ISSUE TWO Knock Knock magazine profiles street-level emerging and established Australian and international creatives, doing their thing, and doing it well. Created by Tom Groves Images courtesy of the artists. Additional photography Tom Groves Editing Ali Groves Under no circumstaces may any of the content and/or images in this publication be copied without permission. Knock Knock Magazine ÂŠ Tom Groves 2012 Like Knock Knock Magazine on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/knockknockmag 2
CONTENTS SEAN EDWARD WHELAN SOFT SCIENCE DMOTE EROS NIKA REBECCA MURPHY GHOSTPATROL DRYPNZ VEXTA KIT BAKER I & THE OTHERS SKULK BIRDHAT BATHCAT ANDROS OX TERRIBLE HORRIBLE SLIME JAKE ANTOUN YELZ ASIO YMT JUDIE SO
SEAN EDWARD WHELAN
Sean is currently living and working in Joetsu city, Niigata prefecture, Japan. His artwork is influenced by the traditional architecture of temples, shrines and castles and explores the relationship between people, symbols, icons, objects and how they define culture.
Do you think cities burden the individual or liberate creativity? It seems like you’ve been inspired to exceptional heights in Japan, but the figures you draw seem to be weighed down by history and culture. I think that depends on how you define a city - main streets, shops, bars and restaurants? A downtown and an uptown? Lots of buildings and government offices, public spaces and parks? A culture built on some kind of historic foundation? If that long list is the frame work for every city, and every city has it’s own way according to it’s contemporary culture, then I think it can be very inspirational place to pursue art. With that in mind, I think the city I’m living in now has really propagated my creativity and helped sharpen my observation skills - it’s a different culture, in a different country and it’s given me a special opportunity to stop and look at things with fresh eyes. Everything holds potential inspiration - It begs closer inspection, speculation
or further investigation. So, there is always something to respond to, celebrate, critique or question. What interests me the most, is that cities wherever they are in the world - have stories, mythologies and keep very good secrets. Uncovering these is what motivates me to keep working.
What interests me the most, is that cities wherever they are in the world have stories, mythologies and keep very good secrets.
Soft science is a Melbourne-based illustrator, artist and designer; making pictures for magazines, comics, exhibitions, films and for fun. Soft science graduated in 2010 from Swinburne University, where it studied a BA in Games and Interactivity. Since then, it has been working as a digital designer during the day and drawing pictures by cover of night. Its drawings have appeared in Desktop Magazine, ACMI, Lamington Drive and on Australian INfront. Soft science has been drawing since its early larval stage, deep below the earthâ€™s crust. It emerged in early 2008 and fashioned a protective pod from its own saliva, which solidifies when exposed to heat and forms a chitinous outer shell. It currently awaits the final metamorphic stage of its relatively short life-cycle. In the meantime though it is happy drawing, painting, sleeping, playing video games and wearing shorts with the socks pulled way up.
How have digital elements of art, design, and gaming influenced your practice? From a very early age I think the digital world has been massively influential on my practice, and video games are quite a large part of that. I remember a lot of early experiences with Apogee shareware on the family 486 and being completely engrossed for hours and hours. I guess as a result a lot of video game iconography found itself into my personal works, things like pixels, swords and skulls; none of which is terribly unique but I 13
I often depict characters in conflict, or in preparation for a conflict to come...
feel pretty attached to those motifs and I think a lot of people who lived through the 8-bit era share a similar affection for that kind of imagery. A lot of the drawings Iâ€™ve produced over the years have a kind of implied narrative that seems to be game-like in nature. I often depict characters in conflict, or in preparation for a conflict to come; Iâ€™ve noticed a trend of drawing protagonists poised to attack a much larger monster or enemy, which I think owes a lot to the harrowing boss-battles I have witnessed over years of playing games as a child. Digital art felt like a very natural progression for me. I loved computers and drawing, so it just made sense. I had access to an old Wacom Digitizer II tablet when I was about 14 or so and with it I found I was able to do things that I even couldnâ€™t dream of doing with coloured pencils or any media I was familiar with at the time.
As much as I still enjoy and value working with tradition media, the power and versatility that come with working digitally are hard to resist sometimes. I guess the downside is that you can easily spend eight hours doing nothing but adjusting colours to the most infinitesimal degree and as a result end up missing your deadlines. Design became a part of my practice much later while studying game development at university. I took an off-course subject that looked at major 20th century design movements and more-or-less fell in love on the spot. Within the early days of study I began noticing design everywhere; it sounds a little silly and clichĂŠ but it was seriously eye-opening for me. I would walk through the city and every sign or billboard which I usually would have filtered out as visual noise, became a kind of aesthetic communication puzzle that I had to decode. I think it explains why I love illustration so much as it tends to combine elements and practices of both art and design.
Dmote - a graffiti artist, painter, designer. I have worked in the design industry as an art director and illustrator, in fashion mainly, for over ten years. I live and work in New York City and am transitioning into a full time career as a painter. My fine art is my passion and I look forward to growing old as a painter. I’ve had a renewed interest in graffiti living in New York and have been taking it seriously again for the past few years. For now i’m trying to push it further than I ever have.
How have the priorities of Graffiti artists changed since you started in the 80’s? I can only say what has changed for me personally, and really, my priorities have come full circle and are not dissimilar to when I started. I don’t try and make money from graff, I’m here at the moment to just use my experience, and really think about it more than I ever have. The structure of the lettering is important, not so much the technique. Living in New York has made this easier for me, being surrounded by great writers and being influenced by their experience and mind state has helped me. It was good to come here also and be an unknown and sort of start again. It has allowed me to reinvent certain characters within my persona that come to life through graffiti. As for the culture of writing, I’ve seen a lot of changes and priority shifts. Graffiti in the late nineties was dying
out in New York, and the Germans were taking over with heavily pictorial and technical pieces based upon these huge murals, which, for the most part, hid the letters. This faded out but has now come back around again, and the world is all about ‘lettering and history,’ something which I thought might’ve been lost. We are now living in the most progressively exciting time of the art form since it was established in the mid eighties. Your career illustrates the huge transformation of public opinion of Graffiti - has ‘the dream’ of many graffiti artists enabled creative freedom or filtered it? Graff has definitely become more commercial in some ways; but then, it has also become more illegal and hardcore. The dudes that are on writers teams and are given paints are helping the culture a lot. I mean, when you have endless materials, and don’t need to be precious or worry about bad decisions, it makes for the best work. These dudes are generally at the top of their game also, so it helps inspire young artists while also profiting the paint companies. The only advice I have to up-and-comers is don’t expect to make money of this. I can understand someone trying to get into skateboarding to make money, but graff? No!
We are now in the most progressively exciting time of the art form since it was established in the mid eighties.
I’m EROS NIKA, an urban artist from Greece, raised in Athens. I moved to Sydney in late 2010. I started with traditional graffiti in 2001 and since then I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than painting with friends or alone, in the streets or for exhibitions, with brushes or using spraycans, I love all these things. As you’ll notice I have a big obssesion using the color blue. I think my work reflects my personality somehow and that’s why I love using blue because its very calm color like myself.
How has your practice changed after moving from Athens to Sydney? Well in Athens everything is much more ‘free’ when it comes to painting in the street. There are literally endless spots – especially abandoned places. The police don’t bother to drag you to the local station because they have more serious problems to deal with, and I guess it’s too much paperwork for them. For that reason you feel the freedom of painting in daylight and in even in more central spots, and most of the time get away with it. Now Sydney on the other hand is not a typical European city where the building structures factor hugely when creating something in the street. Everything here is well organised, and don’t even mention the police officers. My illegal activities have been reduced to a minimum, and whenever I do paint, I always visit the spot beforehand to scope it out, and have my concepts down on paper. 29
Is there a difference in the general population’s approach to street art in Athens as opposed to Sydney? I have good feedback from both cities so far. The difference here in Sydney is that you can’t paint without permission. Even if strangers talk to you there’s always someone asking if what you’re doing is legal. Working on the Outpost Project was a great experience for me though, I had a lot of people passing by and talking to me which was enjoyable. In Athens you have countless places to paint, and you catch many peoples’ reactions in the streets. You might be painting an alleyway and come across some people, and they won’t even bother talking to you or calling the police cause they are keen with this image nowadays.
Named one of the most exciting female graphic artists in the world by Curvy magazine in 2010, Sydney-based artist Rebecca Murphy creates works that have been described as a little romantic, floral and syrupy but also a bit gory, bloody and creeped out. Preferring to work in acrylics and archival ink on canvas, wood, and paper, her influences vary from Art Nouveau and Ukiyo-e woodblock prints to Pop Surrealism.
Your paintings really have a style of their own, from famished female zombies to beautifully intricate portraits of girls - what has influenced your style throughout your career? As far as artistic influences go, probably the ones that resonate for me most are art nouveau, ukiyo-e, pop surrealism, graphic novels, street art, and tattoo art. I studied graphic design for a while so I soft spot for clever design as well. Old medical texts and illustrations, various mythologies, scientific theory, popular culture. Itâ€™s hard to pin down everything that has an influence - it all does really. Your paintings of beautiful but grotesque women are often motivated by emotion what is it exactly that you aim to explore through your work? I was introduced to the concept of art as a tool for psychological diagnosis when I was 7 years old. Even then I loved the idea that the things you create can hold 35
I was introduced to the concept of art as a tool for psychological diagnosis when I was 7 years old.
deeper truths than you can consciously express. My aim is to tell stories, to create an emotional resonance with the viewer. Has living and working out of your studio in Sydney had an effect on your art and style? I’ve been here for about 5 years now, which is the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place and slightly longer than my art career. Living and working in the same space allows me to spend as much time as possible in the studio, which is something I take full advantage of I’m in there anywhere between 12 to 16 hours most days. And that definitely has an effect - it lets me explore, refine, experiment, and take on projects that would otherwise be impossible. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
ghostpatrol: artist and world builder.
Sketchbooks are very personal documents, when you release these to the public what goes through your head? I like the idea of showing all the rough starts of ideas and experimentation that is the basis for all my art. My effort to make my sketchbooks available is a call to other people to do the same. I love looking at other peoples sketch books and studios. I hope they inspire people to draw. Iâ€™d like to think that they help break down the idea that artists are elite and art is hard to create or enjoy. From my murals, drawings, sculpture and anything in between, it all starts in my sketch book.
From my murals, drawings, sculpture and anything in between, it all starts in my sketch book.
Post-Graffiti Pop Surrealist, Jon Drypnz is a New Zealand based paint mover. Since 2005 he has been creating murals and bits of vandalism which imitate experiences, and the people who surround him. The output is characters called Drypppls. They try and explain and expand the notion that, ‘the human race is in a state of disevolution, revealing exaggerated aspects of the human condition and our common traits.’ There is no reason for any of this to exist.
We’ve been appreciating your painterly work for a few years now, can you tell us the story behind these clumsy and delicate characters? There is a long winded story behind the message behind my work. That message/ story has become irrelevant lately, but leaving that behind has allowed me to focus on smaller observations that now only loosely relate to my obsession with the dis-evolution of the human species. In saying that though, if I had not focused on that aspect for so long I would not have though of the intentional use of clumsy mark making would work like it has. The focus on aesthetic has become a pain, recently I’ve found that being ignorant to a single message has helped my work evolve further and allowed me to have more fun and play with multiple ideas and different mediums. I do find myself illustrating my small minded twisted point of view, and I’ve been told my work seems to be a series of self portraits, and I can’t help but agree.
How important is keeping up work in the street after finding such successes in the studio and gallery side of your practice? I just do what I want when I want. I consider myself a selfish artist so when I feel like doing work on the street I find a wall and do it. Other times the studio helps my urge, but my work is erratic a lot of the time and so my process and placement of my work is as well. I don’t really have a formula so each time I paint, whether its on the street or in the studio, its a little bit different. To actually answer your question though, I find it important to continue to do work on the street, but the reason being is to keep my sanity. I say its just for myself but I enjoy doing street work because like a lot of other people its a place to work out ideas or frustration quickly. For the most part, the work I do has subliminal meaning, but when I paint on the street the work often has some social commentary and reaction to current events that I wouldn’t spend time working with in the studio, making it an important part of how I deal with my seemingly ‘helpless’ position in this world.
I find it important to continue to do work on the street, but the reason being is to keep my sanity.
I’m Vexta, I’m a neon painter, street artist and fine artist. Right now I’m a bit of a vagabond travelling between cities, embarking on creative adventures. Partly I think I’m addicted to art, haha, It’s a necessary part of life. I’m interested in art that pushes forward into the new. I guess as an artist you take whatever it is you have around you to construct this thing that’s important but perhaps can’t be expressed in language. My paintings examine these intangible aspects of our lives such as dreams and transient states; the world around us and our place in it.
How would you describe your artistic practice? I paint pictures in the street, on canvas, on paper, on walls, on old pieces of wood and bones, lately I’ve also been making fluro tube light sculptures and experimental sound pieces. Specifically, I like to pull apart figurative work and construct symbolism in abstraction.
Can you describe the significance of stencils in your work? (Are they irreplaceable?) Stencils arenâ€™t irreplaceable in my work at all â€“ in fact in my latest body of work I hardly use them at all â€“ I seem to be moving more and more into straight up painting. Though I like the clean lines and the flatness of the paint you get when you use stencils and I also like the imperfection, the over and under spray. I consider them another type of brush really. I definitely use them more on the street and less on canvas.
...I like the clean lines and the flatness of the paint you get when you use stencils and I also like the imperfection...
I am a 19 year old Sydney-sider and I love getting candid photos of daily life. I always have a camera (or two) on me and enjoy searching for unexpected and intriguing moments to shoot. The thing that I find interesting is that a photo captures a single instant and might not reveal what just happened a second before or afterwards. I think it’s important to keep a bit of mystery in my photos, to keep people guessing.
How do you approach your commercial photography practice differently to your personal creative projects? I have dabbled in social, portrait and fashion photography. Over the last few years I have also exhibited in various group shows, the latest being Joy Collectives exhibition: ‘Me Next Please’. I enjoy working for clients and to briefs, but I definitely prefer the freedom of just shooting whenever and whatever.
I & THE OTHERS
I & The Others grew up on a farm in NSW in the eighties and spent the best part of her childhood entertaining herself with her colouring box, butcherâ€™s paper, string, mud, stones, feathers and whatever else could be found. Still making use of found materials, she now lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Her creative practice is an eclectic meld of visual art, illustration, street art and graphic design. I & The Othersâ€™ studio work is reflective of her attitude towards her environment. Making use of found materials necessitates her personal desire to not consume more than is necessary and her creative desire to transform something old into something new while adding her own personal story or sentiment to the object.
Your beautiful paste ups of figures and animals have a lot character about them that tells their viewers a lot of thought, love and time went into each of them. How do you go about creating work for the street as opposed to the studio and do you create site specific works, or put them up wherever you see a spot that catches your eye? For the most part my street work has been a simpler version of my studio work, but recently I have been working on bridging that gap and spending more time on my paste ups, whether it be cutting intricate patterns, or illustrating and colouring by hand. The work I do on the street is a gift to the city and the local community and 77
although there is always a chance of the work only lasting a day or two I like to think if I spend time creating something beautiful it will last and be appreciated. I always intend to create site specific works - my phone is full of photos of walls and doors! But more often than not I end up finding spots on the night when I go out pasting - especially for the smaller works. The larger ones require a bit more thought and I will usually have a spot in mind for those before I head out. This year you co-initiated a new project called ‘Street Advent’ involving a variety of Street artists from Australia and abroad to participate in a Street Art based Advent Calendar - preparing works to be displayed on a blog, counting down the days of Christmas. What inspired you to take this curatorial role and how did you think it all went? My mate Matt and I were having a beer one night when the idea for Street Advent just kind of came to us. We’d both curated group shows before and we wanted to do something new and different, something that would excite the artists. We had been talking about ideas for a show and the concept of a street art based “advent calendar” evolved from there, it was actually all very last minute and thrown together!
Curating a show without a gallery and with very few limitations was fun and it was great to have involvement from artists in Europe and the States as well as all around Australia. We were a bit skeptical of all 25 artists meeting their deadlines (each artist had to put their work out on the street on a different day) but everyone was really committed and it actually ran like clockwork. It was received with a lot of enthusiasm from artists as well as the general public and we plan make it an annual event. What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from you this year? The next project for me is a large piece in a laneway in Brunswick. A group of artists are giving the laneway a bit of a makeover and I’ve been allocated a little nook to “re-decorate”. After that I’d like to dedicate some time to studio work and start working on a solo show. I am planning to spend the winter in the northern hemisphere. I have my fingers crossed for a residency in Florida and then hope to paste my way around North America but a solo show here in Melbourne is definitely on the cards for the end of the year, as well as Street Advent in December. I’m sure there will be a scattering of group shows to participate in throughout the year too.
I am SKULK. I illustrate, screenprint and paint. I have an art studio in Marrickville at â€˜Sashimi Studiosâ€™, but work on the street also. I have a very natural drive, to create, to engage, to explore. I believe I will never stop.
Are your motivations for creating work on the street the same for the gallery? Definitely not. My street work is a product of exploration and use of free exhibition space; motivated by my drive to communicate with the public; and free from restraints, bot conceptually and aesthetically. I am interested in the changing canvas of the street and its pressures. In regard to my work intended for galleries, itâ€™s a very different process, I work in a controlled and precise environment, motivated by the judgement of the institution and the art world at large. The street for me is a base of exploration and direct response, and the studio a place to polish-up these ideas and images into something more direct.
Your work often depicts obscure characters and people, what has influenced you to work in this style? I enjoying working with the figure, and this has been my focus for the past 3 years. This stems from my fascination with people, and the creatures that we are. My style has emerged quite informally over time, influenced by other artists, friends, places, ideas and dreams. Artists such as BLU have had a profound impact on my work, both on and off the street.
The street is a base of exploration and direct response...
I’m Birdhat, I produce public based art and installation assemblages. Where I make and leave my work varies. I use Street Art as a base for self expression. Therefore it is something that can be executed anywhere. A big part of my rationale is self -expression in the same sense as the cave painters of yesteryear (a primal sense of desire - a ‘need’) and also as a response to society and modern day living. I see street art as social critique.
Every street is an adventure and every road becomes a trip / Every turn we take and every decision we don’t make, Even the decision we don’t make, will bring us into the secrets of their town / Every
corner we turn will lead us, every corner we turn
will lead us down the labyrinths, And every desire that we earn will guide us alive, living, loving & searching.
- Refused are Fucking Dead
The “streets” exist as a passage-way and thoroughfare to our destinations, in this respect they are a vein to our desires. They ferry us towards common ideologies and in this sense they express a happening or spectacle. For within the movement of the self comes forth an intention, within that intention all is gained or lost. We journey through the physical landscape. Its effects on the self grow and form ideas over time; these ideas become a spirit of self and leave marks on the greater environment. Our feet leave prints. Those prints exist as 89
memory and as history. That mark, whether it continues to exist for a month or a lifetime becomes something organic. It is perceived, eaten and becomes entwined with the public. For it is owned by the public. Graffiti is a movement formed from the streets imbedded in the history of hip hop and street culture, and acts as visual attack and sabotage. ‘Hip hop culture developed its own DIY outlaw art aesthetic that was particularised by graffiti art. These elaborate, cartoonish psychedelic paintings created with (frequently shop-lifted) spray cans were affixed to any unoccupied public “canvas,” primarily subway trains, commercial buildings, and the walls of large apartment complexes.’ That was and continues to be the “forum” as it acts as social advertising and free interchange of ideas. It is and has always been public forum for it exists within public domain. Street expression is a contemporary idea founded in ancient ideology. We have painted on cave walls for thousands of years. It’s only now that a culture becomes a sub-culture. The spirit of self expression is seen everywhere, in the clothes we wear the way we talk and act and in our core desires. Graffiti artists project this expression onto the physical environment. Creating a “spectacle” a ‘ever-increasing mass of image-objects and co-modified experience detached from every aspect of life, fused in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be re-established’. There 90
is only one course of action. Graffiti art exists as a reflection on urban street life and generally acts as a threat to modern day consumption. Guy Debord (December 28, 1931 - November 30, 1994) Author of Society of the Spectacle defines Recuperation as ‘the process by which the spectacle intercepts socially and politically radical ideas and images, commodifies them, and safely incorporates them back within mainstream society.. It is the opposite of détournement, in which conventional ideas and images are co-modified with radical intentions’ . It co-exists as social advertising with the marketable as a tool and symbol like a hammer or a Molotov cocktail. You gotta watch that. “Sabotage will set us free Throw a rock in the machine” -Refused 1.Ken
Goffman. Counter Culture Through The Ages.
from Abraham to Acid House (U.S.A 2004).
2. Richard Gombin. Analysis of Consumerism (1971). 3. Robert Chasse, Bruce Elwell, Jonathon Horelick,
Tony Verlaan. Faces of Recuperation in Situationist International #1 (New York, June 1969).
Bathcat is an emerging street artist from Wollongong, studying Fine Arts at COFA. His art is influenced by the nature of mankind and all his surroundings. His styles range from expressive painting to folk art with spraypaint, acrylic and oil paint. Bathcat’s drawings are raw and crude with no pencil used...straight pen. He likes the risk of not being able to change the mistake, “I’m’ just forced to go with it. I don’t take much time to think about what I’m drawing, I just let it happen. I draw whatever I’m thinking about right there and then; this is what makes my work raw, but it also has a playful feel.”
Your characters have a very distinctive feel to them, often adorning walls and fences, what is the story behind your characters and what has influenced your style? My characters have grown a lot in the last few years, coming into my own style was hard at first but eventually I found it, but not really sure how! I feel it’s a mix of ‘80s and early ‘90s cartoons, comics, skateboard art, cult movies, weird tales and the messed up world around us, turned into my own weird fantasies. My characters are often evil but also cute, characterizing the good and evil in all things.
...mix of â€˜80s and early â€˜90s cartoons, comics, skateboard art, cult movies, weird tales and the messed up world around us... Having work both on the street and in the gallery allows for some flexibility in the context your work is received, do you approach your street work differently to your studio/gallery work? My studio and street work are similar in the ways I use spraypaint and style but other than that they are very different. My studio work allows me to go deeper into my ideas and produce work with no boundaries, often being obscene and crude. My studio is a bubble where I can be wild and free turning into a type of creative animal where I use mixed media to create my works from acrylic paint, spraypaints, oils, inks and anything laying around at hand. Where as on the street I use only spraypaint maybe sometimes a brush. With my street work I dont want to offend people so much that they look away, but I still want to be true to myself so I make my characters more mischeivious than violent and crude. Art or Die and Be Extra Good.
Andros is an illustrator/street artist from Sydney who is inspired by street art/vinyl toys and things out of the norm. He draws from his imagination and dabbles in doing collaborations with artists worldwide and has been artmaking for around three years now.
You recently curated one of the first purely live art gallery shows in Sydney called â€˜Painting Groundsâ€™ consisting of about a dozen local artists. What was it like getting everyone together collaborating and what was the result? Painting grounds was a project I had been wanting to do for a long time now. Working with other street artists to get a mad exhibition together and also utilise the space I had at Tortuga Studios in St Peters to have a big live art event for the opening night which consisted of around 12 artists. It was really great working and collaborating with everyone! Most of the people who I was working with in the exhibition were friends who I have worked on past projects with and a few who I had not worked with before. I was surprised with peoples response to the event and how many people wanted to see more like that going on in Sydney.
I was surprised with peoples response to the event and how many people wanted to see more like that going on in Sydney
After such a successes with ‘Painting Grounds’ what have you got planned next for Sydney and what are your goals for 2012? I would love to plan “Painting Grounds 2” this year and make it a huge event, even bigger than the last, hopefully getting more up-and-coming street artists involved. Also I would like to work on some more exhibitions doing live art and having collaborative work displayed. Getting overseas artists involved too is important as it exposes Sydney to what is going on overseas and it would be nice to see something new and unique. Also would like to get more merch such as shirts and prints out this year and do some more travelling around Australia and possibly overseas.
I am OX, Iâ€™m principally composed from the remains of a burnt out dwarf star and a 1.25 ltr bottle of Jack Daniels. I fell to earth some time during the dark ages. At first revered as the horned god of storms and hangovers by ancient Nords, I quickly fell into obscurity following the invention of more believable deities. I have made art in various forms since I can remember. I studied film and animation then later moved on to illustration, sculpture and more recently large-scale live and street art.
Having completed your fair share of live art walls in Sydney, what are you thoughts on this side of your art and how do you approach it compared to your studio and street work? Live art really changed the way I looked at my practice in a lot of ways. I spent a year working as an artist full time filling my days with various commission projects and putting together a solo show all on my own in my little studio. By the end of the year I felt a little isolated, and the time I spent on each work was getting more and more drawn out. One day I was asked to curate part of a group show and decided to do a large-scale live work with a friend of mine to fill one of the empty rooms during the opening. At the end of the night I was drunk, happy and had a bunch of conversations with good friends, and I had also managed to create one of the largest works I have ever done, and in an amazingly short amount of time compared to my studio work. 109
Live work taught me the value of speed and scale and really snapped me out of the habit of umming and ahhing for hours over the specifics of a work. I took all the lessons I learned doing live art back to my studio work and focused on speed and simplicity in my work, creating bold yet ambiguous statements that can be translated to a large scale and visa versa. It was really the live work that pushed me more towards street work in the end. I had grown impatient with painting, so spray-paint was really the only path for me. Your illustration and paintings have a unique and bold style often using recurring motifs of skulls and Vikings, what influences your selection of characters and themes? Repetition of imagery is important to me in a couple of different ways: it can help establish oneâ€™s identity as an artist; more importantly, you get to know the lines you are making more intimately; and, if you are doing it right, the hidden meanings you infuse your imagery with will leak through to the audience more effectively.
It was really the live work that pushed me more towards street work in the end. I use skulls in my work a lot, and I must admit that I do them mostly because they are rad: I like to both draw and look at them. A deeper take on it might be that I feel they best represent ‘humanity,’ I don’t really associate them with ‘death’ them as a lot of people might. I see the skull as a great leveller – everyone has a skull, man, woman, black, white, fat, skinny, rich or poor – everyone has basically the same skull. So when I portray a skull it is kind of a portrait of humanity. So, while the skull is ‘everyone,’ the Viking is the part of me that feels we are still all very basic, and despite our modern advancement we are still brutish animals with no real understanding of good and evil. I also reference a lot of ancient religious connotations within this frame, trying to get at the point that believing in Zeus and fucking Odin and shit is just a preposterous as any modern religious belief; that condemning others for their beliefs (whether scientific or religious) comes from a place of uncertainty; that maybe we should all just be happy with the knowledge that we are ignorant animals composed of meat and bone and ought to stop giving each other such a fucking hard time.
I am Terrible Horrible or TER HOR. I paint. I try to paint a lot. I work wherever I happen to be at the time.
Why do you choose to work in the street when there are outlets to exhibit your work legally in galleries, where people are likely to buy it? The freedom. With what I do, how I do it, where I do it. It’s all up to me, it lets me make work that might be specific to that spot or work that might be much different to what I usually do. I like being able to put ‘art’ where people don’t expect to see it. To show people who aren’t really interested in art in the first place. You can sort of detach yourself from the work, rather than it being a painting by an artist shown in an exhibition, it’s an image by who knows from anywhere. I vary my reasons a lot, between livening up walls, spreading my own personal propaganda or just to interfere with what people see. What is your work about? Nothing in particular. I let other people decide that. I’m really interested in symbols and what they mean to people, both traditional and contemporary, ranging from religious symbolism to more contemporary cliches and pop culture. When you put all these similar icons together, they clash and rather than having a definite meaning you create a foundation for people to come up with their own meanings. 117
I became interested in graffiti at the end of 2007 and sketched/pieced irregularly with different words until the start of 2009 when I got my current word, and began to put more effort into my work, trying to develop a style that I enjoy. I think I keep painting not just because its fun, but because I really enjoy the exploring aspect of it, and looking around abandoned buildings and spaces and taking photos of the adventures. Even though a lot of people say this, I honestly donâ€™t think I see myself quitting anytime soon, not just because I love it but because iâ€™m constantly confronted with pieces and tags everywhere around me and after seeing one piece feel like I would just be sucked back in haha.
What has influenced your style? My style has changed quite significantly over the last few years, so I have had varying influences. However, in the last year or so in terms of style and influence, I have been mainly interested in oldschool public styles as well as more Euro stuff and have seen my own work head in a different direction. Another factor that has influenced my style is the actual production of my work, I have found my newer pieces more enjoyable to paint which is all that matters at the end of the day.
I’m Jake Antoun, i’m 18, and I just graduated from school. I take photos that range from everday life moments to photos of inside abandoned buildings, providing me with a story to tell through photographs.
Often your photography depicts an absence of interactivity, whether that be by not showing your subjects faces, shooting abandoned buildings, or shooting subjects at a distance, creating a barrier between yourself as the photographer and the people and places you capture. What attracts you to this style of photography and what message do you intend these photos to evoke ? I think what attracts me to this style of photography is purely on a basis of that my photos are snapshots of everyday moments, however they are presented in a way that people usually don’t see them in, making them appear dramatic and leaving people with a sense of curiosity. I take these photos to share my own personal experiences of travelling around Sydney, as well as the exciting moments i’ve experienced whilst trespassing prohibited buildings/rail corridors, leaving people to interpret my photographs however they wish.
As a young photographer, gaining experience and clearly developing your own style, who or what would you say have influenced you to get to this point with your practice today? I picked up a camera two years ago not knowing anything about photography, but have since learnt that it involves patience and luck (being in the right place at the right time). A major influence for me has been following local and international photographers online blogs as well as working with other local Sydney photographers such as raptorblood and pseudoze and gaining an insight as to how they work with a camera.
Hey I’m YELZ, I’m an Illustrator residing I Wellington, I stick funny little characters on lamp posts and paint murals on walls with whatever I can afford too... sometimes they look alright. I do this because I need too, and I think painting on the street is a great way to go about making some dodgy friends.
How has living and working out of New Zealand has influenced the way you work? Like a third of Kiwi’s, I’m not originally from New Zealand. I grew up in Holland, which is alright, but New Zealand kicks ass when it comes to flora and fauna, and the landscape is so diverse too. This has definitely had an influence on some of the themes and characters in my murals. Because there’s hardly any people here, and it’s such a young country, I see a lot of opportunity to be the best you can be at a lot of things, rather then just the one. I love painting in the street, but that’s how my friends and I like to hang out on a sunny/windy/drizzly Wellington day. It doesn’t define me as an artist, but it sure makes me work hard trying to keep up with the likes of Drypnz, Editor, Cast, Ghostie, Pntr, Blok, and Malarky. However, I also follow character designers like Nico Marlet and Harald Sieperman, and some of the other work I do, and want to do more of would be more along those lines.
Street art is received with gusto in Wellington, it’s the creative capital, and the council are supportive.
I studied illustration, but if you’d told me my first paid art gig was going to be an art teacher, teaching graff to little hoodrats and taggers around Wellington, I would have laughed in your face. But last year I did get hired by a youth organization, I think they hired me cause I can’t tag very well, because that’s all the kids used to do in our workshops. Painting a mural from sketch to finish took over 10 weeks of planning for the first one, it was a big step for Wellington’s City Council to believe that 11-17 year old kids could pump out a 40 metre mural with spray cans. We’ve now done over three large scale murals, the latest one in Christchurch, some of the kids had never been on a plane before, let alone been to the South Island so that was really a highlight for them, as well as painting of course...
What motivates you to produce art for the street, and how is it received in Wellington? The street motivates me to paint, and my friends motivate me to paint faster, better, bigger and higher, and with steez. But I haven’t got any clear specifics down yet on my style. No one way to paint, or how to paint, which can sometimes be frustrating, and also very challenging and exciting. I had a really experimental year last year, and I really enjoyed playing around with roller paint, squirt bottles and shit like that, though I’m getting to realise my stuff is a bit too graphic to be entirely rollie-polie. Street art is received with gusto in Wellington, it’s the creative capital, and the council are supportive. But we paint well and with love, and there’s a lot of different styles within our collective (Pirates) so there’s something for everyone. I think painting a lot of roller pieces help, people are less likely to hit you up whilst your painting, and by the time you bust out the can to flick through your outlines its too late. Nice.
I once read that patients heal faster with a view of natural scenery. So, I thought Iâ€™d bring some nature to the city - and hopefully some truth and beauty as well. When I visualise a landscape ... the scene appears jagged and imperfect. My focus is drawn to points of detail that describe the scene: vines, leaves, trunks, etc. These points of detail converge in my minds eye to give a complete description of the scene. The whole as the sum of its parts. This is my experience of the world with my eyes closed. When my eyes are open they dart around visual space, and my mind sews together a scene from all the points of detail. I try to replicate this process on paper. By focusing my camera on small details and then joining the printed images together, I build a description of the larger scene. The â€˜arrow of timeâ€™ is distorted, as no two points of the scene could possibly have been recorded at the same time. I like to leave the white border around the photos so that when the works are seen in the street, the voyeur can see that the whole is the sum of its parts. I believe that this method forces the viewer to use their imagination to make sense of the image which consequently creates a movement and life-force in the piece.
What is the concept and process behind your installed landscape imagery? Amongst other things, the general concept of my installed landscapes, is to provide a vehicle of escape for the punters in 139
Take only pictures, leave only foot prints.
the city; to replace the urban landscape with a natural landscape in order to a) provide some relief for the souls of the city b) to jog minds into thinking what might have been there a hundred years ago. I begin the process by meditating. From this I will have a good idea of what I want to shoot. I then proceed to find the location that ticks all the boxes. When Iâ€™m there I meditate once more and begin to visualise the final composition (what to include, what to exclude, how tall and wide Iâ€™d like it etc). When I feel zen, I begin shooting. Upon completion I pack my things and thank the universe for providing. From here I choose the exposures that I would like to use and print and order them, ready to head out. Before head out I like to meditate to cool my nerves. When i finish pasting I blow a kiss and clean up the street around it. Thatâ€™s my process. Take only pictures, leave only foot prints.
YMT is a Sydney based contemporary artist, who works in a variety of mediums, ranging from drawing, collage, glass, mural work, textiles and mixed media. Her work displays a balance between design, pattern making and her obsessive detailing with the structures, and formation of human anatomy. “My art has become an expression of raw human emotion, influenced by my surroundings and my experiences in life. My drawings not only reference anatomy but appropriate many symbols, patterns and themes that reflect the abundance of cross cultural influences in Australia today.”
Your artwork is full of fine detail, patterns and symbols, what has influenced this style and refined way of working? I’d definitely have to say my biggest influence is my obsession with anatomy - the construction and deconstruction of the human body. I like to relate my work to this idea through my obsessive detailing and patterning. The cells and molecules of the human body are so tiny yet they construct something so large and multifunctional. In an abstract way this is what I aim to express through my work: that through my tiny details something larger, more complex and multilayered is constructed and created.
I have always explored the idea of anatomy because it relates to my personal experiences having grown up with complex medical problems since birth. It has become a normal part of life for me becoming familiar with medical terms, body functions and illnesses. A lot of my work incorporates the designs of cells and bacteria as they would look when viewed under a microscope. The design of these is quite beautiful and unless you knew about it, it would just look like an aesthetic design or pattern. My work is always heavily influenced by the diversity of cultures that surround us in Australia, having been raised in Sydney, surrounded by many cultures. These cultures have definitely leaked into my work subconciously. I take inspiration from indian henna tattoo designs, the vibrancy of their culture - where everything is ornamented and heavily patterned. Other influences include: asian silk designs, african tribal masks, the mexican day of the dead festivalo, batik printing, indigenous art with its beautifully patterned quality and my own Greek heritage.
Judie So (also known as WOLVES&OWLS) creates colour and monochromatic images which showcase a vast collection of intricate detailing. Through a delicate blending of mediums, ranging from hand-drawn illustration to elements of graffiti, her work engages curiosity and nostalgia.
Your role as Art Director at &Dimes, a production company that hosts popular club nights in Sydney has allowed you to bring live art into the Sydney club scene, what kind of artists do you look for when looking for live art production teams and what do you think it brings to the night? The kind of artists I look for vary depending on the type of event. I generally search for local and emerging artists in Sydney that not only create images that are visually appealing to myself, but for the demographic that they will be creating their art for. Practicing live art in a club environment may expand creativity, inspire people who are interested in the creative arts.
Do you believe ‘live art’ has become an art genre in itself, essentially being art for entertainment? Sure. Whether for entertainment or not, I believe it has turned into a subculture that encourages creative individuals learn to produce larger murals of their sketches and see how it’ll all come together whilst being watched by audiences documenting their work. Has your involvement in curation, working alongside many of Sydney’s top artists influenced your own art, design and style? Definitely. It has strongly opened up my perspective on the whole world of curation and organising live art events. Working with different clients, each artist coming from vast creative backgrounds, has made me aware of what they can create with their minds, which influences my art practice.
Big ups to all those involved in the production and distrobution of this second issue of Knock knock Magazine. A special mention must go to Ali Groves, Fletcher at Invurt, all the Tortuga Studioâ€™s kids, and of course the brilliant and talented artists featured within these pages. Looking forward to bringing you an all new mag-amazing issue in the next few months, stay tuned on the facebook page. Peas out, Tom Groves
Knock Knock Magazine is on Facebook - Like the page for updates on our production process, videos and jokes. For information on submitting your own work to Knock Knock Magazine and for any information on advertising in the magazine contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Under no circumstaces may any of the content and/or images in this publication be copied without permission. Knock Knock Magazine does not encourage nor does it endorse any illegal installation of artwork featured in the pages herein. Knock Knock Magazine ÂŠ Tom Groves 2012
SEE MORE SEAN EDWARD WHELAN: http://sean-edward.com.au/ SOFT SCIENCE: http://softscience.com.au/ DMOTE: http://dmote.net/ EROS NIKA: http://www.erosnika.com/ REBECCA MURPHY: http://www.rebecca-murphy.net/ GHOSTPATROL: http://ghostpatrol.net DRYPNZ: http://www.drypnz.com/ VEXTA: http://vexta.com.au/ KIT BAKER: http://kitcarlobaker.blogspot.com.au/ I & THE OTHERS: http://www.iandtheothers.com/php/ SKULK: http://skulkdesigns.blogspot.com.au/ BIRDHAT: http://www.birdhatart.blogspot.com.au/ BATHCAT: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BafCat/255368731182738 ANDROS: http://www.facebook.com/mcandros OX: http://theoxking.tumblr.com/ TERRIBLE HORRIBLE: http://terhor.tumblr.com/ SLIME: http://www.flickr.com/photos/slimeuno/ JAKE ANTOUN: http://www.jakeantoun.com YELZ: http://ilikeyelz.co.nz/ ASIO: email@example.com YMT: http://www.facebook.com/YMTdesigns JUDIE SO: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wolves-Owls/264697450242206
Published on Mar 17, 2012
Knock knock magazine profiles street level emerging and established Australian and international creatives doing their thing, and doing it w...