Over 60 internationally recognised street & visual artists including Hyuro, Escif, David De La Mano and Robert Montgomery have taken part in the world’s first coordinated ad takeover in 12 countries as part of #SubvertTheCity – a week of creative action that saw artists and the public imagining a world beyond consumerism. The artworks installed in advertising spaces share images and ideas of hope & solidarity in order to challenge the politics of fear and division that is gripping western societies.
Street artist Kaff-eine and her cheeseagle team created an onsite art installation as much-needed shelter with two notorious dumpsite slum communities in Manila, Philippines. The global premiere of their ‘Happyland’ documentary and exhibition will be held at the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival in Melbourne, May 2017 Kaff-eine and her international team reunited with two notorious and impoverished dumpsite communities of Baseco and Happyland, Manila, creating and installing a collection of ‘art tarpaulins’ that featured Kaff-eine’s portraits of 10 community personalities. The resulting open-air exhibition celebrated the communities, while also providing them with much-needed resources for shelter.
Melbourne based ink recycler’s Lousy Ink are hosting their first group exhibition, ‘Lousy Show’, which will celebrate local talent, featuring over 40 creatives.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
Back in Australia after couple of years, Reka is enjoying summer in his homeland but also, working on some new murals down under – he spent the beginning of the year participating in a mural program by Melbourne Polytechnic, which included a massive makeover of their Prahran campus.
For this project, Reka picked Aussie-oriented imagery, creating 2 large bird-focused pieces. Depicting the infamous Kookaburra and Rosella birds, symbols of Australian fauna, these large paintings are slightly less abstract than his recent works we’ve seen. Wrapping them both in rich floral compositions, the artist picked the earthy tones from the outback to create these works. Using signature geo-based forms to patch up the final images, both 5 story pieces are great examples of Reka’s flawless spray-paint maneuvering skills. Along with these pieces, the project produced new works by other Australian urban artists such as Makatron and Cam Scale, Sofles, Guido Van Helten, George Rose, etc.
‘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….
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.
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
Movie starts at 8.30-10pm
10-1am Live acts
TICKETS: Early Bird $10 / GA $13 / Door fee $15
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.
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.