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

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

Working small – woman before the hangover

This small piece (35 x 35 cm) was created to enter the Bell Arti Prize at the Chapman and Bailey Gallery.

All entrants were provided an identical canvas to utilise, with no restriction on the theme or medium. Despite the small size, I was still keen to work with spray paint as the dominant medium. I used layers of spray paint, built up and scraped back to create depth and texture. I also used very thin layers of oil paint to  soften dense colour of the spray paint used. The idea was to create a soft, ghostly figure who was fading before us.

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Art not advertising

The irony of this little project isn’t lost on me.

Using an art form that I practiced unsanctioned as a youth to paint over illegally place advertising.

I’ve got a bit of beef with advertising poster companies…mixed with a small amount of  jealousy. You can vandalise pretty much anything you like if it’s an ad, poster advertisers are very difficult to prosecute. Whereas if I were to paint or place artwork in the same way I’d be in jail.

This time I got my own back on poster advertisers, being given a small commission to remove/paint over the offensive band posters.

Surf’s up!

I can’t remember getting a birthday present from my brother, I don’t think he’s ever got me anything.

Unlike the lucky guy who’s brother not only got him a custom board, but also gave me the board to whip up a little happy birthday lettering with custom family portrait…how thoughtful! I wish I could be reincarnated into this dudes family, looks like they have a lot of fun.

The board itself was more of a challenge than I expected. The markers that have a very limited colour palette and unlike paint, blending and shading doesn’t work particularly well. The piece was executed with line work and stippling rather than smooth grades of shading.  Posca paint markers are also very flat and chalky so I’m hoping the final coast of fibre glass makes the colours ‘pop’ a bit more.

I’d really like to do a few more of these, focusing on large images filling the whole board. I really like doing these customisations, working on canvas feels a little static, these types of things are fun and energetic.

A drawing with Spray paint is still just a drawing

This piece is a reworking of two simple ideas I used in earlier graffiti pieces. Both ideas tried to connect graffiti and drawing.

The first one showed normal New York style graffiti with section made to look hand painted or hand drawn. I think I did about five of these between 1998 and 2002, with the last version in 2002 being the more successful one.

The second idea was to simply replace one of graffiti writing most iconic style elements, the arrow, with pencils and paint brushes.

This piece is a further development along these lines. The motivation for this piece is  my continual dismay that people still get so upset and feel challenged  by what are simply my ‘big drawings’.

Colour Box Studios - Footscray (Melbourne western suburb)
Colour Box Studios – Footscray (Melbourne western suburb)

If you are in Melbourne you can visit the space. go to http://colourboxstudio.com/ for details

An obsession with the female face

Some older examples of painting the female face.  I’ve never formally studied painting or potraiture although I have done a little bit of life drawing. Most of my work has tended to lean towards solid lined work because of my graffiti background.

In future posts I’ll share newer work which has less rigid linework as I break away from what I learned through my early graffiti work.

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