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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

Headset Apparel Exhibition

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Cycling and mental health awareness project Headset open their first show, Wednesday 29th March 6pm – 9pm. The exhibition shows until Sunday 2nd April at M2 Gallery 4/450 Elizabeth St Surry Hills

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Curiot’s “Act II, Volume IV: Cascading Nebula” solo show @ BC Gallery

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Berlin’s BC Gallery recently got a massive makeover which was introduced to the public on February 25th. While setting up his latest solo show titled “Act II, Volume IV: Cascading Nebula”, Curiot painted the gallery space floor to ceiling, creating an immersive installation in which he presented his latest body of work.

The main idea of this exhibition is to take us on a surreal, futuristic journey into a parallel universe of Mexican artist’s alter ego named Xikatze. As the title suggest, this show has to be seen in a bigger context – as a part of a visualized sci-fi story which involves several exhibitions and projects. The body of work reflects the artist’s inner identification process, digging deeply into his experience with Mexican culture and it’s ancient gods and spirits . Mixing the ancient and futuristic, as well as the real and virtual, this show is opening a portal to an alternate reality filled with psychedelic imagery and colors. White Act I ended with a transcendent death-like experience for Curiot’s characters, Act II is exploring the idea of what comes after this transition. The works are showing visions of the worlds the soul could travel to, the things it might encounter or the lessons it might learn from the experience. Working in different, often traditional mediums, the show is direct result of artist’s spiritual upbringing deep in the Mayan jungle, as a part of a small tribe named “Tlaltzotl” which can be translated as “guardians of the path”.

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POW! WOW! Hawaii 2017 Photo Round Up

After touring globe and beautifying the streets of eight different cities, contemporary art initiative POW! WOW! returned to its hometown in Oahu, Hawaii for its 2017 festivities. Taking place between February 11th and the 18th, artists headed over to the Kaka’ako neighbourhood to create a bunch of new murals and installations. As much as the festival is about art, it’s also about music, community and culture.

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These images tell the story of the island life behind the murals, as well as showing some of the brightest and best artistic talent out there right now. Some images are from a trip to Papahana Kuaola, a non-profit organization in Waipao that provides aina based learning experiences focused on connecting the area’s past with a sustainable future.

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Artists from overseas this year included: Careaux, Cinta Vidal, Dan Witz, Defer, The Draculas, Drew Merritt, Evoca, Glazed Paradise, James Jean, Joram Roukes, Kevin Lyons, Maya Hayuk, Michelle Tanguay, Mr. Jago, Oakoak, OG Slick, Ouizi, PichiAvo, Shok-1, Tara McPherson, Tavar Zawacki (Above), Telmo Miel and Woes, alongside local Hawaiian artists Beak, Ckaweeks, Dak1ne, Devour, Gavin Murai, Hoven, Jasper Wong, Jeffrey Gress, Kai Kaulukukui, Kamea Hadar, Kaplan Bunce, Katch, Lucky Olelo, Maek, Mason Rose, Mung Monster, Ran Noveck, Prime, Puff, Rolando Venegas, Solomon Enos, Soker, Uglykids, Whomu and Wooden Wave.

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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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Swoon Hits Haiti!

The awesome force of nature that is Swoon headed back to Haiti to get stuck into her latest project, helping repair and rebuild the communities as part of the Konbit Shelter project. In her own words, she tells us about the work she is doing there:

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“With great joy, we have begun to build our bamboo home in Haiti. Architect Joana Torres and I arrived last week, joining forces with the team in Cormiers. There’s a lot of excitement in the air, and much to be done over the next few months.”

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KID CASH – VERY NECESSARY

German artist Christian August aka KID CASH belongs to the most active post-urban artists of his
generation. The exhibition titled VERY NECESSARY subsumes his work of the last three years and
leads to a new body of works which will be on display at Urban Spree Galerie for the first time. The
title of the exhibition refers to his work in public spaces and hints comically to the necessity of
showing these artworks in a gallery context.

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‘KEEZUS: The Second Coming’ – 23rd Key

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‘The Second Coming’ is the second part of a two part series of works entitled KEEZUS that first debuted in 2014. The body of work draws on the exploration of the human condition, utilizing the stencil art process. It explores the theme of the ego, specifically the artists ego, and experiences.

It’s a dissection of what it is to be a stencil artist and will showcase the medium in a way that has never been done before. Each work concentrates on the inner battle we have with who we are, who we are perceived to be, and how they differ.
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50 Years of Bodé Style! Cobalt 60 Augmented Reality

Mark Bodé is set to launch a new Augmented Reality Graphic Novel, based on one of Vaughn Bodé’s earliest works, Cobalt 60.

In the late Sixties, Vaughn Bodé was one of the most influential and controversial artists in publishing. Creator of such iconic characters as Cheech Wizard, Da Lizard, and Cobalt 60, Vaughn’s Eisner and Hugo award-winning artwork caught on with the early street artists of New York, as well as with underground comic and satire publishers. This included National Lampoon, who ran his Cheech Wizard strip for years.

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