From the early hours of the morning, to late in the evening, Adrian Doyle donned his suit and threw himself up a scissor lift in one of the most audacious street art actions we’ve seen here in Melbourne for a long time.
Doyle transformed the entirety of Rutledge Lane (not Hosier Lane) in blue – covering pieces, tags, bins – even the ground, with a single covering.
“Todays piece was not a buff,” Doyle remarked on facebook, “it was a burner!”
Love it or hate it, this is the only thing that people are talking about here in Melbourne right now, so we thought we’d put everything together on it and let you make your own opinion.
Doyle just posted up this small essay to explain Empty Nursery Blue – sometimes context can be key …
Image credit above Adrian Lagniton. Images below David Russell
“Empty Nursery Blue Lane Way…
By Adrian Doyle
Houses are a major influence on my aesthetics and imagery. Most of the important events in my early life were focused around our quarter acre block in the heart of suburbia. We had an outback toilet, complete with its own dunny man that came every week to change the bucket. We went through numerous above ground pools and sadly, many pets. My house was not really different than any other suburban house. Yet it was my world for many years, a curated world, in which I learnt social skills and perceived normality from my parents.
I watched from a very young age as my parents struggled with house payments and debt collectors. They worked so hard to pay the bills and bring up 5 kids. They worked in jobs they hated with little respect from their bosses. They married in their teens, and did all the expected norms and learnt behaviour passed down from their parents. The house was a symbol of their hard work.
This experience made me reflect on my childhood home, and the hold it had over me, my family and my art. When my parents eventually lost the house to the bank, my parents moved four hours away to a small cottage in East Gippsland. But the grief and pain followed them. I began to play with the idea of creating a colour that represents my childhood and my suburban experiences. Was it possible to create a colour that could capture that kind of experience?
So I decided to come up with my own colour. I named it: Empty-Nursery Blue.
The way I decided to create Empty-Nursery Blue was by sitting in the studio and creating hundreds of different blues until I found the one that expressed my experiences the most. It was a baby blue that had hints of mauve in it. It’s a beautiful colour, a bright pastel. This colour expresses the feeling that something has been disturbed. All is not quite right. I took my disturbing yet beautiful colour to a paint lab and worked out its recipe.
But what good was Empty-Nursery Blue, if it was without a context. I needed to find something to paint to physicalise the concept of the colour.
As mentioned above, after losing their house, my parents moved to an island in the Gippsland Lakes. It’s a significant removal from the realities of suburban Frankston. Their house is alone in the landscape, only bushes and trees to keep it company. Not even a bridge links the island to the nearest shop. This physical removal from the past does not automatically come with emotional removal.
This is why I decided to paint my parents’ new house Empty-Nursery Blue.
Empty-Nursery Blue once placed in context became a symbol of a collective past.
Surrounding the new house with the memory and emotions of an experience that ruptured my family’s suburban dream.
In recent years I have spent much of my time lost deep in the Melbourne Street Art world. Street art has become a major part of my life and the lane-ways have become my world. I have lived and breathed art all my life. My art, however, is conceived of and formed from my past experiences. I cannot exist today without recognizing my roots in the past.
Thus, I would like to incorporate my past and my present in a Street Art piece using the colour Empty-Nursery Blue, and only this colour. By using Empty-Nursery Blue to cover Hosier Lane, I am symbolically ‘coating’ my present with my past, it is reminder to me and anyone who is living, that you are a product of your former experiences, and you should be reminded of them as you work your way through your present and into your future.
By doing this, I am claiming that a colour in its pure form can be street art or graffiti. This is a great conceptual link from fine art to street art, a link that is often lacking in the Melbourne Street Art scene. By bridging this gap, I hope to expose more people not only to Street Art, but also to the importance of art in general.”
The work was limited to Rutledge lane, and was an artistic work that didn’t involve the Melbourne City Council, or the council buffing any work. And no, this doesn’t mean that people can’t paint in there anymore, or that its being reserved or anything – quite the contrary, in fact – it’s business as usual, go forth and bust out your best chromies.
Having seen it and walked through there, it really does grab your attention in a confronting, eerie way … this is one of those things that will, and certainly has, divided opinion, and it’s up to everyone to decide how they feel about it – but that doesn’t mean that your opinion is any more valid than those that disagree with you, or Doyles opinion, for that matter – isn’t that exactly what art is supposed to be all about? For me, well, I can see both sides of it – but I can’t wait to see this shit get bombed out – it’ll be back to normal within the week.
You have to give it to Doyle, the man has balls and has done something that’s created an interesting furore.
Image via Dean Sunshine
…. on another note, and just because people have been asking, Invurt was not associated with this project. We do, however, have some pretty cool plans coming up down at Hosier lane that we’ll make sure you know all about really soon – there wont be any surprises there … ;)
Here’s all of the photos we got today …