Before I left Melbourne, I had been an avid reader of Ha-Has "The Unreal Adventures Of HaHa" blog – in which he was documenting his travels overseas. Always hilarious, always thought provoking and conspiritorially cool. After a lengthy stay overseas, painting and showing across the eurozone and asia, HaHA has now returned to Australia – and he’s about to have another solo show
"Metamorphosis is an exploration into the archetype’s of the human psyche. As humans, we create the archetypes that exist amongst us as individuals, and as a part of a couple, a family, a tribe or a nation.
Here HAHA investigates these archetypes by means of stencil: fusing portraits of people together to find a link or connection between couples, or by fusing man with machine and beast.
The viewer is presented and faced with questions about the archetype within relationships, transhumanism & the beast man.
HAHA (Regan Tamanui) is one of Australia’s most notorious and prolific stencil artists. He called the Blender Studios home for many years before extending his art practice with an extended, overseas trip.
Now he is back, and is having his first solo show since returning to Melbourne at Blender Studios’ gallery Dark Horse Experiment."
Wish I could be in Melbourne to check this all out – its going to be ahell of a show, and its been way too long since I’ve seen one from HaHa! Ah well, you guys enjoy the shit out of this one for me!
Who: Regan Tamanui What: Metamorphosis solo show Where:Dark Horse Experiment, 110 Franklin St, Melbourne When: Show opens Friday 10th May from 6pm til 9pm and runs til 1st June
Way back in October, we brought you news of a new project that I’ve been working on with Jo Jette, a brand spanking new print magazine by the name of Damn It! Well, it’s done, printed and all ready to go – and we’re having a party to celebrate!!
Designer and Publisher Jo Jette has been working on the amazing Nothing To Nobody for a few years now, which, sadly, has just released its awesome final issue (Jo will be working on Damn It! from here on out!) This dynamo of a lady has crafted what I think is a stunning, collectable piece of visual beauty, and written a slew of grand articles. For myself, well, I’ve edited my ass off on this one, and if you’ve been reading Invurt for a while then you can expect a whole bunch of full feature articles from yours truly on artists from across the globe!
"Tired of the same old same old? Want to feel like you’re doing something positive when you shell out your hard earned cold cash for a magazine? Want value for money in a convenient bag size read? Then say hello to our little friend – DAMN IT!
DAMN IT! is a brand spankin’ new, biannual, 96 page, limited edition magazine run by Publisher & Designer Jo Jette (of Nothing to Nobody magazine), and Editor in Chief Fletcher Andersen (aka Facter, of online art webzine, Invurt). We put every cent we have into the publication, so that each issue will kick the can of the previous one.
Each issue we feature juicy articles on super talented peeps – illustrators, photographers, typographers, painters, writers, and other creative types as well as reporting on the more serious side of things from around the world.
We also shine a Bat-signal on some of the amazingly selfless work done by caring peeps setting up and running not-for-profits all round the world. We’re not afraid to put our money where our damn big mouths are, and we pledge to donate $0.50 from each copy of DAMN IT! sold to the not-for-profit we feature in that issue, which in our first ever issue is Skateistan, a not-for-profit set up to teach kids to skate in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Pakistan. Skatistan also teach journalism and art to their students, 40% of whom are girls. Plus we’ve adopted a Polar Bear for our first issue to accompany our article on Polar Bears and Arctic conservation, but just wait ‘til you see what we are sponsoring for issue 2!!
Launching officially on 2 May at the Just Another Project Space in 153 Greville St, Prahran (Melbourne) from 6-9pm, and we’ll be giving away a Hamburger YoYo to everyone who attends. Yes, you heard us right – so join us for a drink!"
It’s a bittersweet feeling, knowing that the mag is being launched, and my not being able to actually attend the launch party! Lamentations aside, both Jo and I are stoked at how the mag has turned out, and we’re sure that you’ll all love this first issue (we hope!) – its been a long process and a lot of hard work, trial and trepidation, but its something we’re pretty proud of.
So, we’d love for you to al head on down to the launch party next Thursday – grab a mag, enjoy a read and let us know what you think!!! Massive thanks to the team at Just Another for letting us use their awesome Just Another Project Space for the launch, we couldn’t be happier with the venue!!
Massive thanks to everyone for all of their support, especially the artists and advertisers who are featured in the first issue!
Who: The first issue of Damn It! Magazine features articles on artists and creatives such as Lee Romao, Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins, Ken Taylor, Chris Peters, Poise, Adam Oehlers, Ink & Clog, Skateistan, Polar Bears of the Arctic, Naoto Hattori, Tom Hussey, and Hit+Run and some special artwork from Chris Hancock and Eleven, photography from Nicole Reed and much more. What: Damn It! Magazine Launch Party Where:Just Another Project Space, 153 Greville St, Prahran, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia When: Opening will be one night only, Thursday 2nd May 2013 from 6pm til 9pm!
For thousands of years, philosophers and mathematicians have been pondering the deepest intricacies of our lives – seeking the answers to mysteries that have plagued mankind since he first glanced up towards the stars. Foremost in these explorations, has been the desire to unlock one of the most enigmatic keys to the nature of our existence – the fundamental order attributed to our physical universe by the rules and laws governing the geometric form.
As an artist, Tom Vincent not only pays homage to these millennia of explorations, but further attempts to add to the vast amount of knowledge, theory and thinking that surrounds their inherent philosophical musings. By vigorously expanding both his knowledge and understanding of the many facets of geometric lines and shapes, yet never eschewing nor relying on their mathematical underpinnings, Tom breaths life into what is often an overplayed motif in contemporary art – the results of which are astonishingly beautiful.
Juxtapositions of intricate lines are enfolded within simplicity, shapes meandering between true and construed – all held together by an eager willingness to expound upon the colourful flow of spectrums to which each shape is attributed – it is, simply, art that entrances and beguiles you with its depth.
Tom is an artist who has designed, illustrated and painted walls with spatterings of aerosol across Melbourne, who has now come forth with a unique vision that sits apart from his youthful exuberances, and yet still maintains the trappings of "rebellion" that harken back to his formative years – for what is there more rebellious, than to try to challenge people to see the hidden beauty in the underpinnings of our existence, beauty to which we are, shamefully, all too often oblivious to?
I grabbed an interview with Tom on the eve of his show, Toroidal Fields, this coming Thursday at the Anna Pappas Gallery in Prahran – I hope that you enjoy it, and find yourself as enamoured of his work and artistic philosophies as I.
Tell us about how you first picked up a pen and brush and started doing art – when you were young, what first gave you a feel for being creative?
When I was young I was always drawing in my spare time, just doodling stuff. Then it sort of evolved into drawing stuff onto the bottom of my surfboards and skateboards. I began snowboarding a lot around the age of 13/14 and I was doing graffiti in my downtime and the summer.
A few years later, I ended up breaking some collarbones at a time when I had a lot of snowboarding ahead of me – doing graffiti was a release from the frustration of that happening. From there it pretty much sucked me in and I stopped the snowboarding.
You have an early history of having done a bit of graffiti around Melbourne – can you tell us a bit about it, and how you got into it? What made you want to get up and paint, and who, at the time, were influential in you starting out?
My first exposure to graffiti was when I saw Reset and Sirum painting in the lane way at the back of my house, it just sucked me in right from that moment. I watched them for probably 2 days and I immediately started to mess around with some sketches.
I kept seeing them when they would re-do the wall every 6 months or so and I would be out there watching and learning from them. I started to paint my first piece on our back wall in the lane way and they saw this and gave me a few pointers and showed me some tricks. I had some friends at school who were also into it at the time and we just started to paint. I used to get a lot of motivation from seeing all the really good pieces around and it just made me want to get better and paint more.
Have you done any sort of formal training in terms of art and design – what in the way of artistic education has contributed to your work today?
I haven’t had any formal training with art & design, instead I ended up sharing a studio with David Milne. David is a brilliant hard-edge painter and his technique is spot on. I was in that studio for about 3 years straight out of high school, I ended up living there for a period and it was just a constant barrage of art.
It was exactly what I needed to develop my work, I was completely sub-merged in it.
Tell us a bit about the studio spaces you’ve found yourself working in over the years – what, especially, do you believe that a studio space can contribute to an artists work, and what kind of activities do you usually find yourself conducting in the studio, beyond painting?
I’ve had my fair share of spaces over the few years and i believe it is important to have a work space that is comfortable for you, by that I mean a space that allows you to focus 100% on your work. But it is also good if there are like minded artists around that can give you some feedback on your work and to do some fun things along the way.
Often I find that it is a very fine line between being much too serious or far too relaxed. I guess in the best places that line is blurred and it allows you to maintain a steady work output whilst having a relaxed feel.
Tell us a bit about how you came to be exhibiting at Anna Papas gallery, and why you chose there for this most recent show?
Anna was kind enough and helped me out by showing me, she is a lovely person and I have a lot of respect for her gallery. I really enjoy the actual space that she has as well, and I had always dreamed of showing my work there. She has a really good stable of artists that span a variety of mediums and it was something that I wanted to be involved with.
In terms of the show – I know you’ve been working on it for some time now, and that you had a big bulk of it completed a while back, but what in the duration of putting it together changed in regards to what you were producing, and how did time help to shape the final product as it now stands?
In the beginning the work was changing quite rapidly. Initially I had it all planned out, but as the weeks went by the plans changed. The ideas remained the same, the actual images were changing. Then I just began painting – I decided that I had lost myself in the planning stages so I moved on. I felt the work should evolve organically so I allowed it to take its natural course.
Having the time allowed me to really step back from what I had made and connect the pieces more intricately. I have had the work finished for a month or so now so it has been quite a relaxing time in the lead up to this show, something I don’t think will happen every time.
Some would say that the work that you are doing now is a direct opposite to the earlier work you were doing with graffiti and design – well, I would! How have the two directions coalesced or did you make a conscious decision to move towards a more contemporary feel in your work, or did it just happen in an organic fashion?
The two different styles of work are vastly different. I can tell that the current work is coming from a different pattern of thought than when I was doing graffiti.
When I was in the very early stages of exploring geometry, I was still painting a lot of graffiti. It was always a conscious decision that I wanted to step away from graffiti on canvases, so when I had my first studio I would be painting inside, then I would also paint outside and they were two completely different things. I begun to slow down with graffiti and really focus on painting canvases with out even really thinking of graffiti.
I always had ideas that I couldn’t fit into the graffiti model, so to speak, and this other direction has really allowed me to pursue these ideas.
What is it about geometry that you find most alluring? Some would say that geometry can be a trap of rigidity, others find it the bare basics of the world around us, and yet others relish the mathematical of it – which of these most speaks to you, or doesn’t? What other ideals of geometry most excite you?
I am completely fascinated at how geometry has constructed the material world. Geometry might seem simple to many people, but there are still a lot of things we don’t understand about shapes.
There is a massive history with geometry dating all the way back to the ancient Egyptians and it is pretty obvious how good their understanding of geometry was. I do love the rigidity of geometry also, but exploring the boundaries of this notion is more interesting to me. I tend to stay away from the mathematical side of it, as this is not my forte, but I will still get the compass out and check the angles etc.
I am a big fan of Plato, Archimedes and the rest of the ancients – to me it is a wild notion that I am learning the same things they were.
You also have a pretty interesting development cycle when it comes to the colours that you use in your work – having seen some of your test pieces and a lot of your work in progress, you’re quite meticulous when it comes to colour placement – is it the technical side of colour variation and spectrum’s that fascinates you, or the sheer variety? What theories of colour do you most look to when utilising it in your work, if any?
I tend not to try and go by any theories with colour selection, I usually have a few colours I’m particularly interested in at a certain time.
Then, for me, its just a matter of exploring all the different variations of the select colours, seeing how they sit next to other colours and just feeling it out.
I tend to work through colours quite slowly, at first I might not even notice when a new colour starts emanating through my work but then I realise I am completely obsessed with it. I am constantly taking note of colours I see and it plays a big part in general life for me.
What do you hope comes out of this show, what is it that you are trying to say about Tom Vincent, the artist, with this work?
The ideal situation for me would be if everyone enjoys the work, they realise they know these shapes and begin to notice geometry in every aspect of life around them.
That is what I want out of art – to show people that these shapes are important, and that we don’t know enough about them. These shapes have been around us since this planet came into existence, and it remains the governing force in all of the planetary bodies we have found.
After this show, will you continue to investigate geometry in your work, or are there other facets of creativity that are piquing your curiosity? What’s in the future for Tom Vincent?
I will defiantly be continuing along this path, I don’t think I will ever be finished with geometry.
I have a few group shows in the pipelines for the end of the year, so I’m just working towards those and developing the work into a different aspect of this knowledge.
Tom Vincent is one of those artists who has been quietly making his own way into the art world, surreptitiously building a body of work behind the scenes the likes of which I, for one, am hugely excited about.
I’ve known Tom for some time now – not only is he a great artist, but he is also an all round great guy with a fantastic vision for his art. Having shared a studio with Tom before, I’ve seen this show, Toroidal Fields, coming together over the past year and I can easily say that it is going to be fkn beautiful.
"Anna Pappas Gallery introduces Tom Vincent in his first solo show which explores the ‘sacred geometry’ concept. Revealing how shape and form are the underlying principles of all manifestation, Toroidal Fields focuses on the torus, a structure that is present in every facet of life, from galactic energies and planetary forces, through to the smallest being and atom present on earth. Key to this investigation is an understanding of platonic solids and the realisation that the humble triangle is at the base of all shapes and the building block in the fabric of our existence."
The Anna Pappas gallery in Prahran is a great fit for this show from Tom, and we urge you to head down to Prahran this Friday night to see it for yourself and celebrate this grand accomplishment by one of our favourite artists.
We also have an awesome interview coming up with Tom in a day or so, so keep your eyes peeled for it!!
Who: Tom Vincent What: Toroidal Fields solo show Where: Anna Pappas Gallery, 2-4 Carlton St, Prahran, Melbourne When: Show opens Friday 10th April from 6pm til 9pm and runs til 27th April
One of our all time favourite Perth artists, Kyle Hughes-Odgers (who may be familiar to you also, under an older moniker, Creepy) is back at the turner Galleries in early February with a new show, A Thousand Lights From A Hundred Skies.
“Kyle’s highly stylised thick torsoed, big-headed and spider-limbed figures exist in a unique folk tale world. This world exists without technology, but this does not stop the inhabitants from trying to solve problems and build things using wonky mechanics and producing structures that do not heal or help. Strange stilted buildings, often out of scale to their melancholy inhabitants, are connected to each other with lines. The lines represent communication, and the basic building forms represent the communities that inhabit them. Sparse plant forms appear in some works, and in most an exuberant patterning beautify the sometimes darkly humorous themes.”
We spoke to Kyle before one of his shows at Turner gallery back in 2010 – check it out, and get down there to see what he has been up to in more recent times! We’re huge fans of his work, on a wall, or in a gallery, so this one is highly recommended if you’re over in P-town.
Who: Kyle Hughes-Odgers What: A Thousand Lights From A Hundred Skies Where: Turner Galleries, 470 William Street Northbridge, WA When: Show opens 6pm til 9pm, Friday 8th February until 9th May, 2013
Without a doubt, Melbourne street art would not be what it is without the talented Drewfunks work adorning our walls.
Over the past ten years, Drew has produced a massive body of work – both on the walls, and in the gallery. His style is instantly recognisable, his fusion of Western and Asian culture pervading its presence. Now, Drew is taking that work and placing it into a book for all to enjoy – and its a must have for anyone interested in both Drews work, and Australian art in general.
“Drewfunk & No Vacancy Gallery QV are proud to present the launch of Oriental Funk, the debut self publication by Drewfunk.
Oriental Funk follows the creative evolution of Drewfunk and his work over a ten year period from 2002-2012, documenting his work from the streets to the studio and everything in between.
Join us on Friday 18 January from 6pm – 9pm for the official book launch and signing, as well as an exhibition of new and old works.”
Amongst the show, will be an installations, and whole heap of news work, as well as hidden gems from Drews archive showing a snapshot of his works progress over the past decade.
Seriously can’t wait for this one, its going to be epically good – and can’t wait to get our hands on the book!!
Who: Drewfunk What: Oriental Funk Book Launch & Exhibition Where: No Vacancy Gallery QV, 34–40 Jane Bell Ln, Melbourne When: Shoe opens Friday 18th January, from 6pm til 9pm and runs til January 27th
‘The Hours’ launched their first specially curated solo show at The Tate last week, on show was the vibrant work of UK artist Mr Penfold. The artists’ first solo exhibition on Aussie shore, titled ’Bric ‘a’ Brac’, was also the last show at The Tate for the year. His paintings shone in the space; vividly bright, bold and incredibly crisp. The artists’ skill with a paintbrush and impeccably smooth line work were a pleasure to behold. Some of the pieces moved away from his traditional character portraiture and moved more towards abstraction, breaking apart and reassembling parts of his characters to build abstract forms.
Soldiers Rd, which opened earlier this year, has already had some of our favourite shows and put some damn fine artwork up on the walls. Now, in the leadup to Xmas, the gallery gathers together a whole bunch of exciting artists to transform the simple cardboard medium into works of art – at an amazingly affordable price, as well!
“Cardboard city offers up 25 Australian artists, from the up and coming to the super experienced, practicing photography, fine art, street art and everything in between in one room for one night only.
Each artist will exhibit 10 pieces, on cardboard at $100 a pop. With those the only restrictions expect diversity, ingenuity, and a whole load of cardboard in the explosion of works set to fill every nook and cranny of Soldiers Rd on Thursday December 13th.
Works are expected to fly off the walls so get in early to grab a piece from your favourite artist without having to pawn your bike to pay the bills!”
We love cardboard!! Twenty five by ten – thats two hundred and fifty works of art all for under a hundred bucks each – and damn if we dont want some of that!
It only runs for the night, so theres only one chance to see it all. Head down to Soliders Rd Gallery this Thursday to see it all for yourself, and grab yourself some work from these awesome artists.
Who: Ears, Bennet, Mark Alsweiler, Max Berry, Numskull, Phibs, Jumbo, Bridge Stehli, Tom Ferson, SMC, Houl, Bafcat, Birdhat, Joe Wilson, Chanelle Collier, Ella Condon, Syke, Benjamin Reeve, Claire Nakazawa, Choq, Tim Andrew, Kaffeine, Michael Hazel, Mim Fluhrer, Sid Tapia What: Cardboard City group show Where: Soldiers Rd Gallery, Suite 405, 342 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, Sydney When: Show opens Thursday 13th December from 6pm til 9pm, for ONE NIGHT ONLY!
Blender studios is a constantly evolving melange of talent and ambition, one of the cornerstone hubs of art in the Melbourne CBD and an icon unto itself. In my many visits there (countless, really), I’ve been privileged to meet artists from all walks, styles and creativity. From new artists, to those who are established, there’s no doubt that it is a veritable wellspring of amazing art.
Antonia Trash is one of the artists who I’ve been lucky to meet in my visits to the Blender, and someone whose work I’ve been scrumptiously checking out, and hoping to see in a gallery setting – now, she has her first solo show, and I’m excited to see what she’s come up with.
“The first solo show by Trash,
Painting spiders to cover the gaps.
Tales of dark places high, and joy gone awry,
Trashed youth is absconding the trap.
Often deep, sometimes dark, but always hopeful, trashed youth is an abstract representation of transitional events in the life and art of TRASH. Realization and acceptance, this is an unseen fine art practice that is ready to be unveiled.”
Definitely a great show to see. We’re big fans of first solo shows, and we’ll be heading there to check out Trashs work on the night – seeya there!
Who:Antonia Trash What: Trashed Youth solo show Where: Egg Gallery, 66a Johnson St, Collingwood, VIC When: Show opens Thursday 6th December from 6pm til 9pm
Last Wednesday night we made out way over to Metro Gallery to check out the latest exhibition from E.L.K., Not With It.
This has to have been possibly one of the best shows of stencil art that we have ever seen – the mans technical skill is amazing, and we absolutely loved the combination of his new direction in portraiture as well as his social commentary pieces. You can read our latest feature on E.L.K. here, but if you are in Melbourne, you should head down to Metro and see it all for yourself.
In the meantime, check out our photos from the opening below!
Last Friday night we had the pleasure of attending Mikaela Janes first solo show at Egg Gallery in Collingwood. Great turnout for the show, and the work was really impressive – there were some definite favourites of ours amongst it all – and quite a few red dots to be seen!
Biggest congrats to Mikaela on her night, here’s looking forward to seeing more from her in the future – it can only get better from here.
Check out all the photos from the show below, from our always on-point camera guy, Dave Russell.
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!”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.”
We have no compunctions with stating right here and now that E.L.K. is one of our all time favourite Australian artists. His work over the years has continually blown us away and catapulted him to the top of his game. Now, after a hugely successful year, E.L.K. will be presenting his next solo show “Not With It”, at Metro Gallery in Melbourne – this is going to be fkn awesome.
“E.L.K’s work is a progressive social commentary that emanates from a uniquely Australian perspective. The portraits of Hon. Bob Hawke and Fr Bob Maguire were exceptionally well received, making him the first artist in history to be accepted into the prestigious Archibald prize with a portrait that has roots in the street art culture. E.L.K’s latest exhibition ‘Not with it’ is inspired by the cultural response from Australian society to the GFC – as he sees it. As an artist that has, for the most part, existed on the fringes, E.L.K examines the divide between rich and poor through poignant and satirical art works such as “Don’t worry, be happy?” which depicts a ‘plain Jane’ girl-next-door archetype, hands clasping a sign saying “will work for food”.
“Not With It” touches on the separation of church and state through E.L.K.s portraiture of iconic, though controversial, Australians, which are partnered with the aforementioned social commentary via his tongue-in-cheek, street based works. The image of a Rosella upon a black background is an incredibly uplifting moment, described as “a dizziness of freedom” – a laconic, yet utterly familiar connection.
A crucial fulcrum lay between E.L.K’s association with street art, and his works dichotomy with fine art; this tension is always negotiated through his use of subject matter and well honed technique. The method by which E.L.K breaks the boundaries of stencils – a medium that is traditionally associated with street art – is contrasted with his political and societal observations, the subject matter of which is irrevocable linked to both fields.
The real question, however, with E.L.K’s work is not where it has taken him, but where it will take him next. Like the essential notion contained within the laws of physics, for E.L.K, the only way is up.
As Winston Churchill said “Kites climb higher against the wind, NOT WITH IT”
We’ll leave you with this event info for now – as we have a really cool feature coming up on the man in the next few days … so stay tuned for the good shit!
Who: E.L.K. What: Not With It solo show Where: Metro Gallery, 1214 High St, Armadale When: Show opens Wednesday 14th from 6:30pm til 9pm and runs until 1st December
Our mate Hancock put us on to this one, and we’re glad he did – always great to see a cool show at one of our favourite inner city Galleries, No Vacancy – and what a show!
"New links between audience and artist will be created through interpretations of this very concept; Half.
The initial idea came from imagining what a piece of art would look like at the halfway stage of creation and how you would measure where half really is?
This idea evolved into giving the artists no restraints in interpreting Half. For instance they can; collaborate halfway with another artist, visually represent half, chop their finished artwork in half, the limitless choices are theirs to make.
Half Exhibition has incorporated a large spectrum of art forms, including; graffiti art, sound art, graphic design, jewellery art, photography, visual art, poetry, typography, illustration and more."
We can see a lot of great artists names in that list, especially a whole bunch from Perth – we’ve actually seen some of the stuff that Hancock has been working on for it and, damn. We just know that the rest of its going to be just as good as well. Check out this great preview video as well -
It really does look like like a great group show, and we’re looking forward to checking it all out!
Who: Yok, Acorn, Hancock, Henson, Luke Lucas, Future Inform, Eveline Tarunadjaja, Kevin Tran, Jacob Rolfe, Douglas E Pope, Sheryo, Michael Cain, Young Hunting, Nina Waldron, Kubota Fumikazu, SKULK, Lauren Besser, Juan McArb, Michael Berry, Keith McDougal, Hamish O’Neill, Autumn Royale What: Half group exhibition Where: No Vacancy Gallery, 34 – 40 Jane Bell Lane, QV, Melbourne When: Opening night Thursday 15th November from 6pm til 9pm. Show runs from 14th to 18th November.
One of our favourite galleries up in Brisbane, Bleeding Heat Gallery, will be putting on an end of year show this week, rounding up a whole bunch of grand artists to show their wares.
"Bleeding Heart has come together with some of Brisbane’s finest artists to produce a unique exhibition to celebrate the end of our exhibition calendar for 2012.
This exhibition is unlike anything we have done before! Bleeding Heart will provide participating artists with two canvas’ (30x 35cm) for them to create work of their own styling. Artworks will be priced by the artist between $50 and $150 in the hope that artwork will be bought for Christmas and to support local talent!
In the spirit of Christmas, Bleeding Heart will be donating all of the profits made from art sales to supporting social enterprises and community organisations. This will be our final exhibition for 2012 and will be celebrating what has been a great art programme this year.
Deck the walls will be featuring works of brilliant local artists including Carmela Ruffino, Catherine Insch, Barek, Laura Strange, Lucinda Wolber, Josh Rufford, Anthony Massignham, Elysha Gould, Guido Van Helten, Monica Rohan, Rachael Bartram, Dave Lydiard."
A great cause – art for charity can never be over done, and that lineup looks mad! Check it all out this Friday night!.
Who: Carmela Ruffino, Catherine Insch, Barek, Laura Strange, Lucinda Wolber, Josh Rufford, Anthony Massignham, Elysha Gould, Guido Van Helten, Monica Rohan, Rachael Bartram, Dave Lydiard What: Deck The Walls group show Where: Bleeding Heart Gallery, 166 Ann St, Brisbane When: Show opens Friday 9th November from 6pm til 9pm and runs til 22nd November
Invurt webzine provides information on AustralAsian street, urban, illustrative, graffiti and other genre defying, nu-contemporary art to readers around the world. It specialises in events and artists who are working, displaying and visiting Australasia – particularly with a focus on exhibitions, live art and other events the artists are partaking in.