Melbourne


Melbourne is the oft claimed “cultural capital of Australia” – whether this is true or not, it certainly has a wealth of amazing galleries, sights and opportunities for artists. From street art friendly laneways, art events and with an art friendly population, its hard to beat Melbourne for sheer output. Pushing the new waves of low brow, street art and nu-contempotary are galleries such as  RTIST and Artboy Galleries in Prahran,  Backwoods Gallery in Collingwood, Metro in Armadale, Paradise Hills in Richmond, Darkhorse and No Vacancy in the city, and many more …


Melbourne Street Art


Where does one start with Melbourne street art? As one of the top ranking  notable world street art capitals, you could read the wikipedia page, or read any number of books on the subject, but, suffice to say, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, there are few places to miss if you are an aficionado.

You can take tours of its world famous laneways, and read up on its prolific and much loved artist collectives and studios, including Everfresh in Collingwood, Blender Studios in the CBD, Paradise Hills and Safehouse Studios in Richmond, Rival Revolution/Invurt in Prahran, Cocoa Jackson in Brunswick and many others. Not a day goes by without new work finding its way up on the walls, much of which is covered in a variety of blogs and websites, and on the Melbourne Street Art facebook pages.

Street artists can also pick up any needed supplies from such spots as Obese Records in Prahran, This Is It in Richmond, Giant in North Melbourne and Refills in Fitzroy …


Read on for all that is grand, happening and cool in Melbournes art scene …



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Sunshines Top 10 – November 2014

With a mad ass book launch under his belt, Dean Sunshine got us his Top 10 Melbourne street art an graffiti pieces for November – second last for the year, and man, what a month November was hey? Check out the pics below …

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1. sofles – hosier
2. senekt – carlton
3. makatron – collingwood
4. dvate, askem, dabs myla – fitzroy
5. Bailer  & Scale – south melb
6. Slicer – brunswick
7. Makatron – fitzroy
8. Jack douglas – hoiser
9. Duke – carnegie
10. senekt + jun – northcote

 

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Exhibition – Knock – Chimera X – Melbourne

We spotted this rad show coming up this weekend, from the skillful hand of Knock, who has been visiting Melbourne over this gorgeous summer. Looks like a damn fine place to be this Friday night in Fitz!

The Library Gallery presents ‘Chimera X’ a recent body of works from international visual artist KNOCK.

The work delves into the world of creatures past and present spliced into many genus from the perspective of the artists mind.”

I’ve seen a lot of Knocks work around over the past few years, and it really talks to me – I guess because I’m a mass lover of all things alien, surreal and weird – and I love myself some good linework as well, and this mans work has all that in spades, and then some.

Head down this weekend to The Library Gallery to check it all out!

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Who: Knock
What: Chimera X solo show
Where: 100 Barkley st, North Fitzroy, Melbourne
When: Friday 19th, December from 6pm til 9pm – show wil be open for one week after, with private viewing on request

Check out the facebook event page for more info on the show!

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Event & Book Launch – Street Art Now – Melbourne

Two years ago, Dean Sunshine released his first book, Land Of Sunshine - one of the best photographic documentations of Melbourne street art that has come out over the past few years. Now, following on from the success of the first edition, comes a new book, Street Art Now – bigger, better and full of even more amazing shit than the previous edition, and the launch is this Thursday!!

“Following the success of Land of Sunshine published in 2012 comes the next book titled STREET ART NOW.

An updated snapshot of the Melbourne street art and graffiti scene over the last two years is once again all shot by Dean Sunshine on his travels across Melbourne and beyond.

STREET ART NOW is a larger, hardback book with 200 pages showcasing over 100 local and international artists who have painted in Australia. Plus there are also images from some of Dean’s travels overseas.

featuring both Australian and international artists including:
Adnate, Alexis Dias, Bailer, Be Free, Curiot, Dabs Myla, Dal East, Dasic, Deams, Deb, Does, Dvate, Insa, Jaz, Kaff-eine, Li-Hill, LUSH, Makatron, Meggs, Phlegm, Pixel Pancho, Reka, ROA, Rone, Seth Globepainter, Sheryo, Shida, Slicer, Smug, Sofles, Stormie Mills, The Yok, TwoOne, Tristan Eaton, Vexta, and more…

The forward by David Hurlston, Australian art Curator for the National Gallery of Victoria quotes:
“This new book provides us with an important visual diary of the changing face of Melbourne’s public spaces.”

The Land of Sunshine blog is still regularly updated with hundreds of photos from both here and overseas documenting the never ending art appearing on the streets.

Books will be available November through the same outlets including National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, MCA, GOMA, MONA, Heide Gallery, General Pants (nationally), and selected retail outlets.”

You can also purchase the book online here.

As was done with the previous book, Land Of Sunshine, sales from STREET ART NOW will be put towards any future editions, furthering Dean’s wish to provide ongoing documentation of Melbourne street art online and via printed media. You can check out a bunch of sneak peak images at the bottom of this post …

There will also on the night be a silent auction of a bunch of amazing artwork. Arranged for MSFW14 on behalf of the City of Melbourne, these works are on boards, measuring 2400mm X 1200mm and have a timber frame. Every cent of the money raised from the sale of these boards is going to charity – and specifically to the charity nominated by each of the artists.

As a part of the launch, Dean will be auctioning off some street art works from notable artists such as Smug, Sofles, Jack Douglas, Mysterious Al, Putos, Bail, Phoenix, Be Free, Steen Jones, Dvate, Conrad Bizjak, Itch and Deb.

Bidding will start at $300 per piece in the silent auction (best bid wins!). Check out the amazing work up for grabs on the night…

Dean does an amazing job in documenting all of this stuff, and invests a hell of a lot of his time making sure that all of the amazing art on our streets is preserved for posterity – he self funds everything he does, with little in return – we love his work, obviously. We’re looking forward to the night, and cant wait to get a copy of the book!!

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Who: Dean Sunshine
What: Street Art Now book launch
Where: Level 1, 109 Little Collins St, Melbourne
When: One night only Thursday 11th December from 6pm til 9pm.

Heres a little sneak peak of a bunch of the work in the book itself as well!

Check out the facebook event page and the Land Of Sunshine website for more info!

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Through The Lens With David Russell Photography – November 2014

November was a busy month for me, I’m not going to say much this month but just let my photos do all the talking.

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Exhibition – Keezus – Solo Exhibition By Stencil Artist 23RD Key – At Juddy Roller Studios

A solo exhibition by stencil artist 23rd Key

‘Keezus’ is a solo exhibition exploring the idea of ego, utilising the stencil art process. It’s a dissection of what it is to be a stencil artist and will showcase the medium in a way that has never been done before. Each work concentrates on the inner battle we have with who we are, who we are perceived to be, and how they differ.

Opening night, Friday 5th Dec at Juddy Roller 226A Johnston St, Fitzroy. Enter via stairs on Chapel St.
Show continues Sat & Sun 12-5pm.

For further information or to request a preview catalogue email jess@23rdkey.com

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Who: 23rd Key.

What: KEEZUS.

When: This Friday The 5th Of December From 6pm.

Where: Juddy Roller Studios, Corner Of Johnston & Chapel Street Fitzroy.

Facebook event here

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Exhibition – Not Dead Yet By Jack Rapmund – At Just Another Project Space

All life comes to an end, but we’re not dead yet.
The knowledge of the ever-looming, ever-blooming death, is the greatest motivation for Skallywag Jak. It is his main inspiration, to refuse a regular job, to produce art and to travel the world enjoying the brevity of life. To try and experience as much of this world as it has to offer. Jak continues on the adventure, to keep painting and tattooing and learning, in the city that began his life as an artist. Melbourne.

Jak hand carves woodblock printing plates, to produce highly limited prints that are individually unique.
He tattoos skin, primarily with flora and fauna, references to life and death, and elements of geometry.
And he paints murals, playing with similar themes, but bringing an explosion of colour to the walls, expending some of the energy pent up by studio time.

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Who: Jak Rapmund.

What: Not Dead Yet.

When: This Friday the 5th Of December from 6pm.

Where: Just Another Project Space, 2A/127 Greville Street Prahran.

Facebook event page here

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Event – House Of Bricks Studio Exhibition & Pizza Party – This Friday 5th Of December

You are warmly invited to attend an exhibition of new art from our most excellent & dedicated studio crew.

Thanks to the HoB team for an amazing year and to the public for your ongoing engagement.

Friday Dec 5 @ 6pm. 40 Budd st Collingwood. 3066

Painting, Tapestry, Interactive, Illustration, Assemblage, Dance.

We’ll be cooking from a freshly built pizza oven and serving cold summer beverages from the blender. Save the date. Find a mate. HoBSEPP? – YeP!

Featuring:

VII Valencia
Ben Affleck
Nick Millen
Nicola Higham
Raymond Baltas
Wilba Simson
Morgan Campbell
Theo Robinson
Joe Buck
Sammy Rowe
Suki

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Who: V Valencia, Ben Affleck, Nick Millen, Nicola Higham, Raymond Baltas, Wiba Simson, Morgan Campbell, Theo Robinson, Joe Buck, Sammy Rowe, Suki

What: House Of Bricks Studio Exhibition & Pizza Party.

When: This Friday The 5th Of December.

Where: House Of Bricks, 40 Budd Street Collingwood

Facebook event page here

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Event – A Very Blender Christmas Exhibition 2014 – At Blender Studios

Head down to Blender studios this Friday night and check out the yearly studio exhibition and party, this is a night not to be missed.

The evening will also be sponsored by Monkey Shoulder whiskey, hope to see you all there Peace.

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Who: Blender Crew.

What: A Very Blender Christmas Exhibition 2014.

Where: Blender Studios 110 Franklin Street, Melbourne , Victoria 3000

When: This Friday night the 28th of November.

Event page here

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Featured Event – Cutback Documentary Screening – Melbourne & Sydney

One of the coolest projects that we’ve had the pleasure of being involved with over the past few years, is the amazingly diverse and comprehensive Cutback project, put together by Rachel Bentley. Traversing the world, interviewing a plethora of amazing artists and grabbing shots of work from a hundred different walls, the Cutback project, both the introductory documentary itself and the multitude of web features,  is finally about to be released – and we’re really, really pretty damn excited.

For an overview of the project, read on for the press release as well as all the info on how to check it out.

CUTBACK is a multi-platform web and feature documentary filmed between 2011-2014 in Sydney, Melbourne, Berlin, NYC and London. Featuring in depth interviews from artists and writers it challenges the public’s preconceptions on art in the urban environment. CUTBACK explores the ‘key’ to understanding the artist’s addiction, which is street art and graffiti . The project features interviews with artists as they discuss their individual approach to their work, artistic motivations and frustrations.

CUTBACK documentary features artists from Australia and internationally, including: E.L.K. Makatron, Rone, Meggs, HAHA, Perso, Zerosix, Vexta, Mini Graff, CDH, Shannon Crees, Facter, Juanjo, DMOTE, Kid Zoom, and with commentary from Alison Young, Kurt Iveson, Jaklyn Babbington (NGA),Frances Lindsay (NGV), Fletcher Andersen, Sandra Powell and Andrew King.

Within the CUTBACK digital platform, over 60 artists have been interviewed, including luminaries such as Beastman, Numskull, Jak Rapmund, Ben Frost, Bill Dimas and John Whiltshire, Phibs and Meres (5Pointz). As an on-going, ever expanding project, a wealth of updates will be regularly added to the CUTBACK online platform.

CUTBACK also features the music of renowned Sydney artist and producer, Daniel (Ears) O’Toole.

The CUTBACK screening and launch is presented by INVURT in Melbourne and Commune Studios in Sydney.”

Rachel Bentley really has done an extraordinary job at putting all of this together – having seen the documentary cut myself, its pretty damn cool.

But the greatest thing about this entire project, is that it isn’t just limited to the documentary itself, which really only shows a small slice of what the entire thing entails. With over 60 artists having been interviewed over the past three years, it may be one of the most comprehensive video archives of artists practicing on the streets here in Australia – and, after the initial launch (on the 13th of December), these interviews will all be released on the Cutback website, with even more to be added. It will be a continually evolving entity, and, much like what we try to do here, will help to capture the essence and vitality of the ever evolving Australian graffiti and street art scenes.

Check out the promo video for the project –

CUTBACK LAUNCH PROMO from 2014 on Vimeo.

 

The Sydney event will be held on the 5th of December, and the Melbourne event will be held on the 12th – the Melbourne event will also allow for those who have never seen the amazing Emerald Car Park to get an exclusive tour (its closed to the public and hasnt been open for quite some time), and they will also be having their official after event at That One Shot II event and exhibition, where we will all be kicking on to after the doco screening and tour.

Seats at both the screenings are quite limited, but if you want to get a chance to see it first hand then here’s your chance – you just have to register at the Eventbrite links below. It’s simple, and completely free just click the links below to the respective screening – spots are filling up quickly, so get onto it.

Cutback Sydney Screening

Friday 5th December 2014
COMMUNE Studios
186 Rochford St, Erskineville

6.00pm – Exhibition and drinks.
7.00pm – CUTBACK Documentary screening
9.00pm – Concludes

Register for the Sydney event here http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/commune-studios-presents-cutback-launch-tickets-14208182055

Cutback Melbourne Screening

Friday 12th December
1800 – Exhibition
1830 – DOCO screening
2000 – Rare tour of Emerald House carpark !
830 – Official After Event – That One Shot II @ 1 Doonside St Richmond 

Register for the Melbourne event here https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/invurt-presents-cutback-launch-tickets-14183105049

 

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Interview – Bail

There are many names that are synonymous with graffiti in Melbourne, however there is one that garners unmitigated respect from all corners – Bail.

Throughout the years, Bail has made a name for himself with his unwaveringly dedicated, no holds barred approach to painting. From an early age, this desire to put his own personal mark up on his surrounds has consistently motivated him to expand his outpourings, each work often following the subconscious spurrings of a multitude of internal visions.

At times, these creative products are often whimsical, at others political, or embedded with indirect prods at culturally bullshit circumstances and situations. Poignantly, each of Bails pieces tells a story (if, at times, often convoluted and cryptic), and his work is deeply entwined with the prose that he conveys through both his written narratives and his hip hop lyrics. With rap having formed as large a part of his artistic development as painting on walls has, each aspect furtively promulgates and enriches the other like a desultory, meandering yang/yang orgy of expression.

With his upcoming solo show, Making Bail, about to launch, we had chance to throw the man a few questions, and find out a bit more about his many motivations, inspirations and lyrical annunciations – so read on, and enjoy a small glimpse of the mind behind some of the most prolific, and finest, work we’ve seen around the streets and laneways of Melbourne.

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As an artist, there’s little doubt in my mind that you probably started out drawing and shit at an early age – what are some of your earliest creative memories and when did you realise that creating shit was something that was in your blood?

I cant remember a time in my life where I wasn’t building, drawing, smashing, breaking, climbing or writing/telling stories. I would paint everything; we had a chicken coop in the backyard and I would catch the chickens and paint colours on their feathers.

In kindergarden, they would give me watered down paint, this way I could paint all over the fence and at the end of the day they would spray it all off with the hose. Then in primary school, I loved the smell of fresh cut grass, I would tumble out of the class room at lunch time and gather up a massive pile of grass clippings then stuff it into the holes in the wire fence. Some kids would think I was weird – others would help. By the time lunch was over, and everyone was back in the classroom, I’d look out the window with a shit eating grin plastered over my face and see my name written in grass across the fence.

You know that the creative process is a fundamental part of your being, the day you first realise that the voices only stop when you are deep in the moment of creation.

Sometimes they stay quiet for a short while after you are done. But then you hear them. Faintly chattering, off in the distance and you know that you must start the process over, or pretty soon they will be screaming and howling between your temples like a pair of blood crazed baboons ripping at each others flesh.

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When was the first time you picked up a spray can? What lead you to painting in walls in the first place, and can you remember your first real mission?

We used to roll down the drains on our bikes after school. Someone would bring a torch and we would go exploring like the goonies, following the cave clan directions deep underground.

We had some really good times in the drains, an hour underground, water rising, fearing death, lying on my back using my legs to pop open a concrete manhole cover because it was too heavy for us to lift. The drains were/are full of graff. We would ride past pieces by Grate (TGC), Trance (CI), Reakt, Perks, Giro etc, and sometimes we would see people painting. We started to borrow poscas from art class or find cans to leave our toy tags. It was a natural progression to start painting.

I always thought people should do some practice in their back yard on an old board, then do 20 drain pieces, then when your finally skilled up go trackside.

That being said, one of my first pieces was trackside and it sucked hahaha. I remember borrowing the paint from the $2 shop and doing the piece then taking my parents to see it the next day.

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You’ve been doing this shit for years now – back in the early days, who were the guys around you, or other graff artists that were doing shit around the world, that really pushed you along on your own path?

I didn’t really know what was happening around the world until later. The Style Machine wall near Prahran station was a big influence when I was young. My dad would take me to the Prahran market to get the food and I would always ask to go past the mural. RB7 and Voter had tags every where. Puzle, Rush, giro, Mesk, Occupy, Denz, Reach, Higher were all favorites. Inpak did some of my favourite track-sides ever. Jorz had/has the best characters and always comes with fresh style; every piece, tag or shark throw up perfectly executed. Sdm, CI, TAB, KSA, RDC, Cduse had insides on lock.

Dorps came to Melbourne with Pubes and basically showed everyone here how it is supposed to be done; multiple cromies and one or two burners on every line, street bombing, throwies, insides and burner panels. I dont think anyone else has done it like he did.

Trance (CI/TGC) was way, way ahead of his time. He and Renks pretty much lead the way stylistically. Renks was doing these pieces shaped like guns that were ridiculous, and everything Trance was doing was ridiculous.

How about now? Who are some of the guys you love painting with these days, and whose work really just does it for you – and why?

I like painting with people with a warped sense of humour who can put up with my stupid voices and random outbursts.It is always good to paint with people who are better than you so you can learn. I like the work of Aryze, How and Nozm, some of Lister’s faces have ridiculous line work, Won (ABC), every now and then Sofles does something with paint that makes you get mad, real mad, but then after you get mad you wanna get even. The big piece Insa and Mad Steez did – well that was something, wasn’t it?

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In terms of style, where have you most drawn inspiration from for your work over the years – can you pinpoint anything specific? Do you have any formal artistic background at all or are you all self taught?

H R Giger, George Hull, Won ABC, Ron Cobb, Chris Foss, Ralph Steadman, Nick Cave, Hunter S Thompson, Alan Moore, George Orwell, Tarantino, Cage. I have tried to study a few times but I find I can only absorb information I deem important so I’m not the best student. I was at RMIT trying to learn and I went to a careers guidance councilor for the first time. I told them of my situation and they riffled through some filing cabinets and retrieved a magazine from deep in the vaults.

“Here,” they said “do what this guy does,” and handed me an article about a graffiti mural painted by some dude.

“Is this a fucking joke?” I retorted. “Is a guy with a camera going to appear and start filming?”

“What are you talking about?” she answered. ”

You just handed me an article about me,” I sad. “This is me in the magazine – so you think I should do what this guy is doing?”

After that I figured I didn’t need higher ed – just hard work and drive. If the guidance councilor is going to inadvertently tell me to be myself, then, fuck, maybe I should.

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You’re well known as a bit of a storyteller, most of your pieces that you post up online come along with a narrative – how important is this storytelling component in conjunction with your painted work? How much of it is true, and how much of it is creative license? ;)

I just like writing. I find it interesting. I have many strange and interesting experiences and I enjoy combining them with gross exaggeration, fictitious folly and malicious mayhem from my twisted imagination. I think you can tell which ones are based on an occurrence. I don’t want to be just one thing, so I like to add the written component so that people can see a little further into the world I am representing when I spritz the sprays on the rap letters. Some people might not like it or think I am a tosser, thats ok, there are worse things to be and they can just skip over the narratives.

One day when I am too old to run around painting the town I would like to get serious about it.

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Speaking of words – you did a pretty fine album not too long ago, with Retainer under the name Hedge Burners – “Over Spray” – can you tell us a bit about this project and how it came about? Are you still actively working on rhymes and musical projects as well?

Cheers. I have been into rapping for nearly as long as painting. I used to go into all the battles, and I won a bunch: run amok, big day out 03? and used to get into the finals in Revolver and a bunch of others. I got a bit sick of rap and focused on painting for years. I always stayed writing here and there and free-styling but only got right back into it about 6 years ago. I did verses on friends albums; Pisces, Nekta and Flush and Celphysh and some unreleased stuff with Biggs and Retainer, I made some tracks and a few film clips for my self and one for Pisces.

This all led to me wanting to have something to show for all the years that rap meant so much to me. I wanted to put as many songs on the cd and cover as many topics as we could. After the art show, I want to do a few more tracks – some solo, and some with Tains.

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Writing, painting and generally existing in the metropolis of Melbourne – how has this city itself helped the way you do graff, if it has at all? What is it about Melbourne that feeds into your work, and what are some of the more interesting stories you can tell us about some of your urban adventures here?

Melbourne had a particular flavour for a long time – I think this was due to a lot of artwork staying up on the train lines. This created this relaxed environment where you could spend hours painting a burner and it could stay up for 5-10 years (if you were lucky). The city you live in molds you subconsciously, so you could probably tell me more about the Melbourne influence in my style than I could tell you.

I used to paint atop the Collingwood silos a fair bit. Anyone who has climbed the still standing castle looking building next to it will know that the last level of the stair case has been removed to stop stupid idiots attempting to climb to the roof. Mayo and I had just painted the silos so we made our way across the rickety, wobbly wooden walkway then began our climb amongst all the dead pigeons and rotting wooden supports.

It is a bit of an effort, so it was nice to stand in the sunshine and admire our handiwork when we finally emerged from the trap door. We took photos and mucked around for a while. When it was time to leave, Mayo lowered himself down onto the banister – the stairs as I mentioned had been removed. Mind you, this is about a 10 story building – so he is balanced on this shitty piece of wood that is wobbling around then he jumps down to a landing.

It’s my turn, so I lower myself down the same way. Just as my feet are almost on the banister I screamed “fuuuuuuck” – a nail had popped through the webbing of my hand.

My natural reaction was to pull my hand away. Every part of me was saying get your hand off the nail, but my instincts kicked in and I found a foot and handhold for my free hand before I ripped my hand off the nail.

I looked straight down to the fall below, a spurt of blood still speeding towards what would have been my certain death. We laughed about that one when we got to the ground, but that was probably my 9th life right there.

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Tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition – its been a while since we saw a bunch of your work up in a gallery. What will the show entail, and how does it represent a snapshot of your artistic practices as they are today?

It is a mixture of things. Some abstract works that I did for no reason other than that I find them aesthetically pleasing. Then their are some grotesque paintings that are commentaries on life I suppose. Some prints.

A mixed bag. Fun for the whole family.

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Whats changed in graff since you started out? How have things gotten better, how have things gotten worse? Where do you stand on all these debates on what constitutes graffiti as opposed to street art, or do you not give a crap about all the political bullshit side of things? Have you found that your attitude towards it all has shifted a lot from when you first started doing graff when you were much younger?

I think the lines have blurred between street art and graffiti. Graffiti artists have always done characters and productions so I’m pretty sure that is street art anyway right.

I do both. I just don’t like how many shit street artists there are and how they don’t put in hard yards, or represent anywhere good, but they’ll plug their shit work all over the net and get kudos from clueless muppets who think dog shit sprayed gold is good art (which it is, but that’s another thing) – then they get an inflated ego and act like they are not a silly misguided gronk.

But its all gravy, life sorts everyone out.

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So, after the show, what do you have planned for the rest of the year, and, indeed, the future? What projects lie unrealised, where would you like to travel and where would you like to take your work next?

I want to finish this stupid fucking book I have had in the pipelines for years, but it fried my scone so it has been on the back burner.

I want to travel – always, maybe try and get involved in this big mural art bs while the boom is still reverberating. Some more raps, some more sprays, maybe some writing, maybe some filming/acting/directing.

Maybe I’ll learn to shoot laser beams out of my eyes.

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