Tag Archives: sydney

‘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.

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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

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Post-Graffiti Pacific is not just another graffiti exhibition. It’s a statement and a definition – a bold assertion of language, history, culture, expression and the significance of place in art making. Curator Olivia Laita and her line-up of seven leading Post-Graffiti Pacific artists are proposing, with conviction, the dawn of a new movement in art.

Post-Graffiti Pacific seeks to clarify the way we discuss urban contemporary art. Today’s urban contemporary artists have evolved to straddle the divide between public and studio practice and terms like ‘graffiti’ and ‘street art’ have become insufficient to describe their activities and motivations. ‘Post-Graffiti’ is now a recognised term, used to describe the work of artists whose backgrounds in graffiti inform their professional artistic practice.

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‘Art & Life’ – Work-Shop Australia

Currently based in Sydney and Melbourne, Work-Shop is a creative concept that claims it will broaden your horizons and help you unleash your inner awesome. Their Sydney digs are also engulfed in some pretty dope art. We recently caught the 23rd Key stencil workshop, and whilst there ran into co-founder Chester. He spills the beans…..

Damo: What is Work-Shop?

Chester: Work-Shop is all about creativity and community. We run a really fun range of classes taught by a rock-star line up of Australia’s finest creative talent. You can learn anything from aerosol art and typography through to tattoo illustration and screen printing. Our aim is to help people unleash their inner awesome and give them skills to live a creatively enriched life.

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Introducing…… RILLA

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Sydney based artist Rilla recently took 5 with Damo prior to his trip to Canberra to tear up ArtNotApart

Damo: Talk us through your style.

Rilla: I’ve been recognised by my style for a while now, confusingly enough I can’t recognise a style to my own work. My ideas and media is always changing and evolving with each artwork. If I had to say something particularly focusing on my street art work, I would say it always has to be big, bold and emotional something that makes you stop and think what if… I leave a lot of room for the observers own perception on what the big picture is with my pieces, all my art work has meaning and some times far from what they think.

Damo: And if you had to condense that to one gut-reaction word?

Rilla: If I was to give a one worded gut reaction to my work I’d hope it would be “whooaaah” or “hahaha”. I try to keep my work light hearted and fun even if the images are pretty dark the meanings are usually sarcastic or humorous.

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A SHOWCASE of Stupid Krap…

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Curated by Ben Frost and Aaron Craig, SHOWCASE brings together a selection of NEW TALENT as well as some of the best Australian and international artists that have worked with Stupid Krap over the last 12 months.

Co-curator Ben Frost words Damo up on the show.

Damo: Tell us about the upcoming Stupid Krap Showcase?

BF: It’s an intimate snapshot of Stupid Krap’s footprint within the local and international art world – celebrating the amazing talent that we have had the pleasure to work with over the last few years, and some of the new artists we’re excited to showcase.

Blankspace Gallery will be filled from floor to ceiling with international artists like Sharktoof, Greg Gossel, Mysterious Al and Denial, as well as Australian artists who have been making it big overseas like Vexta, Twoone, Gemma O’Brien and We Buy Your Kids. Some of the new names that we’re excited to work with for the first time, such as Nathaniel Kiwi, John Avanti, Loretta Lizzio, Danilo Brandao and William Ngheim – will be well worth coming to check out.

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Lister in Miami

We caught up with Aussie artist Anthony Lister back in Miami ahead of his show at Lazarides Rathbone, entitled Hurt People, Hurt People. Love or hate this loose cannon of creativity, he always has some interesting things to say about society at large. We chat about his arrest in Brisbane, freedom of visual speech and the World’s Longest Suicide Attempt.

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Sleep Alone – Jamie Preisz

Australian artist, Jamie Preisz’s solo show opens in November in Paris, France. He explains more about his latest body of work in his artist statement: “As an artist I work hard to create paintings that explore the individual experience of both conscious and subconscious fear, lust and anxiety. Hoping to define these experiences in a way that my audience can identify with too. Before I begin a new work or series I try to connect to the root of these themes through my own reflective thought and research in literature or philosophy to consolidate the perspectives that have come before me.”

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“This series led me into the surrealist writing and philosophy of George Bataille namely his novel “The Story of the Eye” which is complemented by of Rowland S. Howard. Bataille informed the subconscious themes in this series through the use of beauty and symbolism in the macabre; whilst Rowland’s work created a sense of self discovery and authenticity in confronting one’s own fears and anxieties.”

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“My work challenges the use of iconography in the subconscious as a collective symbolism.I believe that the subconscious is a distinct and personal part of one’s self and one motif or icon will hold a different meaning for every individual; This experience of the subconscious relates directly to my own experience allowing me to visualise my own symbolism and motifs without the weighted implication of other visual artists previous use of iconography.”

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“The morbid themes in the work explored are not intended to leave the audience morose or dispirited, rather in facing these fears I, and hopefully the audience, can take a step away from anxiety of these themes, which in turn is a step towards love and acceptance.”

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The show opens 7pm Thursday the 6th of Nov at 56 rue Notre Dame De Nazareth, Paris.

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Tag The Jewels

Tag the Jewels is a worldwide street art initiative for which over 30 artists across 6 continents were invited to remix the ‘Run The Jewels’ iconic album cover art – two opposing hands, one forming a gun, the other holding a chain.

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The artists were given a very simple brief and the freedom to express their own unique interpretations of Nicholas Gazin’s original artwork.

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Project Five – Volume Six

Project Five, an initiative of aMBUSH Gallery, is an award-winning public art initiative featuring a highly successful live art event, public art exhibition and art auction.

Each year since its inception in 2009, growing crowds of onlookers from all walks of life have gathered in Sydney’s public spaces to watch four cutting edge contemporary street artists transform blank canvases into masterpieces, right in front of their eyes.

With the arrival of Project Five Volume Six, located on the grounds of Sydney’s Darling Quarter, comes the inspiring talents of four dynamic artists – Askew One, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Alex Lehours and 23rd Key.