite featured artists. 50+ artists make up this hand-picked selection of the world’s top talent, showing in one of East London’s longest-running contemporary urban art institutions, StolenSpace Gallery.

Showcasing work from all over the world, ‘ALL GOOD THINGS’ is comprised of original artworks, exclusive artist proofs and hand-finished prints from some of the leading international artists – artists who have helped shape the scene as we know it today. The VNA team has also assembled a tailored collection of some of the brightest new painters making waves across the globe.

The exhibition is all up for grabs, with artwork auctioned off on artFido and all proceeds from the auction sales donated to Macmillan Cancer Support. Bidding will begin at midday Thursday 27th April, closing at midnight on Sunday 30th April at:

www.artfido.com/vnamagazine

On the opening night, our VNA Newsstand will be bursting with back stock, including tees, stickers and other goodies – all at bargain prices. Hidden in amongst the stand, there will be a complete set of the VNA archive, from 1 to 35, available to buy from our private collection, including limited edition PP’s – strictly one archival item per person to keep things fair!

As with anything VNA-related, there will of course be a drink or two. Our friends at Sailor Jerry have kindly furnished us with a choice of delicious bespoke spiced rum cocktails and a deuce of their finest mixologists.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll be providing some of the lovely Soffle’s Pitta Chips to soak up some of the booze and giving away over a hundred free tacos from Luardos – served from Insa’s hand-painted taco truck.

The show opens for public viewing from 6-9pm Thursday 27th April and daily until the 30th April 11am-7pm at: StolenSpace Gallery, 17 Osborn St, London E1 6TD

Artists include:

45RPM, AJ FOSIK, ARYZ, BLEK LE RAT, C215, CAM SCALE, CHLOE EARLY, CONOR HARRINGTON, CYRCLE, D*FACE, DAN KITCHENER, DAVE WHITE, DAVID SHILLINGLAW, EELUS, EINE, ELK / LUKE CORNISH, ERMSY, FAILE, FINTAN MAGEE, GAIA, GEORGIA HILL, GHOSTPATROL (DAVID BOOTH), HERAKUT, INSA, INVADER, JAMES JEAN, JOE HOLBROOK, KID ACNE, LISTER, M-CITY / MARIUSZ WARAS, MOBSTR, MR JAGO, MYSTERIOUS AL, NIELS ‘SHOE’ MEULMANN, PAUL INSECT, REMI ROUGH, RONE, RONZO, RUFUS DAYGLO, SHEPARD FAIREY (OBEY), SICKBOY, STENDEC, STEVE CROSS, TOASTER, THE LONDON POLICE, TILT, TIZER, TODD FRANCIS, TOM FRENCH, TRISTAN EATON (TRUSTO CORP), VHILS, WILL BARRAS

Bom.K – ‘Effets Secondaires’ Solo Show (Paris)

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Four years after his last solo show in Paris, featured graffiti artist Bom.K  from the DMV crew is returning to Paris for a solo show entitled Effects Secondaires (Side Effects) at Galerie Itinerrance opening on April 21st. The title of the exhibition refers to the sensations we managed to grasp from an artwork after enjoying the technique and subject. In addition, it also refers to one of the works in wood bearing the same name on the subject of overconsumption and the exhaustion of natural resources.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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Blek Le Rat – ‘Ratical’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).
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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

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