Sometimes when you’re travelling you are just in the right place at the right time – luckily
for me thats happened during my visit here to NYC.
Amongst that fortune was being able to catch up with The Yok and Sheryo last week in the lead up to their opening, and, of course, being able to attend that very same opening tonight at Krause Gallery down near the Bowery.
The calibre of work in display was second to none – having seen them labour over the work whilst I was visiting possibly gave me a greater appreciation of the whole thing, but seeing work in progress and then the finished products all up on the walls and installed is something else. On the surface, many off the images seem quite simple in their iconography – that simplicity, however, is only on a casual glance, in each piece there is a complex play of ideas and head-nods to a whole swath of cultural foibles and fancies.
From beautifully rendered porcelain pots to the firehouse white on blue plates, there is a measure of immaculate detail hidden within each of this duos works. Messages both written and placed upon paper or ceramic surface as near hieroglyphic entreats – and though some of these can be obviously translated, you also get the sense that there are some distinctly playful in-jokes between the two artists scrawled across their work.
The upstairs section of the show was formal in its presentation – that aforementioned white and blue sprayed across the room. The bars and plates, though made of fragile material had a strengthened presence that belied their canvases.
Downstairs however, was a loose assortment of painted walls and printed materials documenting the couples journeys across SE Asia, Mexico and here in NYC, their adopted home.
I loved this section – you don’t always get such a complimentary display in an exhibition of some of the more intimate processes and plans behind the finished product. Playful scrawlings on found pages and plans for walls painted and finished abounded in ramshackle manner – a perfect juxtaposition to the room above.
Often when artists collaborate, the seams between styles are in some evidence, instead of a perfunctory presence – yet of all the times I looked upon this work, I often found it difficult to discern, happily, where the Yok ended and Sheryo began – or visa versa.
For me, this is the essence of collaboration – that wavering grey area where two talents are able to combine into a distinct entity – something that the viewer, and even the artists themselves, have never seen before – and which would never have eventuates without such a close working relationship. Though this show was billed as two artists, it could have easily been one – such was the ease by which their merger of styles was both demonstrated and substantiated.
As I sit here, tapping into my phone and writing this over tea and post-show congee, I cant help bit think that this might be what NYC is really all about. Not the glitz and glamour and "oh New York is so fkn coool" and all the "art scene" bullshit, but about individuals, artists, having the opportunity and ability to present new shit in such a broad, dynamic environment – and being embrace for it. Not only did I see some amazing work tonight, but I also saw the "Pipe Dreams" of two artists literally manifested upon the walls of this grand old metropolis.
I love this city, and I love its artists, new and old, and I loved this fucking show.
Check out more of the photos from the show below – apologies for not being the best, I had to resort to my point and shoot after my dslr craped out … but I hope you enjoy them!
There is a huge swath of talent amongst Melbournes independent comic book artists, and you can always be sure that the works that they produce are cutting edge litanies. From the daily to the macabre, the fantastical to the conspiratorial, these artists take on all the challenges of communicating the foibles and fallacies of our times.
Fleshtonez, the next upcoming group show at Paradise Hills, follows in this vein perfectly – though, not exactly in the way expected. Erotica is a definitive genre in our modern day, a ubiquitous element amongst the creative realm – and though not all artists focus on the genre solely, they will, surely, touch upon it at some stage in their creative journeys.
"FLESHTONEZ is an opportunity for eleven cutting-edge, Melbourne-based comic book artists to explore the erotic side of their practice. Free from the presumption that strong sexual content can demean the work, each artist can create their own unique take on erotica in contemporary graphic art.
Whether the result be playful, profound or disturbing, by doing so the artist has at once tapped into a rich vein of personal material and contributed to a broader discussion on sexuality, a more crucial facet than ever of the current zeitgeist."
By taking such artists as M P Fikaris, Katie Parrish, Michael Hawkins and the rest of the comic luminaries in Fleshtonez, and letting them run unfettered though their erotically charged imaginations curator Michael Hawkins may have just created a … okay, okay, I’ll avoid the bad puns, really grand show show – we’re really looking forward to seeing what work is up on the walls on the night!
I really made an effort to not mention my hopes for at least some suggestion of tentacle pr0n in this writeup. Ah. Shit.
Who: Michael P Fikaris, Simon Hanselmann, Emily Hasselhoof, Michael Hawkins, HTML Flowers, Jnr Blue, Katie Parrish, Lee Lai, Elliot Lamb, David Mahler, Marc Pearson, Josephine Waite What: Fleshtonez group show Where: Paradise Hills, 8 Doonside St, Richmond, Melbourne VIC When: Show opens Friday 31st May from pm til 10pm and runs for two weeks.
It’s no secret that we are some of aMBUSH Gallerys biggest fans – the amount of grand shit that they have done for artists over the years is priceless in its worthiness. One thing that we have always loved about aMBUSH is the fact that they play no favourites, and promote art and artists from the sheer love of it – there is no commercial gain behind it all, they’re a truly altruistic bunch of people.
In line with that, aMBUSH also grant exposure and the use of their space to both established artists, and the up and comers amongst the fold – and their next group show, Visions From The Aether, promises a great glimpse of fresh faces and new directions.
"In Greek mythology, the god Aether represented the highest plane of heaven and the purest, lightest form of air that only Zeus could breathe. Throughout the development of early philosophical and scientific discourse, the concept of Aether was used metaphorically as an alternative and preferable explanation for the apparent ‘nothingness’ that filled vacant spaces. Aether represented a fifth element alongside those four that were tangible – Fire, Water, Earth and Air – and served as the foundation for scientific exploration of the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through space.
Today, as well as its use in scientists’ vernacular, the word ether refers to an imagined place beyond the earth’s atmosphere; elastic, intangible and comprising infinite potential for other-worldly manifestations. It is this – the allure of possibility in a realm unbound by the laws of physics – that the artists of Visions from the Ether explore in the multidisciplinary exhibition.
Comprising the work of Aaron Noakes, Dakota Gordon, David Crystalface, Jack Hammond, Mez, Nick Matthews, Oliver, Ox, Sebastian Grant, Slug and Tom Groves, Visions from the Ether is a collection of photographs, street art, digital works and pieces from other fine art media. The exhibition, which opens on Friday 17 May from 6 – 9pm, is spread across the two expansive spaces of aMBUSH Gallery and will launch with Oliver’s live jazz/hip hop production. Complimentary ice cold Little Creatures Pale Ale beer will be served on the night.
Visions from the Ether is proudly presented by aMBUSH Gallery and launches on Friday 17 May 6 – 9pm and continues Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May 12 – 4pm."
Head down to aMBUSH Gallery and check it all out for yourself this Friday night!
Who: Aaron Noakes, Dakota Gordon, David Crystalface, Jack Hammond, Mez, Nick Matthews, Oliver, Ox, Sebastian Grant, Slug and Tom Groves What: Visions From The Ether solo show Where: aMBUSH Gallery, 4a James Street, Waterloo (Sydney) When: Friday 17 May, 6pm-9pm
Amongst my travels over the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with a whole bunch of artists. Last week I had the chance to catch up with two favourites, The Yok and Sheryo in their Brooklyn studio as they prepare for their upcoming exhibition "Pipe Dreams" (we posted a whole bunch of photos from their Mexico adventures not too long ago also).
Not only was I able to get a great interview with the pair of them (for the next issue of Damnit! Magazine), but I was also able to get an awesome preview of the show in the works …
"Krause Gallery is pleased to present the highly anticipated exhibition of recent works by Brooklyn-based duo Sheryo and the Yok. While previously seen in group exhibitions, Pipe Dreams marks their first solo show in the United States since establishing the city as their primary residence last year.
Working with varying painting techniques, the artists have culled together collaborative pieces that represent their shared life together. From their nomadic travels the past year to in-jokes with their friends in New York, the Yok and Sheryo seamlessly combine their adventures into every detail of their work.
For example, their hand painted vases combine eastern & western elements to portray the values of ideology, devotion, relationships, dharma and karma, depicting a narrative from the rich tales of their journey.
From their fun filled art renderings with Chinese dragons, pipes, and geishas intermixing with the New York culture, Sheryo and the Yok put their own illustrative styles on imagery as they re-interpret the traditional folklore and fables of old Chinese times while injecting their own personal stories with their iconic styles.
Their most recent body of work for their upcoming show at Krause Gallery is full of adventure and intrigue as they departed the United States for countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. By traveling to their native countries as well as a few places in between, Sheryo and the Yok characterize their formative life experiences with the memories that are being made together. Another example of this can be seen in their newest body of work; after returning from warm Mexico to the rain and snow of New York they used their cartoons to reflect on the sunnier days behind them; beer, Spanish icons and surf boards began to be a part of each piece.
For their solo show at the gallery they will also be creating hand painted ceramic plates, vases, painted pieces on paper and canvases, a surprise installation downstairs along with Limited Edition one color 25” x 19” high quality screen prints. Pipe Dreams is a must see for any street art enthusiast or talent seeker of any kind."
Also check out the rad video that they’ve put out with some of the plate and vase action in it all …
Here is all the details for the show – and check out the gallery down below for a great preview of the show and a bunch of shots from around their studio! Also, check out the catalogue of all the work in the show – amazing.
Who: The Yok & Sheryo What: Pipe Dreams Where: Krause Gallery, 149 Orchard St, New York City When: Show opens Thursday 16th May from 7pm til 9pm and runs for a month.
A new monthly post from resident Invurt photographer David Russell – introducing “Through the Lens with David Russell”
Dave doesn’t miss a beat around Melbourne wether it be gallery shows, street work or abandos. Dave has decided to do a monthly round up of some of his favourite works he finds on his daily missions. Thanks Dave keep the photos coming.
Aucklands K Road is infamous for its street art, and this group show, gathering together some of NZs coolest and finest, looks like it’ll be a great showcase of work – live!
As part of the running First Thursdays events, Alfresco will be a “rad street art festival up and down K’Rd, 10+ walls being painted by 10+ street artists from all around the country. Come watch these artists do what they do best LIVE in person and watch K’Road be transformed with colour across our walls”
“Karangahape Road is a long time home to art and cultural activity that doesn’t fit amongst the typical mainstream vernacular. It abounds with mythical figures and local legend from across multiple generations.
It is an area of Auckland that is fighting to retain all that is good about grit and grime, to celebrate the eccentric and erroneous. All the while ensuring that it remains a relevant and vital creative community that is recognised for its value as a rich depository of cultural artefact and activity.
All Fresco is both a response to the traditions of Krd, and to the paucity of street art in the Krd district. The character of a community is reflected in many things including the evidence of an engaged and ongoing public dialogue. And in an area noted for it’s character, a distinct lack of sites hosting relevant and revolving street art is something to be addressed.
The value of this event isn’t just in the opportunity it provides to artists, or even
the spectacle and experience it offers spectators. It’s in reestablishing and re-affirming the qualities of a part of our city that makes it the most well know, most notorious and fabled strip in the country.”
Thats a lot of wall space to be painted up on one single night, K’Rd is going to look mad!The week before his solo show, even HaHA will also be in Auckland on the night doing some live art for the opening!
There will also be an exhibition on the 2nd May at Method & Manners studios. Head down and see it if you’re anywhere near the North Island!
Who: BMD, Eno, Erin Forsyth, Deus, Dagar, Mica Still, Wert159, Xoe Hall, HaHa, What: Alfresco street art festival (First Thursdays event) Where: Up and down K Road and Method and Manners studios, 6 Upper Queen Street, Auckland When: Exhibition opens at 6pm til 9pm on 2nd May, and the paiting goes on from the 3rd, 4th and 5th.
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!
Lets Go, Magic Weirdos is succeeded by the brilliantly curated Magic Weirdos Never Die – which once again sees Sean gathering together a diverse array of talent that has the magical underpinnings of weirdosity as its theme.
"As Scawfell street officially opens for business we are thrilled to present “Magic Weirdos Never Die” – a group exhibition featuring 11 contemporary artists from 4 different countries, curated by Sean Morris. Following on from the successful group show "Let’s Go Magic Weirdos", held last year in his hometown of Perth, Western Australia, the ridiculously talented Sean Morris is at it again. This time he’s bringing his work and bunch of impressive, magical weirdos to London.
The line-up includes Australian art heroes Ghostpatrol and Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Spanish comic artist Berto Fojo, the prolific Luke Pelletier from the States and killer London based illustrators Suzie Kemp, Jasper Dunk and Jon Boam. Along side these phenomenal names will be the usual awesome depravity from Londoner James Unsworth, the black metal space demons of Madrid’s Manuel Donada, beautifully strange and politically charged drawings from Florida’s Dillon Froelich and the white trash fables of Sean Morris himself, who hits London just 2 weeks after a successful solo exhibition in Madrid."
With such an incredible lineup of fantastic artists, this is a show that if you’re in London, you really need to go and see. The first show was brilliant, this one will be just as much – what wonder does Sean Morris have in store for us next??
Who: Sean Morris, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Ghostpatrol, Berto Fojo, Luke Pelletier, Suzie Kemp, Jasper Dunk, Jon Boam, James Unsworth, Manuel Donada, Dillon Froelich What: Magic Weirdos Never Die Where:Scawfell Street,6A Scawfell Street, E2 8NG London, United Kingdom When: Show opens Thursday May 2nd from 6pm til 9pm
I actually had a bit of a chuckle when I saw this event coming up – I’m in Oaxaca, Mexico right now, and here I am wishing that I was in Melbourne and able to go to this laneway party, featuring all things great and Mexican! Ironic, I know. Its all okay though, as I can live vicariously through the internet, and if I want a taco, I can just step outside the hostel and walk five metres!
For those of you, though, who are in Melbourne this weekend, and the following weeks, this event looks absolutely awesome – and if you like all things Mexico, taco, street art and laneway-lush, then this is for you!!
"Welcome to Las Laneway Fiesta, the opening night of one of Melbourne’s most innovative pop-up experience , Si Señor Art Taqueria. Brought to you by the new Mexican kids on the block, Si Señor Group & Melbourne Books. This one of a kind, pop-up art project celebrates Melbourne-Mexican art, emerging Latin American musicians and Mexican street food over four exciting weeks.
Prepare to be transported to a callejon in Mexico in the heart of Melbourne when Si Señor Pop Up Art Taqueria kicks off with:Las Laneway Fiesta opening night.
Fiesta like it’s 1999 with Tequila and Mezcal special edition cocktails, and unique regional tacos.
Expect Latin tunes and Aztec beats, a visual laneway projection phenomenon by the talent behind White Night Melbourne, Projection Teknik and live graffiti’s.
Si Senor Popup will showcase 4 up and coming street artists: Gaston Mendieta Juliette Claire Heesco Theo Robinson
With the 10th May introducing the second round of artists and installations.
All artwork for sale on the night.
We looking forward to see you!"
I believe that the whole thing opens with a big bash this Friday, followed by more mayhem on Saturday, and then new artists and shows for four weeks! There are plenty of other artists involved as well, and we’ll keep you updated on whats happening! If you want to know more, theres a great interview here on what its all about!
Head down to the laneway and to Gallery ONE THREE to enjoy it all for yourself – looks like there will be a few people enjoying it with you!
Who: Gaston Mendieta, Juliette Claire, Heesco, Theo Robinson, White Night Melbourne, Projection Teknik, Ruskid, What: Si Senor Popup Art Taqueria Where: Gallery ONE Three13 Somerset Place, Melbourne, Victoria When: Starts this Friday 27th April and Saturday 2th April with events on every Friday and Saturday for 4 weeks!
We’ve been hot on the trail of Paul Deej’s work for quite some time – we interviewed him way back in 2010 and since then he has had some damn fine shows. This time, Deej hits Kurb Gallery in Perth for what may be his best yet – Harlequins.
"On Saturday the 27th of April, Kurb Gallery in Northbridge will play host to the third solo art exhibition by accomplished Perth artist Paul Deej, entitled “Harlequins”.
“Harlequins” marks the end to a series of artworks recently completed, exploring the theme of the female clown, or “harlequin”, in an array of styles, moods and mixed media. Always on the quest to capture the beauty of the female form and face, he has created a body of colourful and bold work that represents his love of comic book and street art, while adding a graphic designer’s touch. In the past 3 years since his highly successful first exhibition “Nicely Toasted” at ABD The Gallery in Northbridge, Deej has worked diligently and shown pieces in a plethora of exhibitions locally and nationally. His last solo show was the successful “El Deejo” Exhibition at The Grey Door Gallery in Claremont in late 2011.
About The Artist
Paul Deej has been a professional Artist, Illustrator and Graphic Designer for 12 years. Originally known for working within the digital realm, around 3 years ago he started painting canvas and murals in the traditional style of acrylic paint and aerosol, and found he had a overwhelming desire to capture his minds eye on this raw medium based in reality rather than a computer screen.
With a short time on the gallery scene, Deej has been a part of 20 solo and group shows within the past three years.
Deej has also made a name for himself over the years as a part of the ever growing Australian Hip Hop community in Perth and the eastern states, creating literally hundreds of event posters for local and interstate acts as well as many award winning album covers. Deej is also closely affiliated with the West Australian music collective known as Syllabolix.
With a passion for throwing around paint and a workaholic attitude for creating artwork, there is plenty more on the way from this esteemed Perth artist"
We’re looking forward to this one – its been a little bit since the last mad show in Perth, and this one is going to rock!
Who: Paul Deej What: Harlequins solo show Where: Kurb Gallery, 312a William St, Northbridge, Perth WA When: The exhibition runs for one week only, from Saturday April 27th until Friday May 3rd.
You might recognise Ryans work from the innumerable shows of his that we’ve covered, as well as from the interview we did with him some time ago – now, Ryan has a new show coming up at Paradise Hills, and it looks exquisite!
"In this new stunning body of work, ‘She’s the moon; Perception in the absence of stimulus’, Ryan explores mental illness in women, in particular hallucinations associated with schizophrenia. His drawings describe scenarios of hallucinations that are suspended between ambiguous states of fear and comfort, leaving the viewer to determine the circumstance.
After coming back from a residency in Finland and having a successful show with partner and collaborator Hollie M Kelley in Berlin last year, Ryan’s nomadic experiences have propelled his work down a darker and conceptually well rounded path based on his explorations in rural travel and family members that had been diagnosed with mental illness, in particular schizophrenia. His drawings are magical as they are unsettling, full of emotional dichotomies.
Please join the artist on Friday APRIL 19 for the opening of his first Melbourne solo exhibition, which will also include performances by bands EM VÉCUE AQUAIEU, HOUSE OF LAURENCE and HOTEL WRECKING CITY TRADERS and the solo vocal talents of GOLDWYN. Gallery opens at 6pm, music starts at 7pm."
Head down to Paradise Hills this Friday night to see it all for yourself – Ryans work is fantastic and we wish him the best of luck with the show!
Who: Ryan McGennisken What: She’s The Moon solo show Where: Paradise Hills, 8 Doonside St, Richmond, Victoria When: Show opens Friday 5th April from 6 – 10pm and runs until 11th May.
One of our favourite Perth lads, The Yok and Singaporean artist Sheryo both base themselves in New York City these days – which meant it was just a hop skip and a jump for then to head down to Mexico for a bit of a paint.
From Sheryo -
“Hello! The Yok and I just got back from a 2mths trip to Mexico where we painted for a festival, organised a Drink and Ink night. ( tattoo night ) and got in some surfing time.
The original sketches are available on heavyweight art paper or straight from the sketch book, please contact me for details if you are interested.”
Watch a fun video of the the first half of the trip here:
These guys have also done some amazing work at 5 Pointz and in Bushwick in the past week or two, really grand stuff.
Check out all the pics of their work in Mexico below, and get in quick if you want to buy any of them! Well be catching up with this pair when we hit NYC next month, so keep an eye out for more grandness to come!
We had news last week that one of Indonesias top street artists, Darbotz, will be heading down to Melbourne to have a solo show later this month. We’ve seen a bit of Darbotz work before, but we’re even more excited after having followed up on it all, and got a bit more info on the show from the guys at MiFA Asian Pacific Contemporary Art. This is going to be one rad show. Read on, and check it all out …
“Darbotz, one of Indonesia’s most loved graffiti artists will be presenting his first solo exhibition of street art in Melbourne. He is fast becoming one of the Asia Pacific’s most prolific street artists, and his growing reputation is brewing in the Melbourne street art scene.
Darbotz is an artist based in Jakarta, a complicated, hectic city drowning in colours and chaos. He tries to rescue the dirty streets of Jakarta by transforming walls with captivating images of his squid monster and hybrid squid King Kong monster.
The works from Monster Inside Us bring the streets of Jakarta into the gallery. Each piece shows how disturbances in the city and modern conveniences can create a monster within us.
He describes the brick wall as a ‘silent witness in every city’ as it is transformed by each person who decides to change it. Whether it is with posters and paint, or new construction and demolition. The wall becomes part-monster contributing to the chaos of a modern city, and yet, part-story teller, changing the stories on its surface over time.”
Take a look at a few more images of Darbotz work and skip down to the details of the show below!
Who: Darbotz What: Monster Inside Us solo show Where: MiFA Asian Pacific Contemporary Art, Level 1, 278 Collins Street, Melbourne Victoria, Australia. When: Show opens 28th March 2013 – 3rd May 2013. Hours Wednesday to Friday 10 to 5.30pm Sat 2- 6pm. Or by appointment
After the hectic bustle of Kuala Lumpur and an overeating dose of food for Chinese New Year, I headed back to Singapore. My first few days there were, yep, full of eating, and getting back to do some proper exploring was pretty exciting. In all my previous wanderings, I just hadn’t seen any signs of graff or street art. Not a single piece, or tag …
I mean, I didn’t see anything. It was so clean, so tidy and so manicured that I was a little despondent – I’d been told by so many people that if I wanted to see street art, then I was pretty fucked in Singapore.
Late last year I’d also read some news over at BSA that a Singaporean street artist, known only as “sticker Lady”, who had put up some really fkn cool stickers across the city on pedestrian crossing buttons, was facing a hefty dose of potential jail time and/or the cane for doing so. Thankfully, as far as I know, that didn’t eventuate and from all reports the legal system went quite easy on her – but it didn’t really fill me full of much optimism for any potential visit there.
Then, not too long before I left, I saw a piece in Melbournes Blender Laneway by two Singaporean artists, Ink & Clog – and I fkn loved it. I ended up interviewing them for the first issue of our upcoming print magazine, Damn It! (you’ll have to buy a copy when its out later this month to read it, but its a good one!) and my feelings on the place started to shift – here were two amazingly talented artists who were really making some headway with their art in a place reminiscent to Australia back in its zero tolerance, culturally wastelanded 90s period.
I kept in contact with Ink & Clog, and, a week after I arrived back from KL (Id been practically bed ridden when I got back) they invited me out to visit for the afternoon. Thats when discovered Sultans Gate – and my faith began to be restored.
After arriving in Sultans Gate (thankfully the bus took me right there, and I didn’t have to wander around wondering where the fuck I was) I walked down the street, and, almost as soon as I looked I saw something that had been missing from all my glances around Singapore – tags. You have no idea how much even seeing one tag restored my faith – here it was, visible proof that there really was something cool going on in Singapore.
Wandering down the road, I bumped into Ink & Clog heading to go and grab some food, so after a few bites they took me on a quick tour of the somewhat more artistic side of Singapore.
Our first stop was Blackbook – run by Slac Satu and crew. This is the place you go to get your paint, people. They had a good range, too, mostly the local paint – Zenith which was pretty damn affordable and much cheaper than anything we get in Australia. I didn’t try it out, but the colours looked good and I was assured it was pretty decent.
Blackbook being an artist run shop, it didn’t stop at the paint supply – it also has a whole bunch of art from Slac and others adorning the walls, so if you want to pick yourself up some pretty mad art direct from the source, it’s all there for you to see on the walls.
Blackbook used to have a big wall erected that they could paint on that ran behind the shop – I’m not sure if they were asked to take it down or whatever, but it wasn’t present when I visited. I was told that they wanted to erect it again and I hope they do – given that there are almost fuck all places for people to paint with any freedom in Singapore (more on that in part 2 of this article!), I reckon anything is better than nothing. As it stands, they did have a whole bunch of boards about the place that had been painted on – and they all rocked.
I highly recommend visiting these guys when you’re in Singapore – its around the back from Ink & Clog and Bein Store.
Oh yeah, and their cats were all pretty cool. Cats rule (sorry Lukey!).
We then stopped in at a really cool store right next door to Ink & Clogs studios – Bein Store. I loved this place, not only did it have some amazingly cool threads and other locally made products (the freakin watches there were mad), but it was packed full of sweet art as well.
One of the high lights of also checking out Bein was getting to see a bunch of the Hell Lotus custom toys on the shelves.
I’d heard of the “Hell Lotus works that Clog had done, and I remember a passage he said in the interview I did with him for Damn It! that didn’t make it into the piece -
“The Hell Lotus was initially inspired by a trip to Hong Kong in 2011 together with ANTZ, ZERO and Neo,” Clog explained in the interview answers he sent through to me for the Damn It! interview.
“We visited the giant sitting Buddha at a mountain tops. I was so blown away that I made a sketch of it in my black book. It was an illustration of sitting Buddha with his head splitting open, revealing a skull, encapsulated in it. Signifying that in us, there’s God, and in God, there’s us. When I got back to Singapore, I was approached by Mighty Jaxx to design a toy for them and the splitting Buddha head illustration caught their eyes. A few changes were made soon after due to religion sensitivity, and was adjusted accordingly to remain the same ideology but yet subtle.
The design of the Hell Lotus got thrown back and forth to make sure that design are firmed, and the prototyped was also checked that the artists impression of the Hell Lotus was perfectly done for the buyers. That was the most important stage for me, making sure that people receive what I received in my head.”
So, having already been worded up on these pieces, seeing them in the flesh was pretty rad. The guys at Bein were welcoming and friendly, and looked pretty proud of their space – and the should be, there’s not much like it in Singapore and we hope to see them do great things in the future.
We then made our way next door to Ink & Clogs new studios that they’ve recently set up – inside, was a veritable treasure trove of cool shit. Paintings, toys, materials and all the things needed to create amazing work – and there certainly was a lot of that around.
Having had a chance to peruse a bunch of their work, I was pretty well left just wanting to buy a whole bunch of it – alas, canvases and backpacks are not really the greatest of travelling companions, but I now have my heart set on getting something for my walls in future!
Of course, there was the obligatory stickered out fridge in their studios as well – with a couple of pretty recongisable additions to it!
I didn’t have a hell of a lot of time to hang out, unfortunately, so just before I left they gave me the only kind of gift an artist really loves a piece in my blackbook. I can’t thank them enough for this, I absolutely love it – and what impressed me also was just how quickly they did it together. This is a well oiled artistic duo, and in under ten minutes they were done and dusted with this gem.
My quick visit to Sultans Gate gave me a real sense of an underground artistic community amongst the high octane, business driven world of Singapore. Fortunately, I can now say for a fact that all those people who said that there isn’t anything worth seeing in the Singaporean underground arts scene were wrong. It may not be everywhere and all over the place like in Melbourne, but its most definitely there.
In the next part of this article, I’ll cover a lot more of the actual art I saw up on the walls, my feelings on the overall “scene” and “artistic culture” of Singapore, as well as a place that is doing some pretty cool shit in Singapore that I’m sure you’ll all love – Kult Gallery.
Until then, check out the rest of the pics I got from around Sultans Gate, Blackbook, Bein and Ink & Clog Studios.
If it’s one artist who never fails to make an impression, its Lush. We’ve interviewed him not once, but twice over the years, and followed his escapades across the globe and there hasn’t been much from him that we haven’t loved.
Evolution Of A Graffiti Shit Cunt (sorry to those who are so easily offended, we don’t censor shit haha!) sounds like it was a total blast – and, just one of those "you had to be there to believe it" shows.
Thankfully for us, after a bit of a hiatus, our good friend Lachlan Curtin-Corr was at the show to grab a whole bunch of photos for us – and we think you’ll agree with us, it’s always great to see Lachlans camera work here (theres just something about film!) – muchos gracias man!
I first discovered that Be Free was collaborating with Erin Green when I interviewed Be Free last year for Vandalog. I’m excited to hear that they are having their first show together, ‘Monster and the Girl’ at Egg Gallery in Collingwood.
The video below shows the girls painting the piece featured on the flyer below.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the girls have come up with for the show. The characters on the flyer are super cool, and I hope its a hint of what’s to come at the show. I’ve also been loving their work together on the street – their playful characters and walls are always well chosen. The show opens on the 8th of February and runs through to the 22nd, details below!
Be Free and Erin Greer
Be Free and Erin Greer (Photo courtesy of allthoseshapes)
Be Free & Erin Greer – Monster and the Girl (Photo courtesy of allthoseshapes)
Who: Be Free and Erin Greer
What: Monster and the Girl exhibition
Where: 66a Johnston st, Collingwood
When: Opening 6-9pm Friday February 8th and runs until February 22nd.
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.