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Save the date – Distractions opening

For any Melbourne art lovers, I’m showing a selection of my paintings and drawings in February at Imbibe, a great little wine bar in Port Melbourne (at the ‘Paris end’, not the trashy fake tan end).

I’ll provide previews over the coming weeks – hope to see you there.

Exhibition invite

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100 bottles of beer on the wall

This year South Melbourne’s iconic Prince Wine Store opted to ditch the inflatable Santa and plastic reindeer in exchange for some custom painted wine bottles.

The high profile store is a prime target for ‘tagging’, but the new artwork lasted the holiday season and well into the new year…it almost looked as though it would become a permanent fixture.

 

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It’s a raid! – The Palace Hotel South Melbourne

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.

from camera 025from camera 027 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.

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Imperfect veneer

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.

This piece will be available for purchase soon.

Enquiries to mark-cowell@hotmail.com

 

perfect

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Find the lovers

Hidden away in an alley opposite the South Melbourne markets is a new mural just for the lovers…follow the clues and try to find it?

from camera 003

 

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Unprepared painting

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.

the 6 sides

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Nostalgia and beer always go well together

I love my local pub.

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

The Palace Hotel South Melbourne

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Mmmm cheese

cheese lady at Harper and Blohm

It was a nice surprise to get a little bit of a mention in Melbourne newspaper, the Herald Sun.

I’ve been enjoying getting back into painting in the last year or two and it’s been nice to get some positive feedback. I’m very thankful and don’t take it for granted.

When I began doing this type of artwork in the mid-90’s it was hard to shake the negative connotations and baggage of painting with spraypaint. It’s great to experience more people enjoying the work without the old hangups around it.

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A trip to the barbers

Here’s the new addition to the interior of Top End Barbering Co in Melbourne.

The painting was a marathon 13 hour effort finishing at 3 am. Painting in an unventilated space, even with a spray painters mask,  I left dazed and had what was pretty much a toxic hangover. Next time, I’m renting an extractor fan.

topend barber shop

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Heath Ledger redux

The tribute to the iconic character played by Heath Ledger was initially painted in a cartoon like style by another artist.

I was asked to make it a little bit more life-like.  The artwork, popular with many locals, disappeared from the streets of Port Melbourne for a few months after garage door broke and needed replacement.

Now it has returned, hopefully better than the earlier version, to stand as a tribute to a young talent lost too soon.

Heath Ledger tribute