Friday, May 31, 2013

5 Questions with........Will Coles

I first discovered Will Coles' work on my debut exploration of the iconic May Lane.  

It was a rainy public holiday, not many people out and me trying to balance an umbrella under my chin and resting on one shoulder, whilst trying to keep my camera dry yet obtain that first photo.

From that moment I learned one must suffer with whiplash of the eyes and the neck in order to find some of his elusive installations.

Here are my 5 questions with Will Coles

Sadly we live in a world that is determined by categories (which I know you are a tad ambivalent about!).  You have been labelled a sculptor, artist, street artist, urban artist and more.  

If you had to, how would you define yourself (as a person) and your art?

I'm a sculptor, just to sum up that I am an artist that works in 3D.  Everything else is labels, often fashionable ones that become obsolete or out of fashion quickly (how much time does "street art" have left?).  My stuff is urban because it just loses relevance in the countryside.  My works is a mix of Conceptual & Pop, and falls in to a group of "art for the people" that goes back beyond graff, beyond Social Realism, beyond Hogarth.

The category "street art" has become a dumping ground by people for stuff that doesn't fit in other categories. For example: it's not graffiti, but it's outside; it could be 2D or 3D, permanent or temporary; mural, installation, intellectual or dumb-arse.

Occasionally it's a category used by pop artists that don't want to be known as "Pop Artists" or by galleries to spruik their latest supposed bright young thing (whose work looks a bit too much like someone else's).  Graffiti could exist with or without street art, but "street art" as a movement of genre wouldn't exist without graff.

Can you give me a little bit of your background: how did your style evolve?

I've always sculpted.  My grandfather was a sculptor of incredible skill, so he's been the biggest artistic influence in my life.

I grew up in a countryside outside a small village in England: very green & very quiet.  I hated sport and liked reading: wrong choices if you don't want to get picked on, so I spent a lot of time in books.

My "style" evolves constantly.  When I was 16 I thought "well, I'll have a style by the time I'm old, like 25 or something"!  An artist or a movement can change things: like Rodin or the "Subway Art" book; more recently Chinese sculpture is shitting all over the Western world's art, which is why the Western art institutions are largely trying to ignore that elephant in the room!

Artists I loved when I was 16 now seem basic or even borrowing of others (like Henry Moore of Barbara Hepworth) & artists I thought were weak now seem incredibly strong, like Ian Hamilton Finlay.

What inspires your creativity?

Art! I go to White Rabbit Gallery & spend ages in their library. Melbourne, grimy dirty stone paved lane ways full of graff & stencils. European museums are an overload, I can spend a day in somewhere like the Louvre, pass out  for the night then go back again, thousands of years of art in one building, that’s beautiful. So many art blogs & sculpture tumblrs, only those that lived before internetz can understand the awesomeness of it.

Non-art? Everything! Whisky, E’s, cigars, my girlfriend, talking shit with mates, clay, plastercine, picture books, birds, beetles,  French & Chinese films, drum’n’bass/jungle, perfumes, documentaries, old poetry, porn, trees, you know, the usual.

I love the fact that for people like myself, it's a treasure hunt and on occasion I have walked past many your pieces on return journeys to the point of exclaiming audibly "oh my GOD!  I've only walked past it about a million times!  how did i NOT see it!"

Do you deliberately place your pieces in "known" areas and then extend your boundaries to the "let's see who will find it first": almost like a cat and mouse game?

Usually I do both.  I'll place some in really obvious places, they'll get seen by loads of people, but also risk being taken the quickest.  I hide some hoping they will last the longest.

I found that sometimes they (my pieces) get used as a treasure hunt.  If people know there are 10 remote control sculptures and they've seen 9, they will keep looking and others will give them clues.  People often love the hunt rather than being told where to find (which is 2095's preferred method to the point where she will deliberately not even look at fellow photographer's pieces posted online at times!)

They have to be found as they are meant to be seen.  The whole point is to create a thought.  Some people can't be made to think: they are often happy not thinking about it & that's fine, that's their life, as long as they don't whinge about being powerless easily led sheep.

Evolve or die!

I love that your works are permanent, until some dude or dudette deems it necessary to deface or remove them.  Can you describe how long each piece takes from start to finish, and I know they say "you're only as good as your last piece of work", but which (if any) do you feel is a true reflection of Will Coles?

It's usually a boring process which each piece.  I find the right object by: stumbling upon it, searching for it or occasionally I seem to will it in to existence (ie. it turns up in the road outside my studio and it's just what I was looking for).

I then make a rubber mould then a plaster cast, carve  in letters, then make a second rubber mould from that, then cast it in cement.  Those are the small ones which  I've done thousands of by now.

Whichever piece is my favourite depends upon how happy or down I am at the time. There are too many: big, small, concrete, resin, indoor, outdoor, in-your-face, subtle.....I couldn't choose.  

All are like little children but also orphans, once they are done and then glued down or sold.  But I have to move on


With a pictorial final flourish, that is my 5 questions with Will Coles.

Will has also kindly allowed me to use (a minuscule amount I must add!) photographs of his pieces.  And as noted above, no locations are indicated: get on the treasure hunt yourselves!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 Questions with......Damedismember

When I first started to trapse around the Inner West in my quest for streetart, I noticed the most peculiar yet incredibly fascinating paste up of what appeared to be a dog screaming like a banshee.

As I continued my street pounding, this image kept coming back to me and I pondered over it (almost to the point of obsession) wondering what type of person had the creativity within to produce such a piece.

Here are my 5 questions with the artist  in question: Damedismember

What is the genesis behind your streetname?

The name sprung from the act of pulling pictures apart.  Dismembering them in a sense. I wanted a name that was a visceral word to match the violent nature of my work. I liked the idea of combining a feminine title with a very masculine word.

I toyed with other names, like MzMorph or Jackie the Ripperette, but they lacked the punch of the word "Dismember"

Who or what inspires your creativity?

Music plays a role, specifically electronic music, which I think is assemblage music. Power electronics for the most part.  I like the formless grubby nature of artists like Brighter Death Now & Whitehouse.  

I love the work of Francis Bacon, Chet Zar, Gottfried Helnwein, Chris Mars & Suzan Blac to name a few.

I'm not sure they influence my art directly but I do think they inspire my need to create images.

True crime docos, industrial textures, David Lynch films.  Life in general.

Your images are quite complex, at times confronting, yet hauntingly beautiful.  Can you explain the process of achieving these images?

I usually go through loads of magazines to find a face that grabs me.  Something like the texture of the skin or the way the mouth is open to expose teeth.

Old photography magazines are a definite favourite.  I never have a set idea of how a portrait will look.  It's always a surprise to see the end result.

From the first snip to the last cut: it's a mystery.  I honestly don't know where it comes from.

You do have a day job because obviously the rent needs to be paid.  How frustrating does this become & does it interfere with your creativity?

Works supports my art habit I suppose.  I find work take a lot of energy, dealing with the public, the commute etc.  So the biggest problem would be fatigue.  

I do get the best ideas from the ennui of work, but when I get home it is hard to get the scissors and glue out.

But as I said, it supports my art habit.

How would you describe your art in 5 words

Image, scalpel, scissors, glue, paste-up (I'll leave the rest up to the observer of my images)


A massive thank you to Damedismember for sharing a bit of her world with the mine and yours.

For a bit more insight in to this amazing artist's works, swing by 2095 StreetArt Collective "here"
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5 Questions with Cheungha Lim

Through my love of photography and most especially (even fanatically so) Streetart, I have been fortunate enough to have met and become friends with quite a few of these artists and this is one of their stories.

My first encounter with Cheungha was shortly after "Outpost Art from the Streets" on Cockatoo Island back in 2011.  I was contacted via Facebook by another artist (Andros) who asked if I would be interested in doing some preview shots for the first Painting Grounds Live Art Exhibition.

Naturally I said yes!  We met up at Tortuga Studios and I was suddenly catapulted into a world I could only ever hope of entering. Amidst all the creative noises, music and quiet chaos, I noticed some amazing pieces of flowingly liquidity type art and instantly fell in love with them.

Those pieces belonged to the artist Cheungha Lim.  Over time we have become attuned with each other's passions via photography and the mandatory facebook communicado.

So here are my Five Questions with Cheungha Lim.

What inspires you?

Salvador Dali, Escher, Selena French, a few friends who are also artists (like David Crystalface and Sebastian Grant) and different genres of music also make me see colours and rhythm on paper

How did your style evolve?

I actually started drawing properly when my roommate (Elise) gave me a leftover pack of crayons and pastels.  I just kept drawing & painting using different types of mediums such as lipsticks that were given to me by my mother.  It's been nearly 10 years.

Whenever I'm in a situation where I have to wait then generally I will have my pad and doodle away, or (basically) whenever I can, especially if I'm tense or bored.

Do you find yourself becoming creative through emotion?

I find myself relieved when I draw: after a fight or being sensitive to others who are aggressive. So yes I'm reactively creative, especially after traumatic or tense situations.

Are you one of those "this is the timeline and I must achieve a target by a  certain date" people?

No.  I am not one of those people.  I drive myself because I am passionate and inspired: not for money or infringing my freedom by meeting a deadline, which is to me very restricting as an artist.  

Yet the contradicting factor to me is although a lot of the shows and exhibitions do have deadlines, if I am meant to then I will "synchronise" as I like to put it.

What do you think the future holds for Cheungha?

I've got live art coming up for "This Just Happened" with Electra de Christabelle and David Crystalface, a Group Show at MA Gallery with El Camino Events (21st June 2013) and I'm also planning to do a Solo/Collab show in the upcoming year.

So there you have it.  Cheungha has kindly allowed me to post some of her works in this little piece and hopefully many of you, like me , can see the beauty which is simple in  its complexity, hypnotic yet calming in her work and possibly buy a piece at one of her upcoming gigs.