The great thing about having learned my craft through ‘graffiti’ is that I’ve developed a strong work ethic, am comfortable trying new ideas and am not afraid to climb up onto a roof and get the job done, a very underrated skill for a contemporary artist (the downside to missing traditional academic study is talking about my personal work is difficult. I lack the vocabulary to engage in high-brow discussion with the ‘bow-tie’ crowd).
I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and work with some brilliant small business people like Grant and Jayne from Hidden Alley. They are about the friendliest people I’ve met in recent years and this is reflected in the sense of comfort at the bar. It’s just opposite the South Melbourne Markets, do your shopping and stop in for a beer or a coffee.
This little image gallery shows the process paint sketches which led to the final piece on the gold background.
I’m not a natural planner, I struggle to sit down and do meticulous preparation for paintings, perhaps that’s a discipline I would have learned if I had academic training in art. I much prefer working with spraypaint to traditional drawing materials, I can test a concept quickly and I think this method of preparing for paintings will stay with me for a long time now.
The Palace Hotel is a traditional style of pub in Melbourne. While there’s a few big screen TV’s to watch sports on, everything else focuses on building a great atmosphere for socialising. It’s also free of pokies (poker machines), that plague of money sucking zombie makers that have turned suburban pubs and clubs into boring soul-less boxes.
Hidden upstairs at the Palace is a beautiful open dining room for private functions, the type where you can easily picture a long wine soaked lunch with super-important people and it is here that there’s a private room. Completed with two humourous murals based on the classic ‘dogs playing poker’ pictures hanging in pubs the world over.
The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne has a secret room upstairs, with two new murals to compliment the space. I’ll post better photos once the mini-renovation project is complete.
This is the largest (non-graffiti) painting I’ve completed to date. Painted on two large, light weight ply doors the piece is 2m high x 164cm wide.
Since my short period working in advertising I’m acutely aware of the tricks used to mislead people about body image and beauty. I started by painting a portrait, similar to what you may see in a full page ad in a fashion magazine, then destroyed it. The result is a sequence of textures and layers, not unattractive, but not a celebrated reflection of aspirational beauty.
Without a traditional art background or training, one thing that has always been lacking in my recent art practice is preparation. Even when I was a graffiti writer (a long time ago) I’d see other writers had elaborate sketchbooks with full colour designs and I’d have a scrap of paper, containing a few loose shapes…planning has never been my forte.
These spray paint sketches have been an effort to change that and find middle ground between planning, testing and painting. I’ve started transferring these ideas into large formats recently, the smaller paintings act like a key or legend on a map to provide indicators moving forward.
They’re also small, affordable pieces in their own right.
Moving from Brisbane to Melbourne a few years ago, good pubs make the winters here bearable. My local pub is a classic warm friendly place with an honest menu and great beers from dedicated brewers…and it’s free of poker machines! (*I’m not anti-gambling but those machines ruin the atmosphere and are a source of misery in many places; keep them in the casino’s)
I jumped at the opportunity to contribute a bit of artwork to one of the courtyards. Based on an old advertising board from the 1930’s I recreated a classic Melbourne Bitter ad. The original ad looked strangely like an old American prairie scene with an Aussie ‘digger’ overlayed with the iconic Melbourne Bitter label.
If you live in or are visiting Melbourne pop in for a visit