Here is a mad collection pf photos from the Geelong Power House paint up which happened in December last year, it featured an amazing array of artists from Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and local artists.
This is such a big project I will be doing multiple posts as there are so many photos and too many dope pieces, so stay tuned till next time.
One day Rachel Bentley’s curiosity got the better of her and so she became seriously enthralled by and involved in documenting street art and graffiti, the opinions and favour, legalities and people involved; the result? Cutback a one hour feature and 3-4 hour online series / conglomeration of those involved, the nature of their art, the evolution of the culture, the collectors, the galleries…
The Melbourne launch was held above the infamous 3 level ‘Project Melbourne Underground’ in Emerald house with talks by Luke Mcmanus, Fletcher Andersen (Facter) and Rachel Bentley, on screen interviews with Makatron, Rone, Haha, Sandra and Andrew, Fletcher Anderesn, Ian Strange, Vexta, E.L.K and many more, and one incredible view from the balcony.
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.”
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!!
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!
Most people travel to experience the culture, food, tourist attractions or to shop. Not us – Facter and Daiso, along with friends Kringe and Quips, traveled to Jakarta with the sole intention of painting and connecting with the local writers. Although it was a short trip, and an intense one, it was by far one of the best holiday’s ever.
This is just a small gist of what happen throughout the trip … oh, and don’t forget to click the images for larger sizes …
Day 1 – Arrival
Facter: It was my last day of a 5 month stint working between Singapore and Shanghai – myself and Daiso had been talking about doing a weekend away to paint, and I figured it was a good time for it as I was due to head back to Melbourne the following week. We tossed up a few options, Manila, Vietnam, but really there was only one place we hadn’t been where we felt like we really needed to go – Jakarta. We’d heard so much about the vibrant graffiti scene there, that it was a pretty much a no-brainer. So we finished up work, jumped on the MRT on the Friday afternoon, and headed to the airport.
Daiso:We arrived in Jakarta on the Friday night – we were all pretty tired after work. When we got to the airport in Jakarta, we had two other friends from Singapore, Kringe and Quips, who were joining us for the weekend, so we waited for them for about an hour or so for them to arrive. Took a cab down to our hostel. When we finally reached our hostel (Six Degrees Hostel) all we did was check in, grab a beer and headed up to the roof top with our sketch books to start working on what we’re going to put up the next day.
The Hostel was pretty decent compared to other hostel’s I’ve lived in before in other places – great people, nice atmosphere and a real bargain.
Day 2 – Gardu House & Local Walls
Daiso:Woke up at 9 am, headed down to to the lobby for breakfast with the boys. Took a cab down to Gardu house, where the cab driver brought us on a two hour long ride which cost us RP 200,000 (about sgd $20) . Thank goodness for GPS Facter and I both had our GPS’s on our phones on and where tracking where this guy was going. So eventually he dropped us off at our destination and we spend about another 20 minutes trying to figure out where Gardu House actually was. Finally we found it, met Cloze and a few other local writers. Exchanged some slaps (stickers), and bought some cans. If you’re ever traveling up to Indonesia especially Jakarta a good brand to try out is RHEMA, its their local cans manufactured in the same factory in China as some other brands, however it felt like it had a similar formula to Flame. These have great coverage, the caps don’t clog up and they work great.
Eventually after settling all of that, Cloze brought me out on his bike to get some buff paint and rollers and showed me the spot we were going to paint. Damn, that was one scary bike ride, nearly got run down by some maniac driver.
Got back to Gardu House after getting more supplies, headed down to the spot by a taxi and started painting a production with the guys. This was really just the four of us, three Singaporeans and one Australian, working the wall while Cloze was watching.
Eventually there were a group of ten to fifteen children sitting around quietly and asking us what we were up to and what “picture” we were putting up. Good thing I understand a little Bahasa,the rest of the guys were clueless, even when a well dressed drug dealer came up and asked them if they wanted drugs they were like, “hey dude, what is he saying?”
Facter: Oh man, Jakarta traffic. What should have been twenty minutes took us two hours, with the cabbie going the wrong way a few times – I’d heard the traffic was bad, but damn! When we arrived at Gardu house, we weren’t sure if we were in the right location at first, but we quickly found it upstairs from a motorbike workshop and cafe. All the dudes were really welcoming, showing us around the place – have to say, that Gardu House is great – a really nice community, and a great bunch of artists doing great things. The Rhema paint was indeed pretty nice, and though they also had Ironlak and a bunch of Montana, we opted to go local – which was a good decision! Though I couldn’t tell you exactly where it was we were painting, it was a pretty dope spot – we smashed out a few pieces and charos – all round great day.
We also met some of the younger local local writers who were putting up some nice burners in the same spot, cool dudes.
Eventually, we got back to the hostel – tired, covered in paint and sweat, we sat down and did the only thing you can really do after such a day – draw, and drink beer. Okay, maybe a little too much beer.
Day 3 – Red Walls
Daiso:The boys woke up late, ignored their alarms and we had an appointment with the guys at Gardu House to get there by 10am and plan out a big production. All we knew was that they had organised a massive wall for about nine of us to paint.
Facter:Okay, lets get this clear – we were all quite hungover (hence the maybe too much beer thing), and what happens? Daiso wakes up early, before time, and then sits there and listens to all of us sleep through our alarms – does he wake us up knowing we have to be somewhere? Nahhh, of course he doesn’t!! Bastard. Oh and yeah – payback is a bitch … haha.
So we rushed about and got our shit together, heads more than a little sore, went up to 7/11 to get some supplies, making sure we looked down at the ground as we did – Jakarta sidewalks are not … how shall we say, all that awesome and the risk of falling into potholes in our less than morning-healthy state was high haha. Having had the previous days cab experience, we were all glued to our GPSs, making sure that we got there alright – and this time managed to get to Gardu with only half the amount of money we’d spent the previous day! Rule of thumb – keep your eyes on the GPS in JKT cabs! We arrived at Gardu House with more than enough time to spare, and waited for some of the other local writers to arrive.
After we all assembled, we jumped in a cab and followed the rest on their bikes – weaving through the traffic to our destination. After half an hour or so, we passed through a guarded gate and into what looked like a bunch of fields, and older styled buildings. It had a real village field to it, and as we pulled up to the wall we were going to paint, the sound of the morning prayers echoed from the local mosque. It was, in all, one of the most perfect spots to paint Id ever been in.
Before we started, we checked out the wall – some random stuff on there, and it was a pretty great space. Some of the guys then went and grabbed some buff, we all got allocated some spots, and we got down to it. Joining me, Daiso Quips and Kringe were Cloze, Add17, Koma, Mr Wormo and Menow – a really great bunch of dudes.
Throughout the day, we once again had our own big audience – groups of kids sitting and playing all around us, watching and enjoying. At one stage, a local police officer turned up – which had me wondering for a moment, as we weren’t completely sure if the spots we were painting was entirely okay, but all he did was laugh and smile – I guess if the community was happy at what was going on, he was happy. Even the goats that were running around seemed happy – everyone was smiling.
Daiso: Unfortunately our other two mates, Kringe and Quips, had to leave home the same day we finished this painting, and it was even more unfortunate that their flight was cancelled and had to take the 2.00AM flight out of Jakarta. Facter and I stayed on – I just wanted to have a quiet one, after two nights of drinking and sketching we thought the final night would be a little different.
So I thought, anyways, but Facter and the owners (three great guys, an Irishman, Englishman and Australian) became friends over a few beers, and they invited us to paint the roof of their hostel the next day (if we had time), but I didn’t really take it too seriously. Went up to the roof again had a few beers did some sketching until pretty late. Then headed off to bed.
Day 4 – Six Degrees & Home
Daiso:Woke up hungover, had a few coffees and watched a movie. Eventually whilst having a cigarette one of the owners saw one of the sketches which I did and asked if I was still going to paint it. Sure, I’m up for anything, but we just don’t have any paint with us. Google and Instagram saved the day – somehow we managed to find the TagKingStore nearby. Dave, the owner dude, went on a mission and got us a bunch of cans and the colours we needed and we did a quick three hour piece for them – right up to the hour we had to go to the airport to get our flight back. Got a bunch of free beers, a cab ride up to the airport paid for by the hostel, as a thank you for painting the walls, and sent us on our merry way to rush for our flight.
All in all it was one of the best holidays ever, even though we didn’t get to experience much of the local tourist stuff, food or culture that normal tourists would – but we did get to experience the Indonesian Writer’s Culture.
Facter: There was a lot of stuff we wanted to do on our last day, catch up with a few people that we didn’t get to meet, explore a bit and do all that – but exhaustion had set in. Little sleep, too much booze and a crapload of painting – we were knackered.
That said, when Dave from Six Degrees turned up with paint later in the afternoon, we got right down to it in the dwindling hours – and it was a really fun afternoon, even if we didnt have much time and we were painting against the clock. We threw some stuff up that turned out half decent, literally painted up to the second our taxi arrived – I was scraping paint off my nails on the ride to the airport.
I loved our stay at Six Degrees Hostel, really open and welcoming place, and the people that run it are superb – it was a great little haven away from the hectic streets of Jakarta.
One thing on our trip summed up Jakarta for me completely, and its things like it that are why I love travelling and meeting artists in different cities. When we were finishing off the Red Wall on the previous day, we noticed that no one had put up their names next to their works, curious about this, we asked them why no one had tagged up – the guys just smiled, and said “No need, we’re all family here.”
Jakarta, it’s artists and its scene is amazing, one of the most vibrant and welcoming cities for graffiti and street artists I have ever come across. Beyond the bustle, the chaos of its roads and its somtimes less than clear air, beats the heart and soul of creativity – its really one of that places where art truly does find a way to bring beauty to its urban environment. I’m looking forward to seeing it grow from strength to strength over the coming years, and seeing what the various crews get up to.
Can’t wait to head back and do it all again!
Check out the full gallery of the trip below, and all the art we found and painted!!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.