It was great to see a few people last night and catch up and chat with old friends and new friends, really I don’t get out enough but can at least get out when I really need to. It got me thinking about my own work and current path, with aerosol that seems to be the main interest and yes I admit I have really gone back to mapping out a graffiti style that is a step back rather than forward. The ramifications are audience related especially with graffiti being mainly about illegal work and my own being primarily about style. Personally I feel comfortable in myself sticking to graffiti styles without really being involved with illegal graffiti. I see so much in graffiti that seems untapped in terms of style but the message is simply abstract and involves colour and form primarily.
My whole take on graffiti is simply a personal journey, it definitely isn’t a journey about success but about colour and energy. Admittedly it is a path that is a little crazy because the illegal writers no longer know who I am and the bigger named painters are too busy to care either so I am mapping my own personal journey through graffiti. I went from times when you got up and people knew your name to a time when you use social media. The core values of graffiti are still about getting up so I am kidding myself to think style is enough to get me over the line but my audience isn’t really graffiti artists mostly but I don’t really know who looks at my work in general. It is a small audience but I feel like I want to stay focused on style in graffiti. The bad part is you can’t get direct messages across in general but what I do is abstract and to me the message is to enjoy the colour and forms and not feel that you need some kind of Banksy like message thrown into every image. To me the primacy of messages in street art is kind of boring and has been over done. It would be good to get back to more abstract work and to make it happen you have to do it.
It was great to see the show by Zapgalaxy a very epic exhibition and P.I.T.S next door was great too. Seriously though this show is one of the best showings of Zapgalaxy paintings I have seen to date. His gamble with a loose style has really paid off in terms of carrying his work. His older work was great but these pieces embrace paint and its tactility in an honest way that makes a connection with his graffiti and street art roots. He doesn’t have to paint in his older clean style that may have made more sense in a fine art environment but can take some of the direct painterly decisions of graffiti into a fine art context. Of course his decision to follow his current path was difficult because he had a gallery and client base that idealised slick art and he had to move back to his roots which was where he was ten years prior at China Heights gallery. Really he has come full circle and he proved that he still can make great work and work that is even more exciting and ground breaking than his older work. The show runs till Sunday so if you haven’t seen it yet it is important that you do. It is rare to see shows this good and China Heights has proven that they still have their fingers on the pulse of the best art in Sydney.
Seeing things in things other than what they are. A face in a pile of clothes for instance, not a real face! Just read an article about psychosis which was interesting. The traits of mental illness are only a step away from creativity. Why a step? Why not a chasm? The issue comes down to identifying meaningful data from chance or so they say. What is wrong with chance anyway? Supposedly the marker is intelligence, do you have the top down executive control to tell the difference? My issue being that everything I do is based on chance and I don’t see how that makes me less intelligent than a bunch of researchers digging around for answers. It comes down to privilege, chance is only the bad guy in the article it really isn’t an issue in general. The key is seeing what works or has some value in a wider social world. That of course is always changing, why if I dressed as Caesar but hadn’t crossed the Rubicon I am mad but if I did then the die is cast, I am obviously Caesar and its all normal. That though is timing and that is what chance is about so as Caesar said “the die is cast”.
Well the last few pieces have been pretty much graffiti influenced. Always surprised to see all of the influences in my work, it looks different but it is just borrowing from a lot of older graffiti art mainly unconsciously. The faces I was doing from late 2013 were in the same vein but I felt they were a little more arty….wrong! They were exactly the same really but a little less focused. Well it isn’t up to me to judge it is in the hands of other people and boy are they getting it wrong. Or more likely I am getting it wrong or it is hitting the spot it depends what you are into. The reason I am on this tangent is from feedback I get from more established street artists who will remain unnamed. Not that I care but it is good to get feedback, I like positive feedback and constructive feedback and also negative feedback. It all filters through and the truth is I still hang onto my graffiti roots even though I try and pass myself off as mr arty fingers. Because I do legal work only and don’t really go into more hardcore graffiti I thought the mr arty fingers moniker might stick but no I am forever hardcore even though I haven’t done anything illegal since 2007, at least according to some snooty muralists. The competition is fierce in the zone of murals and street art so you can be rest assured that someone is sizing you up to make sure you are not going to get one up and take a prime wall or mural opportunity. My own interests are out of step with the current trends and I am painting for my own enjoyment so I am no threat and can handle being labelled a hardcore graffiti painter. Even when I was a hardcore graffiti painter I mainly did throw ups and tags and now I dream of being an artist who is appreciated not for being the top of the pack but for being creative, and yes graffiti can be creative and everyone knows that. In graffiti I am misunderstood but I am lucky because a lot of people understand that I am being creative and pushing my style, in street art people know I am open minded the thing is now the big names are moving beyond graffiti and street art and are becoming professional mural artists making work in various formats. It is good to see mural art making such a comeback and it is big really big and that is where it is heading. Me well I love doing what I am doing and know what I am about but my motto is let it happen and I hope I get some more mural work but it just isn’t happening this year. Lucky I have web design to fall back on and some steady work.
I don’t normally do album reviews and this one is around twenty years late but I remember living with my friend Milos Toth in Surry Hills. He introduced me to electronic music and the year was 1995 and it was an amazing experience for me. Milos was a talented physics student and he had experience as a programmer now he is a head lecturer at UTS and I lost touch with him by the late nineties. This guy was a very interesting thinker and was switched on, we had lots of deep talks about the universe and physics and art it was all very inspired. What he made me buy was a UK record by Future Sound of London called “Dead Cities” it was a dark dystopic album that just had me hooked for over a decade. The album had to be especially imported from the UK and I still have it. It really is a classic, the FSOL thought the album was too dark and they moved into new territory but the album itself is a classic. The FSOL are now called Amorphous Androgynous and make sitar inspired hippy music to this day. It is pretty special and they really are interesting but this one album became an obsession for me I wanted my work to be like this album. The album got lots of rotations it really was way ahead of its time and is still a recommended listen, forget their happy stuff get into this album by all means.