Melbourne artist Shawn Lu has created his recent mural, The Biker, outside the Juddy Roller studios in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
The Biker was completed over three days using house-hold acrylic paint and a brush, which allowed for the level of detail indicative of Shawn’s drawing style.
The video gives an insight into the artist’s process and development of the mural, beginning with his sketch and concluding with a time-lapse of the mural being completed.
The Biker resonates the feeling of wanting to escape to nowhere in particular, and having gotten there enjoying a quiet reflective moment.
Shawn is an artist who creates scenes inspired by modern folk-lore and urban legend. Practicing mainly as an illustrator, his detailed pen and ink drawings are reminiscent of etchings by Gustave Dore. He works out of the Juddy Roller Studios in Melbourne.
To see more of Shawn’s work, go to his website: shamuslu.com, or find him on Instagram: @shamuslu
Ohh, here we go again – Dean Sunshine puts together another stunning top ten of all that has been grand and fkn mad around Melbourne in May! A lot of really fine stuff here, especially this dope building from Mayo as always – enjoy!!
A few weeks ago, a new volume depicting the history of Melbourne art was released into the publics eye – this was not the usual art tome, but one that covered a subject that had not been covered in print for almost thirty years – public sculpture in Melbourne.
Alongside the old weathered items from days gone by, the Melbourne public sculpture “collection” has grown over the years, as well as having modernised and followed the trends of other public art. Not only have newer sculptures in contemporary style emerged, this gallery of inanimate beauty has also spread out to encompass a variety of different “street art” forms of public sculpture.
The books author, Mark Holsworth, has been a good friend for many years. We first met way back when I was helping out with running the Sweet Streets street art festival, but I had been following his blog “Melbourne Art Critic” for a much longer time than that. In fact, it was his blog, and the way that he wrote it, that was one of the many reasons that spurred me on to create Invurt.
As one of Australias few (if, only), art critics who has also delved into the waters of street art and graffiti over the years, his journey as a writer has not always been smooth, with the misunderstanding amongst such a community as to the critics part in it all – and, immeasurably, the local Melbourne scene, (though not always evident to some to whom he turns his critical eye towards), is lucky to have him. We get the chance to hear the words of a man for whom art is a passion, but who also has a deeply critical and analytical mind that he is able to apply to such a many and varied artistic culture. Whether he is speaking of art or the varied cultural facets of the urban metropolis we live and create within, Marks often direct, flat and obtrusive words often cut right to the core of a matter. Personally, I have always found his opinions on point, even if I have not always entirely agreed them them, and I value his wisdom and input on all things artistic, so it was with a lot of joy late last year that I heard he had embarked on this endevour to write his first book on a subject that he held so dear.
Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you yourself gained such a keen interest in art in the public space?
Starting a blog turned out to be one of my biggest positive life changing experiences, probably more life changing than writing my Master’s thesis on Duchamp’s readymades and less self indulgent than trying to be another artist. I’d been trying to be some kind of an artist all my life from playwright, to playing in bands, to painting.
When I started a blog I knew that I didn’t just want to write about art in galleries because not all art is in art galleries. Graffiti, street art and public sculpture were the most obvious examples. Writing the blog made me more interested in street art and public art because it gave me a reason to look and learn and the more I learnt, saw and thought the more interested I became. I walked around exploring the city. I became so interested in street art that I volunteered for the Stencil Festival and Sweet Streets for three years.
As a critic and a writer, what do you believe are the most difficult parts of what you do, and write about?
Getting my thoughts into words is hard. Deciding what to spend time going to see and researching, all the options, is sometimes harder. What if I miss out on something really good? Actually, the hardest is writing about the average and most art is average, the two and three star review (not that I give stars), to say both yes and no with the right balance between them.
What are some of the biggest misassumptions that people have about your writing, when you are writing critical articles. Do people often see them as just “taking the piss” or attacking, or do they generally understand the direction of what you’re doing – indeed, the whole critical evaluation of it all?
There are people who think that my writing is an attack on them, or an artist that they admire and I find that much stranger than an artist taking it personally.
The word ‘critic’ is often misunderstood but the biggest misassumption from everyone, artists to the public, is that I’m part of the publicity department. I know that in a way that I am, that for an artist or gallery any media mention is publicity, but that isn’t what I want my main purpose to be. Publicity doesn’t really embrace alternative views, they want you to be ‘on message’. I want to help people to think more about the art they are seeing by providing my thoughts, the details that I observe and what I’ve been able to find out.
This is your first book – how did it all come about and what spurred you on in undertaking such a project?
Mercenary reasons, I really wanted to write a book. There were too many books on street art on the market and there hadn’t been a book on Melbourne’s sculptures since the early 1980s. I could still combine my interest in street art because of street art sculptors. I had already done a lot of the research for my blog, so strategically it was a good idea. It then took two years to get a plan for the book and a first chapter together to show a publisher.
What have been some of the most challenging aspect of putting it all together?
Getting the photographs for the book. I had no idea what I was doing there and no experience. Ugh, the horror, I don’t really want to think about it even now. It took another six months just to get the photographs together. Somehow it all worked out and there are some beautiful photographs in the book by a whole range of photographers.
Often, some of the older sculptures of Melbourne are often seen, but the awareness that they are “there” doesn’t always register, they are such a integrated part of the public landscape that many are just “there” – why should people pay more attention to the sculptures around the city?
I don’t know if they should but maybe it would be a good thing if people paid more attention to what is around them, rather than celebrities and other commercial fantasies.
I know its a hard question – but in your mind, what are some of the most important sculptures that we have in our public spaces? What are the most overlooked, and which ones really scream I *am* Melbourne? Can you give us a good run down on some of the cities most interesting pieces?
A very hard question, it ties into the big question of what sculpture to put on the front cover of the book. That was resolved when I saw Matto Lucas’s photo of one of the buttress groups on the Shrine of Remembrance with Melbourne skyline in the background. It is a difficult question because what is important and good in public art keeps on changing from the old fashioned idea of making a place ‘civilised’ by putting a statue on a plinth, to the modern idea of being first and now, when it might be what makes you want to take a photo. Also the idea of what is Melbourne keeps on changing, the city is growing and what ever Melbourne is, it is also an identity that many different groups of people want to make their own.
The most overlooked is a much easier question, they are mostly in Footscray. I’d never been to Footscray before I started this book. In the middle of the Footscray shopping centre there is Wominjeka Tarnuk Yooroom (also known as Welcome Bowl), a group of rocks misted with water vapour, a reference to Aboriginal smoking ceremonies. The mist is also a lot of fun for children and dogs. There is also a Bruce Armstrong sculpture in a quiet suburban street in Footscray and a sculpture by a sculpture by a notable, American minimalist.
I’ve been working on a blog post: “The ten best public sculptures in Melbourne that you have probably never seen.” So here are the top 3:
Springthorpe Memorial. If you have never been to the cemetery in Kew then you will not have seen this over the top, late-Victorian masterpiece of sentimentality created by an all star team for a woman who died in childbirth.
Will Coles, various objects around the city.
Reg Parker, Untitled, Preston Public Library. Forget all the hype around Ron Robertson-Swann’s Vault, this is actually the first abstract public sculpture still on public display and still in its original location.
What is the most interesting back story to a sculpture you came across in the course of writing your book? Every piece of art has a story, but what have been some of the stranger ones you’ve encountered?
The William Stanford fountain at the entrance to Parliament Station that was carved by William Stanford when he was a prisoner in Pentridge Prison. Stanford was in prison sentenced to 22 years for highway robbery and horse stealing. He was an apprentice stonemason who had come to the gold fields but had no luck. In prison he continued to be a serious problem until one day during a search of his cell, warders turned up a small knife and a beautifully carved bone figure of a woman. The prison governor then encouraged him to carve and Stanford was no longer a discipline problem.
The fountain is carved out of hard local granite as the prison wasn’t going to go to the expense of getting him stone to carve and it cost Stanford his life from inhaling the fine dust particles from the stone. He got an early release due to ill health, married twice and had a couple of children before dying ten years later.
Melbourne has over the past decade or so undergone a huge renaissance in public art, specifically street art, what do you think have been some of the biggest changes in public awareness towards the art, and what so you think Melbourne is doing right – and wrong, in terms of public art?
There are so many new sculptures in Melbourne and most of them are street art, but it has actually taken multiple generations to get to this point. It has taken generations to change people’s minds about what art can be, today’s diversity of types of sculpture. It is hard to imagine that Melbourne was obsessed with Vault (Yellow Peril) for over a year in 1980 when people are so accepting of the work of Will Coles, Nick Ilton and Mal Function now. However, most of the people who were objecting to Vault were 48+ years in 1980, so there can’t be many of them still alive now. It has also taken generations of city planning to understand how to commission and locate public art, I was amazed that such a long term plan could work but if it didn’t then post-industrial Melbourne might now be like Detroit.
I think that understanding that public art didn’t have to be permanent is the best thing that both artists, including street artists, and local councils have done. It has meant that there are more sculptures and more different types of sculpture partially because the cost of making a temporary sculpture is so much less than one of bronze and stone. At the extreme end Junky Projects only costs new nails and occasionally some spray paint.
Now that the book is done, what do you have planned next? what other things do you wish to write about, and what more can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve got a lot of work to do next promoting, as well as, continuing writing my blog. Asking what I’m going to write next, is one of the hardest questions.
I’d like to write about art collections of the wealthy and indulgent. Cheers.
Dean Sunshine, despite being one busy ass man lately with his recent arrival, has sent us through his lately Top 10 – and it’s an absolute cracker as it always is. I always look forward to this every month, because the man with his unbound dedication always manages to capture shit that even I haven’t seen – and his passion for it all just keeps on shining on.
Check out all the pics below for what waa great and hot throughout Melbourne in April!
Rad video here that was put together from a project that the masterminds at Juddy Roller organised – read on about the whole thing!
“With the support of CitiPower (Powercor), The Neighbourhood Justice Centre and City of Yarra, Juddy Roller transformed the Collingwood power substation at the corner of Easey Street and Wellington Street into one of Melbourne’s most iconic pieces of public art.
The graffiti treatment was a collaboration between some of the most sought after and influential contemporary street artists including Rone, Adnate, Mayo, Guido Van Helton and Askew. The monochromatic artwork was carefully curated, balancing community aesthetic and implementing subtle graffiti deterring features. Background and portraits by Askew, script by Mayo and photo realistic portraits by Rone, Guido and Adnate.
The power station is an stand-out example of how street art and graffiti aesthetics can be combined to create a lasting, positive impression on the community whilst having a strong anti graffiti and impact.”
This is yet another fine ass video from our mate EdinFocus – keep them coming bro, keep them coming!!
Super excited about this!! My good buddy Mark Holsworth has been working on this labour of love for some time now, and its finally getting to see the light of day! Encompassing Melbournes public sculpture in all its forms since way back at the beginning, til now – and all that street art stuff, this is a book to grab hold of, and a launch to get your ass to!
“Melbourne Books to launch one of the city’s most awaited art books.
Melbourne has an impressive number of sculptures on public display throughout the city. Just wander Melbourne’s city streets, gardens and laneways and you will undoubtedly find some magnificent public sculptures – from historical and religious icons to playful literary and social figures – all with rich historical weight. The book Sculptures of Melbourne explores major changes in the nature of public sculpture.
When Melbourne was established, sculpture was heavily influenced by the colonial legacy of neo-classical bronze and marble statues. From 1980 onwards, public sculpture changed dramatically, not only in style but in materials, location and sheer numbers.
This book, which includes controversial modernist sculptures such as ‘The Yellow Peril’ as well as unofficial laneway installations, tells the story of how the shifting trends in public sculpture moved from a classical style, to commemorative, to a corporate modernist style, to being integrated into urban design, and finally evolving into a contemporary style, which is non-traditional and temporary. Critics have unanimously hailed Melbourne’s collection of sculptures as notable narratives of place and time, which whilst stylistically different, have also established specific reference points and provided a rich reflection of the history of the city. These sculptures have come a long way from serving their decorative and utilitarian functions in the 1800s, to now embedding a strong historical beauty that is both permanent and ephemeral.
This is set to be one of year’s most memorable book milaunches! Don’t miss the sculptures, the installation works and the music.”
… and you know whats awesome? There is not one, but two book launches happening!
“Melbourne Books is pleased to announce two upcoming book launches of Sculptures of Melbourne by Mark S. Holsworth.
Come to Gallery One Three on Friday May 1 from 6pm for the launch party! The evening will include jazz (including The Smoking Owl – a fusion of live electronica, jazz, installation and new aesthetics) cocktails and artists at work! Mark Holsworth will be there to chat and sign books…
Then come to the Melbourne Art Book Fair at NGV International, where Sculptures of Melbourne will be launched on Sunday May 3 at 12noon in the Great Hall during the Fair!”
The inaugural Melbourne Art Book Fair at NGV International gathers together some of the most creative Australian and international book designers and publishers in an architecturally designed experience in NGV’s Great Hall.
So come along, entry is free and you can also take a look at the wares of some of the country’s leading publishers.”
We’ve got a lot more on this whole thing coming up, but for now – book in Friday and Sunday, and go get yourself a copy this weekend – and Friday sounds like a grand exhibition as well!!
Who: Mark Holsworth What: Sculptures Of Melbourne book launch Where & When:
Gallery One Three on Friday May 1 from 6pm
Melbourne Art Book Fair at NGV International, where Sculptures of Melbourne will be launched on Sunday May 3 from 12noon in the Great Hall
Well, big time apologies for this being up so late (and to Dean!), I’ve recently re-located up to Singapore (again) and shit has been pretty damn hectic!
Yet another great selection here from Mr Sunshine, yet again capturing a whole bunch of rad shit from around the streets of Melbourne – check out his Top 10 for MArch 2015. Some grand Melbourne street art and graffiti amongst this lot!
For over five years, Invurt.com and Land Of Sunshine have been documenting the fleeting and ephemeral artwork around the streets of Australia, particularly in their home town of Melbourne. In this period, they have documented thousands of walls and street art events via both photographs, interviews and articles. As two of Australias most eminent authorities on street art, they have, over this time, ceaselessly collaborated promote the Australian scene and its artists to a global audience.
As one of the worlds top destinations for street art, Melbourne offers a plethora of works from a contingent of hundreds of local artists, and as a global mecca for graffiti and street art it also attracts a large number of international artists to its walls.The Melbourne Street Art collection on the Google street art site contains a small slice of some of these remarkable painting projects, many works of which have, as ephemeral as it is, now departed, recorded only in the pixels within these digital archives.
With photography by Dean Sunshine and David Russell, and curated by local Melbourne artist and editor of Invurt.com, Facter (Fletcher Andersen), as well as Luke McManus, this showcase of works is blessed by a bountiful amount of high quality, top level art from across Melbourne.
“There is always a story to tell when it comes to the streets of Melbourne and its art, and we hope that by adding a little slice of Melbourne to such a massive global project, that people from around the world can easily view these amazing works within the Google Street Art platform,” said Facter. “We are extremely proud to have partnered with Google in this endeavour. One of our primary missions here is to document the ephemeral artwork and our scene, across Australia, and we couldn’t have been happier to have been given this opportunity to do so.”
Regular updates will be undertaken on these exhibitions, as Invurt and Land Of Sunshine continue on their mission to bring the best of Melbourne street art and graffiti to the people of the world.You can find the Melbourne Street Art by Invurt and Land Of Sunshine page on the Google Cultural institute website by the short link http://google.invurt.com or by going directly to the websitehttps://streetart.withgoogle.com/ #streetartproject #invurt
Well, Dean Sunshine has had a crazy busy month the last month (join us all in congratulating him on the recent birth of his baby boy!), but, he still had a bit of time to get his camera out and snap a whole bunch of great pics from around Melbourne of some of the finest street art we’ve seen yet.
Check out all the pics from his latest Top 10 below!
In case you missed the epic Paterson Project as always I managed to get a bunch of pics, showing all the amazing pieces the artists painted on panels supplied, which were then auctioned at the event and all proceeds from the night going to charity
This event showed how artists from all backgrounds can come together and create an amazing night with only a few weeks to put it together, with over 110 artists you can bet it was something pretty special.