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VNA Issue 35 – OUT NOW!

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VNA has grown from it’s humble beginnings as a free black and white zine with the help and support of people like D*Face –who enabled the distribution of the mag at his StolenSpace gallery way back when it first started ten years ago. So it’s only fitting that 10 years on he features on the front cover – shot by Shamil Tanna – for the second time.

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The latest issue is out now and available to buy online before it hits stores next week right hurrr:
www.verynearlyalmost.com/shop/vna-issue-35

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Inside Issue 35, you can see the philthy skills of Phill Blake, the gravity defying work of Spanish artist Cinta Vidal and the awesome muralism of Canadian young blood, Jarus.

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Also featured is the Japanese skate punk legend, Haroshi, giving an insight into the recycled skateboard sculptures he makes with heart and soul, and Croatian painter Lonac.

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From the Antipodes comes work from Japan-based Aussie artist, Mark Drew, with his blend of hip hop and remixed rap quotes over Peanuts paintings, alongside Melbourne-based Cam Scale, bringing a homegrown history of his life growing up in the bush.

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Great Dane Søren Solkær gives a look through the lens into music photography and artist portraiture and Floridian Tatiana Suarez highlights her local background and a glimpse into the world of her haunting characters.

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Last but not least are Shepard Fairey – return of one of our previous cover stars to give the lowdown on some highlights and milestones of his career – and Wayne White – master of puppets and tongue in cheek painter, fresh off the back of his latest epic show, Wayne-O-Rama, in his hometown of Chattanooga.

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www.verynearlyalmost.com/shop/vna-issue-35

A woman in a man’s game – Ashes57

In a subculture dominated by men, a female street artist defies all convention by getting properly paid and getting good attention.

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In a cobblestone street in Bethnal Green, a series of wooden doors painted in plain pistachio colour line the sidewalk, keeping the mirror-like aesthetic of terraced houses clean and intact. You get to the end of the row and suddenly a surprise: a pitch-black door emerges with white strips reminiscent of tall buildings glistening with city lights.

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‘Onwards & Inwards’ – Kitt Bennett

‘Onwards & Inwards’, Kitt Bennett’s latest solo exhibition explores sensations of life and consciousness. This series of small and large works on paper aims to create meaning in what we perceive to be unrelated phenomena around us. Bennett is driven to explore how our possessions inform our individuality, and of how our internal and external worlds connect. In this series, Bennett uses his trademark illustrative comic style, in an attempt to maintain a playful balance between both the humorous and the darkly thought provoking aspects of our existence.

Bennett uses his illustrative style of storytelling in an attempt to maintain a playful balance between both the humorous and the darkly thought provoking aspects of our existence.

Can you introduce yourself, and talk a little about how you got to where you are?

My name’s Kitt. I’m an artist/illustrator working out of Juddy Roller studios.
Since completing a Bachelor of Illustration I have worked as a freelance illustrator dabbling in animation.
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‘Freshly Sliced’ – Amac

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Amac is a Melbourne based artist, that explores the idea of life – whether that be fruits or creating his own beings. Through the use of mixed media – Amac sets out to explore the beauty in the every day things that inspire creation.

Opening this Friday at Melbourne’s Lane’s End ‘Freshly Sliced’ brings to life the fruits of travel. These pieces have been inspired via the buffet fruit selections throughout Asia. Fruit is natures way of spreading life – making the seeds so delicious they had to be eaten and spread. The works look at how nature inserts its own patterns within the grown beauty of fruits. Now that Spring has come; it’s time to see the plants bare the fresh fruits of the new season.

We hit up Amac for the down low on his show.

Can you introduce yourself, and talk a little about how you got to where you are?

My moniker is Amac and I grew up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I started in graffiti back in 2008 painting pieces, however I realised pretty quick that I wasn’t that good at letterform and was suggested by a mate to try paint characters instead. After studying a diploma of visual art a few years back I was looking to merge my character based works with what I had learned during that period; which was to paint realism with oil paints.

Unfortunately my characters were’t fitting into the heavy conceptual art that school was wanting from me and I went back onto the street to paint, rather than on canvas. Shortly after that I ended up painting with Ohnoes & Chehehe through a mutual friends internet cafe and from that day I was hanging out at The Artshole. I have now been apart of The Artshole studio for just over four years. It’s all been a lot of trials, errors and experimentation!

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Movember – LING

The Movember Foundation is the only global charity solely focused on men’s health. They raise funds that deliver innovative, breakthrough research and support programs to enable men to live happier, healthier and longer lives.

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Awareness and fundraising activities are run year-round by the Foundation where they encourage men to become more aware of their health, talk more with their friends and be more active, improving their health and wellbeing. The annual Movember campaign in November is globally recognised for its fun, disruptive approach to fundraising and getting men to take action for their health.

Since Movember started in Melbourne in 2003, millions have joined the movement, raising $770 million and funding more than 1,200 projects focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide prevention.

Melbourne artist Ling recently hit Melbourne’s Hosier Lane to paint Movember ambassador Kirk Pengilly and raise awareness for this very important cause.

Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Ling – ID / GH.

Principally I am a graffiti writer, although increasingly find myself looking at any and all creative outlets as possibilities to further myself and my output.

Why do you do what you do?

I’ve always found the painting and the creative process as something that has kept my mind on a level playing field. When I can’t paint for a period of time I start to get anxious or when I’m in a negative head space I always find that painting is a steadying influence. In that respect it’s therapeutic.

Recently I’ve been painting otherwise worthless objects gold to generate the perception of value. Historically gold has always had an allure that attracts people. Where you may have walked passed something everyday without a second thought, it suddenly compels you to stop, comment, photograph, share etc. whilst the object in question is still completely worthless, destined to be left to the elements or hauled away to be destroyed. It’s interesting seeing how this changes the way people interact / perceive with what is otherwise rubbish and mundane.

I’ve also been painting more and more character based pieces based on bygone childhood figures from the 80’s and 90’s. Icons that represent something that is now seen as cheesy, outdated and playing on that by adding equally cheesy details in speed dealer sunnies and 80’s graphics. It’s always entertaining to do produce serious paintings using subjects that are deemed comical and share with a wider audience.

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Can you tell us a little about your piece for Movember and the inspiration behind it?

The Movember piece came about through a chance connection with the organisation. My family has been impacted by both testicular and prostate cancer, so I jumped at the chance to get involved and offer my services to create something unique that would assist the cause in raising awareness around cancer and mens health.

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What does the Movember campaign mean to you?
My family has been impacted by both Testicular and Prostate Cancer. Both scenarios had outcomes that were as positive as can be. The mitigating factor in both instances was a proactive approach to health. Insisting that GP’s perform the relevant tests and taking the necessary steps to investigate physical / mental changes means I still have a dad, a brother and that my niece and nephew still have a father and grandfather. If my piece for the Movember mural helps further the campaign message then I’m more than happy to be involved.

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Where can people go to find out more or to help?
Movember.com

What else can we expect to see from you for the rest of 2016 or moving into 2017?
Produce more. Bigger. Better.

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@LingerID

‘Visual Disobedience’ – a Q&A with Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey’s most recent career survey, ‘Visual Disobedience’, is currently on show in Hong Kong thanks to the HOCA Foundation. Our man in Australia, Damo, went to Hong Kong to check out the show and had a one on one with the man himself.

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Shepard Fairey “Peace Dove (Red)” 2012. Mixed Media (Stencil, Silkscreen, and Collage) on Canvas. Copyright Shepard Fairey / OBEY GIANT ART. Courtesy of HOCA Foundation. 

Damo: This is your first career survey being held in Hong Kong. Why Hong Kong and can you explain the concept of the show a little bit?

Shepard: It’s my first career survey in Hong Kong; this will be my 5th museum show. The reason this is happening here in Hong Kong is because the people behind the HOCA Foundation are fans of my work and have collected my work. They asked me over a year ago if I would be willing to put together a career survey and come over here and do some mural projects because they understood that outdoor art is really is important to me. We discussed my schedule and what art I would need to borrow from collectors versus what they had and things that I would have to provide for my own archive. There are 290 pieces of work in the show. So it’s a lot of work.

What’s exciting to me is I think Hong Kong is a really fascinating place in that it’s this hybrid of Asian and Western cultures, and this is my third trip here. I was here in 2000 and did a lot of street art here and worked with some guys who had a gallery and a magazine and did some streetwear. I was back in 2006 for some more street art and clothing projects. This trip I’m getting to do clothing projects, public artworks that are more permanent, this museum show and my usual street art. So in a way this is I think is the trip that embodies every aspect of my practice and philosophy. So that’s why I’m excited about here.

I think it’s important for people to understand both the evolution and the consistency of my work. A big concept of my work is repetition of certain motifs so there is accumulative effect but also that I address things that are happening in the world; current events and my style evolves. So what I like with this show is that you can see from the very beginning to the present through the different pieces that are here. That is a real privilege to get to share with an audience because most people experience my work in a very fragmented way.

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Installation View, Visual Disobedience at the Pulse, Hong Kong. Presented by HOCA Foundation. Copyright Shepard Fairey / OBEY GIANT ART. Courtesy of HOCA Foundation. 

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‘The Games We Play’ – Ohnoes

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Growing up in Melbourne in the mid-late 90’s and inspired by the tags gracing the surfaces of the southern suburbs, it wasn’t long before Ohnoes was out writing letters. Realising his crew need a character guy, his childhood experience drawing his favourite basketball players allowed him quickly transition and fill this void. Many ‘charros’ later and Ohnoes’ love of portraiture was prevalent.

Inspired by the likes of Rone, Mike Giant, Ken Taylor and Ben Brown, Ohnoes has developed a unique portraiture style, painting his detail to reflect a refined spray can feel. This style, inclusive of overspray, gives the work a reflection of his graffiti background.

In ‘The Games We Play’, Ohnoes presents 15 mixed media works (acrylic and aerosol), on canvas, paper and salvaged basketball court. Known for his obsession with basketball, Ohnoes has combined this with his love of beautiful women, having realised that his best art is created when the subject is one which he is passionate about and has meaning to him.

‘The Games We Play’ is an ‘open and honest story of Ohnoes and delves into what makes him tick; an opportunity to view his debut show and first complete body of work exploring themes of obsession, rejection, yearning, curiosity and desire.

“Beautiful women intrigue me. From an outside point of view it appears that they have everything easier, but I feel like that life would be harder; they have to judge people on how and what level they perceive them, not on just face value alone.”

In the lead up to the show, Damo went a visited Ohnoes at his beloved group studio – ‘The Arts Hole’ to find out a little more about the man of the moment.

Can you introduce yourself, and talk a little about how you got to where you are?

Ohnoes: When I was young, like most people, I was pretty into art. I always drew like my childhood favourite basketball players like Shaq and Charles Barkley. Through a variety of influences my focus was shifted towards graffiti. I became very active and consumed by my love for the art form.

I kind of got burnt when I was about 18 and I stopped for a while. Then Ironlak came out and then everyone kind of started painting; it was kind of getting embraced. Me and Chehehe just started playing around with this new paint and we were like, “Fuck, these colours are awesome!” We just kind of went in head first and next thing you know, we were starting up a studio and as the studio started flourishing, our art started to get more focused. Five years later, here we are, That’s the story!

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Spencer Keeton-Cunningham – FAREWELL SAN FRANCISCO : A 12 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE AT HERON ARTS

Spencer Keeton Cunningham – FAREWELL SAN FRANCISCO : A 12 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE AT HERON ARTS

Born in 1983, Spencer Keeton Cunningham grew up in Portland skateboarding and painting from a very young age. Cunningham graduated from the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute. After leaving San Francisco in 2014, the prolific artist began working from the road on a self proclaimed permanent painting tour which took him all over the world including the North and South Island of New Zealand, Tasmania, Melbourne, Sydney, and the outback of Australia. Other countries Cunningham has exhibited and painted in include China, Japan, Ontario, British Columbia, the Yukon, Mexico, The Netherlands, Cuba, Tasmania, Hong Kong, Alaska, The United States, and Hawaii. Coming back to San Francisco to exhibit frequently, Cunningham has remained on tour for over 29 months and is now forced to pack his things and go. – Heron Arts

This is Cunningham’s first ever solo exhibition in San Francisco. Along with his solo works, there will be paintings for sale from his close friends, painting collaborators and roommates: Erlin Geffrard aka Kid Kreyola, Daisy Ortiz, and their son Daylin Geffrard. The four lived together in their house in San Francisco for numerous years and exhibited frequently in San Francisco and abroad, notably in 2013 at the Wenying Highland Art Museum in Guangzhou, China.

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Outside the Box – Jack Douglas

Outside the box finishes this Saturday, with its grand opening on Friday night. Head on down to check the completed works. Details here.

We caught up with Jack Douglas, to find out all about his OTB experience.

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Who are you and what do you do? Why art?
My Name’s Jack Douglas and I’m a tattooist and artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Being creative is the only thing I’ve ever enjoyed, so progressing into a creative career was the only logical step.

Why ‘Outside the Box’? What does being involved in an event like this mean to you?
I think for me it was more interesting to be inside the fish bowl looking out at the other incredible work being made or having been made. Having so many people coming from a variety of different disciplines being placed on such a level playing field was both intriguing and terrifying.

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Outside the Box – Resio

Next up at Outside the Box is Resio!

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Who are you and what do you do – why art?

I’m Resio, I am a urban artist.

Art has consumed me and is the best and worst thing that has ever happen in my life! I’ve been drawing since I can remember – I can’t help but create. I’m glad it’s what I love doing as it;s a good outlet of expression and also keeps me evolving. I’m constantly thinking and obsessing about what I’m going to paint next – I paint a bunch of different styles, everything from photorealism, letters, characters and I’m always looking to keep it interesting and challenging.

I have been painting non-stop for the past few years and I don’t see it changing. I mostly paint murals, and canvases.

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