Tag Archives: Post-Graffiti Pacific

‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ – Berst

In the final episode of our ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ series, we chat with Berst. Instilled with the working-class ethics of his Chinese family, Berst has applied his full energy and dedication into his passions, education and the evolution of graffiti letter styles. After completing his Masters Degree in Education in 2014, his attention to his students and himself as an Urban Contemporary artist have organically become his new lease on life. Incorporating both his worlds into his innovative and current teaching programs for tertiary institution Unitec, his outreach amongst students and youth have made him highly popular. Having immigrated to New Zealand as a child, Berst’s current post-graffiti works explore the commonalities of Chinese and Maori mythologies using bold and intense illustrations and symbolisms.

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Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of Post-Graffiti Pacific?
Berst: Over the past fourteen years my art practice has been situated within the exploration of graffiti and lettering. I’ve always had an interest in other art forms such as illustration, comic books, cartoons, and tattoos, and over the last five years I haven’t stopped doing graffiti but certainly shifted a lot of my attention to creating more illustrative work. My main goal is to maintain the same type of graffiti mentality and approach to painting outdoors while painting different forms. Within the last ten years the term ‘street art’ has become extremely popular and recognized and maybe I fall into that category and maybe I don’t but when people see my illustrations on the street its recognized as street art so it is great to be apart of this movement that is ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’. Not quite street art and still having our roots firmly planted in graffiti while physically located geographically in the pacific.

Damo: Can you talk us through your piece, and how you responded to the brief from conception to finalisation?
Berst: I’ve been working on a series of illustrations where a majority of my work over the past couple of years has been an exploration into Maori culture and wider global culture. The inspiration for the series of paintings presented at Ambush was inspired by an old Maori myth and a battle between two female goddesses in the sea. I do not try to replicate the story but rather use it as a starting point for creating my own world and my own narrative. In this instance the world is underwater and all the characters are soldiers that are about to go to war.

Damo: How does your piece reflect the ‘dawn of a new movement in art’?
Berst: I wouldn’t say that my work reflects anything new or groundbreaking but I am attempting to appropriate a variety of visual culture from a variety of different sources to create a remix of the world and as a representation of my world. While painting graffiti for fourteen years has been exciting and ultimately shaped my aesthetic, it lacked the narrative and dialogue that enabled audiences to engage. Graffiti is very one sided in conversation and people are forced to engage while a piece of work with a story can be interpreted so I’m working to create works that can have this type of presence rather than just writing my name.

Damo: How do you define street art? Has your inclusion in Post-Graffiti Pacific changed your view on this?
Berst: I’ve done a lot of reading over the past couple of months and a part of my Doctoral thesis at University is actually research about Street Art. I think street art is great and it’s awesome to see a variety of artists from totally new disciplines playing with the visual environment. You do not need to come from a graffiti background to participate in street art and as far as I’m concerned if you’re putting work out on the streets you can call yourself whatever you want to be called. The term ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ is really just to highlight that we don’t quite fit within the street art paradigm but work outdoors and create works that aren’t exclusive to images.

Damo: How does it feel to be included in an exhibition among several of your contemporaries? Did this influence you in any way?
Berst: All the artists that are apart of the ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ movement is a stable of artists represented by Olivia Laita Gallery and we are also all in the same crew TMD (The Most Dedicated). We all feed ideas off each other whether it’s intentional or subconsciously but how you could you not? It’s natural to be influenced by your surroundings and environment so I definitely take a lot of inspiration from my peers.

@berst_1

Berst is part of ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ now on show at aMBUSH Gallery.

‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ – Benjamin Work

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Part three in our ongoing ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ roles out today, with a comprehensive chat with artist Benjamin Work. Benjamin is of mixed Scottish and Tongan ancestry, and intially struggled to find a sense of belonging and gravitated towards the pop-cultural influences emanating from Los Angeles in the 1990s, such as skate, fashion, gang and graffiti culture. Today, Benjamin’s journey to learn more about his Tongan ancestry has led him to discover images of antique Tongan weapons finely carved with often overlooked symbols of warriors and royalty. These key figures in motion, form the majority of Benjamin’s works with strength and power and occasionally, the Lupe, a pacific bird of peace, feature in his works. He continues to explore the power of kula (red) and uli (black) and their connections to titles, Christian beliefs and youth gangs in Tongan thinking and practice.

Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’?
Benjamin: It’s a statement from a group of creatives that marks a place in time (tā) and space (vā). We are situated in a unique and rich part of the globe that has been subject to many misconceptions throughout the ages, so we are one part of that voice telling our stories from this region of the world. Just like our forefathers who were explorers venturing into uncharted waters, also with us, as we explore what it looks like to be Post graffiti in the Pacific Region.

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‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ – Route52

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Next up in our ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ series is Route52. Route52 (Brendan Kitto) expanded from the activities of skating and graffiti to the documentation of what he perceived as important youth culture. With age, this concept was further refined. His need to document process and happenings, capturing a time and place, became his point of difference in graffiti documentation, since most people at the time would only photograph the final result. This patience to capture THE shot in urban popular culture and fashion, has enabled him to exhibit his photos in both group and solo shows. With respect to the past and moving forward with the future, Route52 embraces medium format, 35mm and digital photography, with his own in-house black and white development dark room.

Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of Post-Graffiti Pacific?
Route52: Being able to take the next step into the art arena with friends I have been doing graffiti with over the past 10 – 15 years.

Damo: Can you talk us through your piece, and how you responded to the brief from conception to finalisation?
Route52: There was no brief really, apart from bring your best. I concentrated on a body of work that that I have been working on over the last 4 – 5 years, which is the protests that have been happening regularly over that time.

I chose to work with images from the deep sea oil drill protests and visited parts of New Zealand’s West Coast to shoot images of the landscape that would be affected if a oil spill was to happen.

Damo: How does your piece reflect the ‘dawn of a new movement in art’?
Route52: I wouldn’t say my piece is the dawn of a new art movement, I would like it to make people think of the larger issues rather than their favourite contestant getting voted off a reality TV programme.

Damo: How do you define street art? Has your inclusion in Post-Graffiti Pacific changed your view on this?
Route52: I have no idea on how to define street art , I painted graffiti.

Damo: How does it feel to be included in an exhibition among several of your contemporaries?
Route52: It is great to be alongside people I now call my friends, people I looked up to whilst learning the ropes of graffiti and to be here with them now is surreal sometime.

Damo: Did this influence you in any way?
Route52: It totally did, started from the bottom now we are here.

@route52
www.route52.co.nz

‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ is now on show at aMBUSH Gallery, Central Park, Sydney.

‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ – Askew One

As part of ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ currently on show at aMBUSH Gallery in Sydney’s Central Park we have been lucky enough to have a quick Q&A with some of the contributing artists. To begin this ongoing series we present to you, Askew One.

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With a strong self-taught background in graffiti, graphic design and videography, Askew One’s geographical isolation of Auckland, New Zealand, hasn’t held him back from presenting his work to the world and he is now considered to be one of the leading figures of graffiti and urban contemporary art from the Pacific region.

Using skills in photography, graphic design, graffiti and traditional painting, Askew One captures his audience with visually complex and pleasing paintings whilst drawing attention to the economic and environmental issues affecting the smaller Pacific nations of Oceania.

Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of Post-Graffiti Pacific?
Askew One: I’m stoked to see this show come to fruition. From many late night debates amongst my friends over drinks, trying to define who we are as artists to first connecting with the aMBUSH guys and them giving this chance to share this revelation.

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