Interview - E.L.K. - Not With It - INVURT
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Sunshines Melbourne Street Art & Graffiti Top 10 – July 2016

It’s not easy finding the best ten pieces around the city from month to month, but thats what Dean Sunshine tries to do for us in an un-ceasing survey of the best of Melbourne street art and graffiti. In this, believe it or not the 64th edition of his Top 10, Dean has chosen some of the best pieces that we’re seen yet! Of course, top tens are always subjective, but we do think that he’s nailed it this month! With work from all across the city, featuring Adnate to Al Stark, Hancock and Ape Seven and so many others, its a wonder

Snapshots – State Of Mind – Cam Scale – At Juddy Roller

For those of you who were unable to make it down Juddy Roller to check out Cam Scale’s amazing show State Of Mind, here are  bunch of photos featuring his works from the show.  

Snapshots & Video – The Fresh Hood – Preston

Snapshots & Video – The Fresh Hood – Preston

There are a whole bunch of rad things going up around Preston these days, its turning into one of the cooler spots in Melbourne, to be honest. The Fresh Hood is no exception, taking an older building at the Preston markets and turning it into a cornucopia of cool shops and eateries, surrounded by some dope ass new artwork! Selected and curated out all by our man Dean Sunshine (with support from Loop, Crag of the Space Agency, Dulux Australia and Duke Style) this is an awesome new addition to the many gorgeous walls around Preston … check out the photos

Through The Lens – June 2016 – David Russell Photography

It may be cold in Melbourne right now but that hasn’t deterred artists like Smug who managed to smash out two amazing murals organised by Juddy Roller, one over three storeys depicting his grandparents. Roa was in town and didn’t disappoint with his show at Backwoods Gallery, featuring Australian wildlife painted on all manner of objects he collected while in Melbourne, all from hard rubbish found around Clifton Hill and surrounding suburbs. Adnate also had an exhibition at the Metro Gallery featuring his amazing works depicting members from the indigenous community, its great to see an artist use their skills

Video – Shida – Bombing HK & Seoul

Video – Shida – Bombing HK & Seoul

The man Shida went on a bit of a trip to Hong Kong and Seoul recently, and got a bunch of video of some of his exploits on the streets there – a nice little piece of a man doing what he loves, and doing it with his expressive style – Theres really something to be said about bombing with a brush(s)! Check out the video below .. More Cool Shit: Video – RONE – Portland – Oregon Thursday Transmissions – Maven, Giants and M… Video – Kyle Hughes-Odgers x Dirtyface Video – Mike Maka – Conrad Bizjak &#82…

Snapshots – Wizards Lizards And Broads – Mark Bode’ – Backwoods Gallery

There are not many shows that captivate me the way Mark Bode did with “Wizards, Lizards & Broads, I suppose for me like so many we were heavily influenced by both Vaughn and Marks undeniably distinguishable characters. There was a time in the 80’s where in class it was all about Cheech Wizard, Puck and Junkwaffle, especially if you were into graffiti you will remember theses characters in some shape or form, I was also lucky enough to meet Mark Bode and his lovely wife personally at a going away dinner for Roa a few weeks back. Don’t miss the

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Sunshines Melbourne Street Art & Graffiti Top 10 – June 2016

Okay, is it really half way through the year already? I cant believe that 2016 is flying past so damned fast – it seems like it was just the new year! Half way into the year, we already have some cracking choices of top 10s from our man Dean Sunshine, and this month is absolutely no exception! His picks for June 2016 contains some of the coolest shit we’ve seen, and man, it just keeps on coming, month after month, year after year … Check out all the latest below, enjoy! 1. George Rose – South Melbourne 2. Mike Eleven –

Snapshots & Studio Visit – Julian Clavijo

David Russell and I caught up with Julian Clavijo on Sunday in his studio in Brunswick and we’re lucky enough to get an early insight and sneak peek into his body of work for his upcoming show – Patient Transition – Check out all the details for the show here. Over a few beers Julian told us about his origins in Columbia, his time spent at an artist residency in Dubai, as well as his journey into art in general, gallery art and Friday’s show. That’s a very short summary of what we discussed – Julian tells his stories with so

Adnate - Always Been Here - Metro Gallery - Armadale

Snapshots – Adnate – Always Been Here – Metro Gallery 

Last night David Russell and I journeyed over the river to Metro Gallery in Armadale to check out the opening of Matt Adnate‘s – Always Been Here. Like all of Matt’s openings at Metro last night was no exception. The Welcome to Country ceremony kicked off the show as the gallery packed full of people and Eucalyptus smoke wafted through the air. An excellent show with amazingly detailed works. A must see – make sure you get down to Metro ASAP and have a look! Thanks David Russell for the great photos. More Cool Shit: Sunshines Top 10 – January

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Snapshots – Tiny Writers – Goon Hugs – At The Dark Horse Experiment

Friday the 10th of June saw an amazing show by local artist Goonhugs at the Dark Horse Experiment, a prolific sticker and paste up artist, whose works literally cover everything, I love seeing a shopfront or bus shelter completely covered knowing that there are few thousand stickers on there. This was his first solo show and for this he allowed us a view into his miniature world of these amazingly detailed reproductions of abandoned building from around Melbourne, these were covered in tags mostly from Melbourne’s prolific graffiti scene. He managed to reproduce in such amazing detail, some of my

Interview – E.L.K. – Not With It

 

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I can pinpoint where I met E.L.K. to the exact moment, and I can remember quite clearly, exactly, what was said and what happened. In fact, I wrote about it, so even if my memory had of, by chance, been a little hazy its all there.

It was, truth be told, something of a “moment” for me. On the one hand, that moment was the beginning of an entirely unexpected friendship with a man whose friendship I both respect and treasure, and on the other it was one of those moments that a writer looks back on and goes “I was there!” with some amount of pride (intermingled with a slight fraction of awe) – because, sitting here a year and a half later, at that time I had very little idea of where E.L.K. would be with today.

Neither, of course, did he.

Some of his words to me, back in the park where we first met, echoed in my mind as we sat down at The Vic last week, drinks in hand.

“If you can make a living, successfully,” doing what you love doing and doing what you’re good at,” he remarked “ … it’s the dream!”

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In the past year and a half, a part of this dream has, in truth, come true for E.L.K. His love for art, his passion and dedication over the years have paid off in many ways, and he now spends his “working hours” creating his art – but even being granted a partial aspect of his artistic dream hasn’t come without its own trials.

“I thought it would take a lot longer to get where I am,” he remarks, humbly as always, when I catch up with him. “I thought, ten years maybe, realistically. But it really has been a big couple of years.”

“I do feel tired,” he laughs. “Not I need a nap tired – I’m fucking drained!”

The fact that he can laugh about it all, however, marks that he has also taken it in his stride – because it really has been a big fucking year for E.L.K.

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After moving to Melbourne from Canberra, it seemed as if it was all systems go right from the very start. Although now residing in Richmond at Paradise Hills, E.L.K. did a short stint at Blender studios, where he immediately got to work on a new portrait piece of the much loved and notable Fr Bob Maguire.

When he first submitted Fr Bobs portrait to the Archibald prize, E.L.K. was less than certain as to how it would be received, this was, after all, one of the biggest contemporary art prizes in Australia. That it was selected to take part in the actual competition itself was not only a major win for street derived art in general, but it was a phenomenal boost for the career of an artist who had literally worked his ass off – it was another win for the acknowledgement that street derived art has a place in Australian contemporary art, and E.L.K. was at the forefront of it all.

“Its been a really big wave – a huge wave,” he explains when we start talking about his reflects on the Archibald “experience”.

“Not so much the Archibald itself, but the buzz surrounding it, the media surrounding it. Nothing prepares you for it. It’s what we all want – but when it actually happens, fuck, you can’t go back from it. Actually ‘making it’ can be pretty scary – but once you face it … well, not so much. ”

Beyond the media, the promotion and the entire “mainstream” rigmarole behind the Archibald, being a part of the whole process and event also gave E.L.K. something that he believed he was missing, something worth more in his mind than all the rest.

“It gave me more confidence,” he confided. “Which really was something I was lacking, within myself and with my art.” He sits back and takes a drink before putting on a wry grin, “Yeah, it was definitely an awesome ride.

“I felt like I was almost tapping into the zeitgeist,” he continued, talking about the entire experience. “The subject, the timing an the award, and it was just the right time. I think the Art Gallery of NSW was looking to introduce street art into the award, but they just hadn’t quite had the right piece. So, the planets aligned and it just … I felt like there was something a lot more spiritual going on behind the scenes, which is funny, coming from an atheist, but there was more to it I felt.”

E.L.K.s Archibald piece none withstanding, as a hardcore atheist, there was more than one “spiritual connection” that came from the experience – the other being the formation of a friendship with his subject.

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“I’ve become quite close with Fr Bob,” he says, smiling. “He’s a great guy. I’m like a 33 year old, and he’s much older … but we’re quite the same – kindred souls. He just says it how it is, and that’s something I’ve always done, and said. I may not always be right, but that’s my perception. With Fr Bob there’s no bullshit, and I respect that. It’s just nice to come across. Particularly in regards to the art world, you come across a lot of bullshit, so it’s nice to have a bit of truth.”

“We do talk quite regularly. I had a call from him last week and he said ‘what’s this about my face popping up all over town” he laughs, obviously making mention of the many Fr Bob stickers that have surreptitiously been springing up around Melbourne of late “… I kinda said, well, I can have a chat to them if you want, and I can see if they’ll stop doing it!”

Not only did E.L.K. form a bond with Fr Bob over the work, but it also lead him in a new direction with his work. Whereby previously, his work focused heavily on the portrayal of issues and other societal concerns, he found himself recently changing direction towards a more classically orientated bent – portraiture.

“I’ve actually concentrated a lot more on portraiture and less on the street sort of social commentary work that I’ve done,” he explained. “I think id like to establish myself more as a portrait artist than a stencil artist, to be honest.”

“The whole process of selecting a subject, meeting the subject and making the art and capturing that subject is great. Also, for me, and mainly, just the whole unveiling of the piece to the subject can be really touching.”

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As a man who has for time now been acknowledged as a master of his chosen technique, with stencils comprising up to seventy different layers of high degrees of detail, as well as an individual who has tackled subjects including war, religion, consumption and greed, it is this human touch to his new works in portraiture that have him flowing with exuberance.

“I don’t know what it is about it – its all, imagery creation,” he says, laconically, “but it really has nothing to do with technique anymore. It’s all about subject and content. I have the technique down pat – but getting the right image, and making it all work, that’s the hard part.”

Thus, his upcoming solo show at Metro Gallery, “Not With It”, is something of an explorative body of work for E.L.K.. Of course, within the show are several of his older themed pieces of social commentary, older themed work, but the body of the show, and the epic mainstay for a certainty, is in the portraiture that he will be displaying. Having been through a portion of the maelstrom of “success” and not gone down with the ship in the process, it seems that this has had nothing but a positive effect.

“It was really about pushing myself, in many ways,” he explains, “and to not worry about it too much. Just man-ing up and getting into it – which is what I did – but it wasn’t easy.”

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In fact, when we caught up at Paradise Hills that night, before our sojourn down to the pub on Victoria Street, E.L.K. had only just finished a portrait of aboriginal actor Jack Charles. The work is massive, one of the largest and most intricate pieces that I have ever seen him produce. The shades and tones of the work left me breathless, and as he pulls up a photo of it I can’t help but think that for all the “success” that he has had thus far, that this is only the beginning.

“It took me three weeks to do that piece,” he says, almost belying the effort behind it. “It was all about pushing things further … I can’t do what I used to do. I can’t sit down and cut for a hundred hours … it’s really good, but I’m tired.”

“It’s a really good kind of tired, though.”

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