FRAME LINES ‘Well I may not be you, and you not me’
Logan Hicks | Peat Wolleager | PSALM | Tess Milani | Annora Thoeng | Sarah Pickering | Daniel Newman William Falo | Fiona McColl | SYKE101 | Brasilian Street Art | Adam Rocher | Major Major
Frame Lines #3 //Stencil - Street Art
Frame Lines edition #3 - A look at what’s art and what’s contemporary We are encouraging new work from artists, as well as developing projects already under way. Frame lines hopes to astonish audiences over the coming months and years, as it will offer an ever-evolving and expanding array of experiences – a publication of the senses. Frame Lines is a non profit organisation dedicated to giving artists a voice and a helping hand toward recognition. We aim to enliven the senses, stimulate the mind, and provoke discussion about the diversity in the world in which we live. Frame Lines magazine aims to develop and present the most exciting artists on a national and international stage in the fields of art, prose, fiction, philosophy, music, photography, illustration, design, and culture through exposure, exhibitions, fund-raisers and outreach. But most of all, we want to throw the limelight onto YOU! Yes you there, now reading the magazine from the beginning after having skimmed through all the picturefilled pages. We’re positive you have what it takes to contribute, to throw Mr. Trepidation off the cliff and bare your inner glow to the world. Just contact us and we’ll help you make it happen. Frame Lines creates new possibilities for cultural and idea exchange and supports artists at all levels in their development. Above all, Frame Lines opens a gateway to a new world of print and media with a belief, like your own, that art does matter. We would like to thank those of you who have helped us reach this exciting moment in the magazine’s short history and invite you to join us as we gather speed upon our journey to the unknown, the unpredictable and the inspirational world of the imagination. Sarah Nolan Managing/ Creative Director and Editor Frame Lines magazine
“Well I may not be you, and you not me“ Street Art is not a new concept; tagging is not the latest craze for rebelling youths. Walls have been painted since mankind’s days in caves; political and economic protest has been scrawled in public since civilisation’s birth; and marking one’s territory is practiced by all manner of creatures on this earth. Since before society’s birth has this ancient art been attempted. Then why is it marginalised by the majority? Why is it considered anti-social by the socialites? Why are its artists not held in high esteem by the ‘purists’ in the art world – those who value the most classic work, the most groundbreaking, the most abstract or the most revolutionary? Street art is all of these things, and since art in its purest form is expression, graffiti art is also a voice for the voiceless, a mode of expression for those being oppressed and a way of standing up to those standing over. Street artists unite, for you are pushing the boundaries, exercising your right to free speech and refusing to lie down. This edition is dedicated to the likes of you and those continuing to innovate and redefine the way we see the world. Change is coming. Jeremy Thomas Editor Frame Lines Magazine Jeremy Thomas Editor
Contents FRAME LINES ‘Well I may not be you, and you not me’
Contributors Logan Hicks street artist Peat Wolleager street artist PSALM street artist Tess Milani illustrator
a free magazine
edition #3 April/May 08
Image source: Banksy
Annora Thoeng artist Sarah Pickering illustrator Daniel Newman writer
William Falo writer
Fiona McColl poet
SYKE101 street artist Brasilian Street Art street art
Global Village / Travel Jeremy our resident culture sleuth share his experiences with us - This month he channnels the can spirits Music Major Majot Adam Roche
* All contributors bios and links to websites can be found at the Frame Lines website www.framelines.org The articles appearing within this publication represent the opinions and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or editorial team. The reproduction of any editorial or images without prior permission is strictly prohibited. All Photography, music and all works appearing in this magazine are protected by ©copyright Reproduction without expressed permission from the artist is strictly prohibited. All images are copyright of the artist.
// stencil artist
Your art made me naturally curious about you. Would you care to tell our readers a bit more about yourself? Hmmm. Always a tricky thing to elaborate on yourself, isn’t it? What can I say that would be relevant to my art? Nothing that I can think of. Just look at my work. Put yourself into it. That is the only thing that matters, not who I am or whose hands created the work. What made you want to decide to use the media that you’ve chosen for your art? I just sort of fell into it. I was a screenprinter for years. I moved from Baltimore, Maryland to San Diego, California but couldn’t take my screenprinting equipment with me. I did a stencil one day because it mimicked the screenprinting process. I was so happy with the results that I continued with the process.
remains the same. In the past four years, I have been to close to twenty different countries, and that pace seems to be speeding up. [There is] still lots of the world to see before I die. How do you relate to the sadness and silence that appears in your work? For me, I don’t think of it as sadness as much as a reflection, like a watery memory of the past. I have kind of thought of each piece of artwork as a slice of time, captured just as it is, without any commentary. The other side of it though is that many times there are situations that seem sombre when examined under a microscope. Something as innocuous as someone waiting for the subway is something that occurs millions of times a day, yet when slowed down and held up to a magnifying glass there is a metaphor that each person can inject themself into. What is it about subways that appeal to you? I am not completely sure. I guess when I truly find what about it appeals to me, I will be done using it in my artwork. I like the idea of the controlled environment. The fact that it is never freezing, never hot, but always in between. It is like the purgatory of the real world. It is a place where you go and just wait. Standing around, looking, waiting for the train. The only thing you can do is look around at other people that are doing the same as you. It is a place for reflection. The urban version of a still pond.
‘Being alone in crowd of a thousand people’ – I find that your work places random imagery and thoughts across a terrain of inanimate detail. That’s how it makes me feel. Any thoughts on that take? I can definitely empathise with that feeling. I think in many ways my work is about documenting the landscape and environment - not being part of it. I always feel like I am that fly on the wall taking notes. In many ways, even though my work can document busy crowded environments it is important to not influence those environments. It is important for me to go unseen as possible.
There’s an adherence to broad lines and strokes; a sense of symmetry in most of your work. I’m curious: do you find yourself thinking about the human element in your work? Or do you find yourself concentrating more on imagery and detail? I have focused on both. The balance of humans within their environment is a reoccurring theme in my work. I like the balance of solid architecture, and the fluid human form. It is about the ability to flourish in a rigid environment.
In terms of projects and collaborations, is there anything that you’re working on at the moment? At the moment I am madly preparing for a big solo show in London at the Black Rat Press gallery. This will be my largest solo show to date, and I am using it as an opportunity to introduce new work and really push myself artistically. After that I have shows in Melbourne at Per Square Metre, and in Auckland, New Zealand at the Side room Gallery. There are always a few things in the pipeline, but those are the main ones on the horizon.
Tell us a bit about the places you’ve travelled. Do you find that experiencing diversity in location and human experience adds diversity to your work? I love travelling; seeing various cultures and landscapes. It is the single most inspiring element to my work. As different as countries are, there is always the human experience that
What are your future plans for your work and yourself? To continue working. To evolve and explore new subjects and refine what I do. The process of defining and redefining what it is that I do is what propels me to keep going.
All time favourite movie? Either Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back or Tommyboy with Chris Farley. Depends on the mood I am in.
// stencil artist
Your work is a completely different kettle of fish; the psychedelically panoramic quality of it is utterly unique. Where do you draw your inspiration from? I find my inspiration from the people around me, my family and the ones from above. I try to show some humour and project happiness from the colours and tones that I choose. Who’s your favourite super hero and why? Ever since I was a kid, Superman was always the coolest…he has the most powers, and I actually have the same curl on my hair that he has. Ever had anyone try to bite your finger off? And if you ever did, how would you deal with it? Um no…but when I was a kid I was taking apart a blender and had the genius idea to put on the blade on without the cover. Well, I almost lost my ring finger and pinkie that day…but the doctors were able to stitch it up real nice! Share a past memory that makes you uncontrollably happy. Seriously, it has to be the day that my first son Sammy was born...well, each kid’s birth was special… but I guess since this was the first, it really sticks out in my head as an amazing and awesome moment in my life. And a past memory that makes you uncontrollably sad? Not sure if it makes me sad…but uncomfortable it does. It was a many Halloweens ago and I was dressed as a Gangster clown totally wasted at the time. I was walking home from a party with a few friends and I was about 10 feet from my front door when a group of Latin Kings (a Chicago Gang) came rollin’ up in their car shooting out the window. The third shot hit me in the left arm, but I thought it got me in the heart. I will never forget that day. Would you care to share a bit of your childhood with us? I grew up in a pretty conservative household and was taught that to be a man you had to be good at sports and love to hunt…I guess that’s why I ended up as a liberal artist! What’s your favourite imaginary word? Mine is “shellfish” – which means deeply self obsessed crustacean) “Autoally Towesome”, because it’s a “Totally Awesome” word.
Dude your work just makes me feel warm and fuzzy; there’s so much energy and love and happiness in the way you express yourself. Does the image you project reflect the way you feel inside? I guess I am just a warm and fuzzy type person…love and happiness can spread like a virus if you just put it out there...try it for yourself and you will see! What do you think you wanna do over the next couple of years? I really have for a LONG time wanted to do the World Largest Stencil…but to do so I think I may need to find someone to sponsor me because the costs and the time to create the stencil and then spray it would be massive. So if you have a big bag of money and you are reading this contact me @ peat@stenSOUL.com with the subject line: I have a Big Bag of Money For You!...and you will make my dream come true! In terms of projects and collaborations, is there anything that you’re working on at the moment? Actually I am working on a huge collaboration show with over 40 artists, currently all are from the [United] States. The idea is that I have handed out blank wooden Mexican (Luchador) wrestling masks to many artists and had them paint their style onto the mask. Then they send the masks back and I stencil in the eyes, nose and mouth. This project is on its second round and I will be displaying them at an exhibition I am having in San Francisco on March 8th. I actually have been thinking about doing an international version of the show this year in Melbourne, most likely around the beginning of August when I have my exhibition at Per Square Metre Gallery in Victoria. If artists are interested in doing a mask or would like to see some of the collaborations check out www.myspace.com.collabomask for more information. Sign off with us here by describing yourself in one, (preferably long) sentence. I am a seriously cracked up dad who creates stencil art and in some cases will dress up as the characters that I create and do time-lapse movies and post them up on You Tube for all; if you don’t believe me go to www.youtube.com/stensoul and see for yourself... Check out Peat’s work at Per Square Metre Gallery: www.persquaremetre.com Peat’s work will also be featured in two upcoming stencil books, a French one “Stencil History X” and “Stencil Nation” from www. stencilarchive.org
Suburban Dad by day and a stencil graffiti artist by night, Peat Wollaeger has three young boys and a wonderful wife. Drawing and painting ever since he was a kid, Peat started doing commercial art in the 90â€™s and continued for almost a decade, creating urban designs for such clients as Coca-Cola, R. J. Reynolds, M&M Mars, Anheuser Busch and many more lesser evils. Burned out with the graphic arts scene and not creating any personal art, he moved back to St. Louis and started using stencils and spray enamels to reproduce his illustrations, and now itâ€™s his medium of choice.
Suburban Dad by day and a stencil graffiti artist by night, Peat Wollaeger has three young boys and a wonderful wife. Drawing and painting ever since he was a kid, Peat started doing commercial art in the 90â€™s and continued for almost a decade, creating urban designs for such clients as Coca-Cola, R. J. Reynolds, M&M Mars, Anheuser Busch and many more lesser evils. Burned out with the graphic arts scene and not creating any personal art, he moved back to St. Louis and started using stencils and spray enamels to reproduce his illustrations, and now itâ€™s his medium of choice.
Peat’s work will also be featured in two up coming stencil books, “Stencil History X” from France and “Stencil Nation” from stencilarchive.org. In December Peat completed a massive wall as a Tribute to Keith Hairing for art history month at Primary Flight during this year’s Art Basel 2007 in Miami. Currently he is working on a new body of work for a huge exhibition in Melbourne in May of 2008 at the Per Square Metre Gallery, Collingwood, Melbourne.
Pots Pans, and Fisticuffs by Daniel Newman
Chefs are very complicated creatures; they work long, hard hours; usually hundred and twenty a week. In the Ritz for example you’ll start your shift at seven in the morning, and leave at the stroke of midnight. The pay for your average Commis Chef is no more than six pound fifty, and the abuse that one has to endure is nothing short of barbaric. I’ve seen fresh faced teenagers walk into kitchens, and leave several hours later looking like Shane McGowan with a three day hangover. The life of somebody who works in catering is to be blunt, shit. I’ve worked in various restaurants around the world, and I’m going to show how I had a burning passion to cook, and within the space of five years never wanted to step inside a kitchen, as long as I lived. I’m going to give a glimpse of the dark seedy underbelly of the catering world, a world of racism, drugs, and murder (Ok so not the last one). But some characters I’ve met I wouldn’t trust with a spoon, let alone a collection of blood stained knives. It all began on an extremely hot summer’s day in 1998, Brit Pop was at its height and to my eternal shame my hair and attitude was a meticulous imitation of Liam Gallagher. I had left school at sixteen, with a list of qualifications that could be written on a piece of floss, and my career prospects were just as flimsy. I had spent the dark winter months pursuing my dream of pushing trolleys around Sainsbury’s car park. Unfortunately, I was sacked for not turning up to work, a subject that still burns me to this day. So with no qualifications and no work, I asked my friends father (a chef) if he had any work going, and to my surprise he jumped at my offer. He offered me the position Kitchen Porter, I didn’t know what this meant but it sounded like an important role. The place we’ll call Chef De Paris was a small bistro, which served Moroccan and Parisian fair on the back drop of Reggae music. My first shift began at two in the afternoon, walking into a small cramped kitchen, steam and different smells of food hit me immediately, also so did the heat. Then out of the steam appeared my very first Head Chef, he introduced himself as Mo. He wore a brown woolly skull cap and he had a thick black beard. Looking me up and down, he asked me in an aggressive North African accent, “You the KP” his eyes grilling
me fiercely. ‘Err yes, I’m the one meant to start at two, but I don’t know what, well, err... He let me ramble, staying quiet as my tongue began to contort with nerves. “Go downstairs and get changed, and then will talk, about the job.” He said turning to flip something bubbling in a pan. I followed his finger, pointing down a dark and ominous looking staircase. The trip down was almost suicidal as the stairs were drenched in oil and potato skins. As I walked further down the stairs, hundreds of empty boxes and potato bags lay in my path. After getting changed, I walked upstairs for my debriefing but Mo was now busy screaming at a waiter who coolly stood while Mo spat in his face “You fucking jerk, I’m not cooking a duck breast well done!” His cool exterior was now and truly lost as he screamed insults at the waiter. “You have to, that’s what she wants. Mo, cook it,” the waiter said in utter indifference at the abuse he was receiving. Mo looked at him, and with his knife tilted towards the face of the waiter, said in a growl, “Tell her she can get fucked.” He looked like he was going to explode, and the fact that he spoke like Joe Pesci in GoodFellas made me quite nervous. Images of the waiter in a white sheet and boots of cars sprung to my mind. I stood slowly moving a towel in my hand, looking like Oliver Twist; I bravely interrupted the slinging match and asked, “Please sir, what am I to do with myself?” to which I was duly pointed towards a sink full of soggy chips, salad and piles of pots and pans. The fisticuffs continued around me as I began to wash. My first day in a kitchen had well and truly begun.
Dinner with the Beatles by Daniel Newman
As I lay in a Thomas the Tank engine duvet cover, staring blankly at the ceiling that had slowly began to peel over me; through the shabby carpet drunken conversations had become disruptive to my sleep. The dinner parties my parents held always became a merry affair, full of middle class drunken banter. A surreal noise came from downstairs. The first lines of the piece of music my father had just placed on his turntable became clear. ‘Let me take you down, cause I’m going to, Strawberry Fields forever’. The music was strange, and very different from the tedious lullabies and bedtime stories that had been told to me over and over again. I rushed out of my bed in my Thunder cat pyjamas. I heard the warm hypnotic sound that came up the stairs with the smell of red wine and cigarettes. I wrapped my hands around the banisters and listened intently. The horse nasal roar of a singer I now know to be John Lennon was exotic and very strange. At the time I didn’t know who this was but I knew I wanted to hear it again, and again. The very following day I crept into my father’s office, stale red wine with cigarette butts floating inside like dead flies stood between me and the turntable. Pulling over a chair, I looked down on the black vinyl which red to my delight ‘Strawberry Fields’ the Beatles. Lifting the lid of the record player, I desperately wanted the sound I had heard the night before. Grabbing the needle with my clumsy digits I moved it over the record, which suddenly came alive, slowly spinning around underneath my hand. I dropped the needle on the record, and after a deafening scratch, my father rushed in like a cheetah sweeping me up into his arms. He hurriedly, carried me out and into the kitchen. And in a fierce growl ‘Don’t touch my records again.’, But it was too late the urge to hear Rock and Roll, had been well and truly ignited. And I would be back to visit his office very soon.
// stencil artist
What is your real name? To you I am Psalm, only the inner circle of brethren shall know my real name. How old were you when you did your first piece? I was about 18. Bit of a late starter in graffiti circles. Where did you grow up? I was born and inbred in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. There are satirical elements to your work: archetypal constructs and ideals; what inspired you to travel down that path? It just stems from my observations of the world around me. I am constantly amazed at the stupidity of the human race. Things like consumerism, vanity, greed, and so on all provide hours of fun / material to work with. May I ask you to share a special memory with our readers? Yes you may. Well, it goes way back to when I was about 5 or 6yrs old. Back then, there used to be a dry dog food called “Good-O’s”. Anyway, one day I was in my grandmother’s back yard with a friend and he dared me to eat one. So I got one out of the packet, at this stage I’m thinking, ‘Am I going to die? - It says DOG FOOD ONLY on the packet; it must say that for a reason.’ It was a question of pushing myself over that imaginary line that stops people from making rash decisions. Eventually I did eat it, and it didn’t taste too bad either. If I recall correctly I even ate a few more. The moral of the story is don’t be scared to step over that line. What do you dislike most about human emotions? (If you were to pick a qualm...) Nothing really, because it’d be pretty boring if we didn’t have them. But I suppose the problem lies with the upper / lower extremities of emotions. Take hatred for example, we all hate something or someone from time to time and then we get over it. But if you go to the extreme, hatred can build and build until that person snaps. Murder or some other detrimental activity could be the final outcome of such extreme emotions. That can apply to all the emotions. You need to find a balance.
What do you believe in most in this world? Minimalism. Minimalism has become my philosophy for life. It’s simple, it’s practical, it’s economical, and most importantly it’s uncomplicated. To me simplicity is perfection. It pains me the amount of wastage we have in this world. We live in an age of excessive excess and we all need to minimize our lives. Where do you think lies the line between darkness and light; truth and fiction? It should run straight down the middle. Therefore you have balance and harmony. But at the moment I think there is a serious imbalance in the favour of darkness. I’ve always been a believer in the idea that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I’m optimistic that there will be a turn around one day. I hope it’s soon. Do you believe we can become prisoners of our own history? Yes, a lot of people do. Personally I always like to look forward; it’s easier to see where you’re going. Your history shapes the person that you become but there’s no need to be a prisoner. I suppose it all comes down to choice. Do you want to be a prisoner or do you want to move forward? It’s like someone who comes from a troubled background of violence and drug abuse. They can be a prisoner of their history and continue down the same path. Or they can say, ‘I want to break free from that’ and change direction. History provides a base for you to move forward from. Define freedom. That’s a tough one. Freedom I think is letting go of the constraints of modern society. There’s too much emphasis on material things. Like the saying goes, “You aren’t what you own”. [Freedom] is doing something you choose to do. Most of us are stuck in jobs we don’t want to do. I’d love to go live in the jungle with some lost tribe where food, water, and shelter were my only concerns. What’s your favourite time of the day? I’m not a morning person, so it’ll be some time later in the day. I’d say dinner time. It’s generally the time when you can truly sit back and relax. You can enjoy good company, or just switch off.
Have you ever fallen in love with a stranger? Not yet, but I’ve started putting on a condom before I go out just in case something does happen. Would you care to tell us a bit more about your life right now? Not particularly, I think I’m being watched. Hey, I saw a great bit of political graffiti the other day. It read “Life’s easy - I’m white”. The power of words is awesome. Would you say you’re easily surprised? Whoooa, that surprised me! Yes, I get surprised really easily, especially while out painting and someone comes from out of nowhere. I’m pretty sure if I was the only person on earth and I went out painting someone would come from out of nowhere and surprise me.
FL. In terms of projects and collaborations, is there anything that you’re working on at the moment? I’m working on some assemblage-type pieces for future exhibitions (nothing confirmed at the moment), but it’s good to get the ball rolling. I’ve also been inspired again to get back into stencilling on the streets. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve really applied myself to the streets. I have some new ideas for some larger scale pieces and am eager to get them out there. FL. Would you care to share a few last words for our readers? Just to have fun, be creative, and enjoy life.
// stencil artist
As I became more and more absorbed into graffiti, I began to learn more about graffiti around the world. A fellow artist by the name of SONIK3000 was the first person to turn me on to graffiti in Brasil. He is the author of a book, Graffiti Brasil (http://www.graffitibrasil. com). The authorities here are usually relaxed about artists painting walls, and often times the police drive or walk and comment on the work, though sometimes (very seldomly) everyone is asked for IDs and an explanation. Luckily I have never encountered this. São Paulo’s native style Pixação can be amazing but the work can damage buildings and hurt the artists. Many kids get into pixação in their teens but move on to other styles by their early twenties. I have had the opportunity to paint around the country and my best experiences were in Rio de Janeiro. The first artist I met was Petite Poupée7 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ petitepoupee7). She was the one who guided me through the streets and called the spots. I made many paintings with her and bombed the streets while she watched out for me. I also was able to paint with a few guys in Favela Rocinha. This was amazing because I was painting while little kids were watching and gathering around in groups. Within these groups were the gang members wielding hand guns and semi-automatics. The peace was in the air for a while because we were with local artists. I met a drug dealer in Rocinha who called himself Gigante, and he was a member of the infamous gang A.D.A. (Amigos dos Amigos) who run the entire favela and ‘protect’ the population. Gigante was drinking a beer along with one of our artist friends Roler and he proudly showed me the 9mm strapped to his waist. He was excited that I was there painting in his favela. He offered me marijuana and asked for a can of paint and started painting his tag onto every surface he could find. Soon many more gang members showed up, and we knew it was time to say goodbye. After waiting a long five minutes, we got the next bus to Leblon. What a day! Every day was a new adventure. Life on the streets of a city in Brasil can be a double edged sword. I was fortunate enough to have great memories.
Blind Dates by Fiona McColl
What must be established here are two indisputable realities. The first, all dates are blind dates. It doesn’t matter how well you know someone, as soon as you add the word, ‘date’ everything is altered. Someone up there turns the lights off and you enter into a Logic Free Zone. Secondly, and this is a very important reality indeed; all men are bastards. Some men are resistant to this observation. They mostly fall into the category of ‘nice’ men. ‘Nice’ men must be watched very carefully, because they tend to be the biggest bastards of all. The rest of men are generally amenable to owning their bastard-ness. Some, if asked directly can even give reasonable discussion of how you might expect their bastard-ness to manifest. I didn’t make this up. It’s actually very scientific in a qualitative-analysis-sort-ofway. All my direct experiences with the male faction consistently end with bastard-ness. My friends have the same experience. Even the students and colleagues who dump their love lives (and shit poetry) on me like tarnished treasures, also consistently confront bastardness. Finally, the most conclusive bit of evidence: My closest male friends, and my best cousin Jack, have cautioned me, over and over again to never forget, all men are bastards, themselves included. How’s that for authenticity? I was a bit of a slow learner, but by Jack, I think I finally got it! This is not a matter of my ‘bad luck’ with men, it’s just reality, and as immutable as gravity. I have a fondness for brats, bad boys and blatant
bastards. Not, contrary to recent analysis, because I enjoy pain. I like men that will own their bastard-ness up front, nice and direct so I don’t have to go looking for it. I appreciate honesty, and am fond of people who will tell you they come first, and ‘fuck you’, if you get in their way. Maybe I’m a bit of a bastard myself. That’s OK. I’m also nice enough, if you’ll pardon my gagging, to own my bastard-ness directly, which is what I am busy with at the moment. Peter Sherman. Does it get any better? I think not. He’s sitting in front of me, looking intensely at me with sea, he is sitting in front of me, looking intensely at me with sea green eyes (which I’m also a sucker for), generous mouth curved into the graceful arc of a fake smile. His hands have snaked across the table and captured mine, making me feel small and fragile. I know his smile is fake, as I am in the process of telling him over an ‘after work drink’ that there’s nothing that would please me more than to fuck him ... if only he didn’t have a wife. I also know he wants to fuck me. “You have a problem that I’m married?’ His voice is boy honey. Deep, but not too deep, slow, sweet. It’s the kind of voice that slides under my skin. “Nope. I don’t have a problem with the fact that you’re married. I have a problem with the invariable fact that you will have a problem that you are married.” I untangle my hand, to pick up my wine glass and sip. “I’m doing the math in advance, Peter.” He looks at me, a lock of
black hair falling across his left eye. I want to brush it aside, let my fingers wander in his hair a moment .... I don’t. “Anyone ever told you that you think too much, Pussy Cat?” He grins. I don’t smile back. “Yeah, all the people I drop on their asses.” I reply. Bada bing bada boom bada bang. “So where does your wife think you are, hmm?” I figure it’s a fair question, though generally on the ‘verboten’ list in such circumstances as this. “Uh, a meeting.” He squirms and it makes me smile. “Uh huh. Can’t argue with a meeting eh?” I have no judgment going on here. “So is this going to be a long meeting, Peter?” I arch my eyebrow and look at him directly, taking another sip of wine. I like pushing the limits. His smile is back and so is the confidence. “Well, I guess that depends on you.” I toy with ideas. I consider taking him back to my apartment, stripping down with him, and dismantling him in the most revealing of fashions. I think of his body moving with mine, and you know, it’s very difficult to be sensible from that place. I stand up, looping my sweater over my arm. I like the look on his face. He’s surprised. I like the way his eyes follow the curves of my body. I like that his lips part. I can’t for the life of me, resist pushing some more. I stand over him, which has the calculated effect of forcing him to tilt his head back to look up at me with those eyes, that mouth! I lean over and I kiss him. A lingering kiss, that promises much on both sides, and then ends. “I’m ... sorry Peter.” I whisper it into his ear. I’m smiling slowly where he can’t see it, not feeling even a bit sorry. He’s unsettled, simmering with ‘I want you’. I want him too. Never let the bastards see you sweat. “You take care.” I smile, and plunk a fiver on the table for my wine. I like it when I owe nothing.
Fiona McColl // poet
Dark Double I begin to suspect You have the best of me I am your disarticulation Alive, less than well;
The one, on the wrong side of your looking glass.
You come, you go A peripheral sort.
I am the Sin eater, the fetch
This oiliness of character,
Who swallows your regrets;
Doesn’t inspire trust,
Fruit rotting in my belly
And, your feral eyes
That never touched my lips.
Mine the exile, my life Your spectral evidence.
Once, over a glass of wine, you shared A sliver of the life you live When you aren’t haunting me.
You wear red, you sing, you write, Sleep naked, live alone, Have a cat And are still loving a lover Whose name I don’t mention.
With the scent of regret; Your skin is slick with This natural pheromone That draws me in Hungering for shadows.
Shadow talks back I like, you romanticize me (Although you’re full of shit) I mean really! Your scars, Embroidered into my skin; I, fair filigreed with cicatrices, Crimson, amethyst, faded to silver. I’ve been accused More than once Of self-harming. I, of course, tell them “I didn’t do it ... It was my Shadow”
Shadow wears red
Shadow lives close
Of our Devil’s bargain;
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not
Jealous, jealous! Your music, Your voice,
bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” ~ Daniel Pinchbeck, 2012
Your power Your red gloves Confident upon the life Not chosen.
We live, coat Skin to skin frisson Counting scars, sins And summer freckles.
What have you to envy, Shadow girl? What bargain shall we strike?
We speak dead languages With candid tongues -
How is it, I negotiate for a life That is already my own?
These shade I invoke thee who are me -
Echoes in empty corridors Secrets no one hears.
We hunger For each others’ place Our bones ache From collective mistakes.
my heart open, hands bearing keys to the cage tongue itching with apology.
I the handcuff She the key I the blood she bleeds
Come out, come out
She, the air I breathe.
wherever you are. Don’t be frightened, I couldn’t banish you gods know, I’ve tried.
No dissolving projections, you shades who have become angels are the best evidence I am.
Orphaned Splintered We share shadows.
Tess Milani // illustrator
These pieces all based on intimate moments with good friends of mine from spontaneous and unprepared photographs capturing crude happenings in a daily life. I used the photographs as inspiration to base and pull an illustration from.
‘In Vino Veritas’ - In wine there is truth.
I see everything in lines, contours and solid blockings of colour. I find myself following the contour lines over someoneâ€™s face and in the creases of clothing. Itâ€™s intriguing to see so many seemingly unrelated and synthetic shapes and lines all come together to create something so sincere.
I often find myself at my desk with a coffee doodling away and so I began dipping a brush into my coffee and shading with that. Iâ€™ve always liked distressed looking objects and art so the aged coffee colour adds some shade simplistically and effectively.
I prefer to have a detached mindset from what Iâ€™m drawing. Even when Iâ€™m doing a drawing based on a photo of a friend I never intend it to be a portrait.
Do you find that you can relate closer to those people who can process and appreciate the beauty of silence and contrast? Oh, totally. I find myself being able to talk to people better when they know when to keep their mouths shut. Seriously. I appreciate small talk and a good sense of humour, but [people] should know when to stay and appreciate silence. I work better when there’s nobody around. I also love taking mental snap shots when I want to treasure moments in life. I know it might sound weird, but I really do! About the contrast, isn’t life always about contrasts? Everything is better understood if they are compared to something contrasting. Putting two opposite things makes them easier to see and appreciate. That’s how I expect people to see my works. They will appreciate the bright colours only if they see the dark in it, they will the softness only if they are contrasted to rough textures. I can’t be bothered to explain my work to people. I think works with too much explanation kind of lose their true meaning. Give them a poem that relates to the work, or a phrase, or a song; that always works.
Do you think a lot of your work has had a sense of self portraiture - that is to say, do you find yourself using your imagination as a mirror? I guess that’s true. A lot of artists do put, to some extent, their own self portrayals into their works. I guess I’m not any different. I’ve never really thought about it, I guess. I get my ideas from day- and nightdreaming, so I guess subconsciously I imagine myself in the situations portrayed in my work. Would you care to tell our readers a bit more about who you are as an individual and how that relates to who you are as an artist? Oh this is a difficult question. I wouldn’t actually call myself an artist. That’s probably too much. I’ve only started getting into manipulating few years ago. I love creating beautiful images, that’s all. I’ve just started my honours to complete my degree in medical science. Doing manipulations is fulfilling for my alter ego, I don’t get to be imaginative in science; not as much as I want. Science is mostly logical; so I write poems, short stories, sketch, or do some digital arts. I’m still not good though. Manipulations seem to be a new part of arts that people are still trying to explore. It’s new and hence there are less boundaries and rules. It’s difficult to say that one is a good manipulator because there are not enough artists to compare to. And you learn by looking at other people’s work and sharing techniques with them. The fact that manipulators (just as scientists) do not compete with each other but tend to help and encourage each other is probably why I find it comforting to stay in the manipulating business.
How do you relate to memory when you work? Do you find yourself revisiting it as accurately as you can, or filling in the gaps with your own colours? Then recreating something from memory (or dream, in most cases) I tend to use only the major details. Colours are definitely something that I always love to play with. Sometimes I use crazy contrasts, and other time I use colours that create monotones. Memories or dreams are not always the happiest ones, so when recreating something I tend to make it as beautiful or comforting as it could be. Even though people have occasionally referred to my work as ‘dark’, I never intentionally make it to have any eerie or disturbing feelings. Dark coloured art does not mean it is gothic or emo. My images are also greatly influenced by the music that I hear. In the process of creating my work, I listen to songs that I think might relate to (and sometimes affect) the final images. Tori Amos and Elliott Smith are my first choices when I create something mellow, while Muse, Radiohead or Andrew Bird create a happy relaxing mood. On an ending note, we’d love for you to share a brief account here: it could be ending words in retrospect; or a fleeting thought that you’ve just had after answering these questions. I’ll thank Frame Lines for the opportunity to display my work and myself to other artists or art admirers. The questions above would have to be the most difficult questions I have ever been asked, especially considering how non-artsy I really am. I just want to say that art is for everybody out there - there has to be a media for you to express your feelings. Whether you’re good at drawings or just making rhymes, even if you can’t name all the colours in the art shop or if you’re tone deaf, art is for everybody. It just takes time to find which media is the best for you.
Sarah Pickering // illustrator
India has always been a magical place for me....
I went there full of expectations at the age of twenty, back packing for six months and just soaking it all in. Six years later I had the opportunity to go and work in a home for children built by a London based charity organisation in Mumbaiâ€™s red light district for girls and boys whose mothers work in the sex industry. The children are also given an opportunity to live a normal life and get a good education by staying long term in one of the other homes located two hours outside Mumbai. I am humbled by people who devote their life to helping the unprivileged and felt very awkward knowing that I was only staying for one month... you barely get to know the kids and already have to leave again. So, by doing the visual essay I wanted to bring some attention to the invaluable work that is done there.
Black, red and green are not colours I would consider favourites.... Generally I work with mixed colours, very rarely with primary colours. It sounds terribly girly, but the colour I am using quite a lot at the moment is pink...(old rose) but I like so many other colours as well, for example turquoise, cream, dark brown, graphite, dark blue. But I do think itâ€™s more important in which combination the colour is used. Also, the application (coating) of the colour is important - a crayon red looks different to an acrylic red and itâ€™s even more interesting what happens if you mix them both together. I am very much into using mixed media and love finding new shades of colours and combining them.
I am often inspired by scenes I observe on the street....
I love sitting in a cafe or on a train and eavesdropping and making up stories about people. Animals are a motive I often use. I like drawing them because they come in a diversity of shapes, sizes, colours, patterns, etc which makes them a great source of inspiration. I want my illustrations to be creative, original, showing humour and a lot of beauty. I am very tired of images and art of the shock and attention-seeking nature. With my work I would like to leave an impression of kindness and warmth.
My Grandad got me interested in watercolours at the age of five.... He mainly painted landscapes but sometimes came up with funny characters like ‘The Ram-Jam-Sandwich’ (a very kind Indian Maharashtra) of which he made colourful illustrations - l loved it. I always wanted to do either something with music or design and chose the latter, because I didn’t like performing in front of a large audience. I still enjoy playing the violin. What fascinated me about design/visual communication is that every project is a new challenge. You never know how it will turn out and there are several stages you need to go through before seeing any final results. Of course the process can also be very nerve-racking and often results in me having a strong desire to throw everything out of the window... Also, I have a little project going with a couple of friends in Switzerland – we’re sending each other illustrated letters which have to be manipulated and changed by the recipient. It’s challenging and makes you think outside of the usual pattern of your thought and work process as there is always someone who will paint over or change what you have done.
Traces of Life by William Falo
Gisele read the names on the crooked tombstones but failed to find her father’s grave. She sat down unable to continue as the constant reminder of death wore her out. A man methodically checking every grave walked around her and continued down the path. “Do you work here?” she called out. He stopped and smiled, “Yes. Are you okay?” “I’m looking for Thomas Friedrich.” “That’s a common name in Germany. What’s your name?”, he asked as he wrote something down. She stood up and brushed off her jeans. Then she pushed her hair back, “Gisele.” She became angry as he wrote it down, “Stop writing!” “Sorry. I’m Peter, follow me.” He led her to a well-kept grave. She knelt down and traced the name on the tombstone with her fingers and sobbed, but holding back the tears. Someone took care of it. Who? She needed to know. “Who put these flowers here?” “Let’s find out.” She noticed his clear blue eyes and blonde hair. They entered the office. A man smoked a cigarette and coughed while he tried to tune in a shortwave radio. “Damn reception is lousy here. Must be all the spirits,” he coughed while laughing. “Wolfgang, we need to find out who takes care of Thomas Friedrich’s grave.” “I do,” he said, “who wants to know?” “You wouldn’t take care of your own mother’s grave. This is Gisele.” She realized that Peter lied. He didn’t work here. She chewed on her hair. What was he doing here and why did he help her? Wolfgang pulled out some files and said, “I only do this for you, Peter.” She stepped back when she saw a Nazi insignia on Wolfgang’s arm. “Here we are. It’s a Heidi Friedrich on the Auf der Meere.” “Thank you,” she said. He stared at her and she backed
out quickly. She said good-bye as Peter wrote down his first name and phone number on a card. She drove to the address of Heidi Friedrich and knocked on the door. The row of moderate-sized houses connected together seemed tranquil with a park across the street and shops nearby. She tried to control her anger that had built up over the last fifteen years since the end of the war. An old lady answered, “Hello, Can I help you?” Gisele panicked and stepped back. “I’m looking for Thomas Friedrich.” She pulled at her hair. The smell of furniture polish drifted out of the door. The lady sighed, “Why?” Could she say it? She hesitated and that minute caused her to lose her bravado. “I work for the government. I have money owed to him for his service in the Navy.” Which included creating me in a one night stand in Oslo, she thought. “He’s dead. I’m his wife. How come you don’t know that?” “Lost records.” The lies were becoming easy. “You may be entitled to the money.” She wanted to find out if there were any half siblings or something else meaningful. A timer went off in the kitchen. Saved by the bell. “Come in,” she said. Gisele went into a spotless room as the lady hurried into the kitchen to remove bread from the oven. Her eyes took in everything. A Swiss cuckoo clock ticked loudly on the wall. Books lined shelves along the far wall. Little figurines watched her every move from their fixed spots on every flat surface. Then she saw it. A black and white picture of a man in a navy uniform as he prepared to board a ship hung on the wall. She cried then took the picture and ran out the door. How could she tell her that her dead husband was my father? She sipped coffee at a café while staring at the picture. Why you, she wondered. If only her mother
didn’t die. She took out the card and went into the café to call Peter, “Hi, Are you busy?” “No,” he replied. “Can you meet me somewhere?” “Yes.” They agreed to meet in the park across from the Friedrich’s house. She showed him the picture. “I figured it out,” he said. “You have blonde hair with blue eyes and a Norwegian accent. You’re a Lebensborn child.” She gasped. “I knew it,” he said. “Please don’t tell anyone. Everybody hates us. Besides, you are kind of strange too. You walk around cemeteries with a notepad.” He laughed. “I am looking for something.” “What?” “I can’t tell you. You will hate me if you know.” She opened her mouth to speak then stopped. “Look,” she pointed at the Friedrich’s house. A lady in her thirties entered the house. “That could be my step sister.” “Let’s go find out.” “I can’t. It will destroy that family. What will they think of their father? He was out screwing foreign woman while they worried about him.” “Well, look what it’s done to you.” She handed him the picture. “Can you give this to them? I shouldn’t have stolen it.” “Okay, I’ll say I found it on the sidewalk.” She watched as the door opened. The younger lady took the photograph and appeared to yell at him then slammed the door. What had just happened? He returned. “She was mad.” “Why?” He shrugged his shoulders and said he had to go somewhere. “Can we meet tomorrow?” “I guess so,” she said. He got in the old black car and drove away. She walked to the inn where she was staying and went to bed. Later, she sat outside the Friedrich’s house and waited for inner strength. It never came and so she walked to the gravesite. She watched for Peter but saw no one and went to her father’s grave. She knelt down and sobbed. “How can you do this to me? I wish I wasn’t even born.” She got up and walked away without looking back when she heard someone call her name. She headed to the bridge over the river. She wanted to end it. The pain was too much. She climbed on the railing and then heard someone yell, “Stop.” She looked at Peter. “What do you want?” “Don’t do this.” “Peter, leave me alone. Don’t you have a graveyard to search?”
“No, and I don’t want to find your grave in one when I do. Please wait a little longer maybe things will get better. Please.” She climbed down and silently walked off the bridge. Peter looked away and said, “My father was a SS officer and betrayed lots of people around here. People hate me because of him and some people think he is still alive. I wanted to find his grave so they will forget him and I can live in peace but I realized that won’t happen as long as I am here.” “That family will never accept me either. I realize that now too. I’m a reminder of his infidelity. They thought he was a hero and the sight of me will always make them sick.” “Sounds like the sight of both of us will make people upset. We will give them nightmares.” He laughed but stopped quickly. “It’s so surreal that we met. It’s like someone arranged it.” They walked to her father’s grave and she cried. Peter gently touched her shoulder. “It’s okay,” he said and hugged her. She smiled and squeezed his hand and saw an interesting sparkle in his eyes. The next morning she walked to the cemetery for the last time and gasped when she saw a blanket of colourful heather growing among the bleak tombstones. Gisele picked a handful of the purple blossoms off her father’s grave then inhaled their fragrance and felt in her heart the faint traces of life.
Plastic Angel Wings by William Falo
Dmitri pushed away the street children as they begged for money from the disembarking passengers while they walked through Leningradsky Station. He had drunk too much on the train to try to numb his pain and stumbled when one child boldly jumped out and stood in front of him. He tumbled over the child and fell to the ground. The child became entwined with him. “Get off me you disgusting thing,” he yelled as he brushed himself off. “Yes sir,” said the child and ran away. He felt his back pocket, “Come back with my wallet!” The child’s hat fell off and long hair with purple streaks trailed behind her. Damn, it was a girl. He walked home slowly through the icy streets of Moscow. His wife failed to look up from the book she held when he came in the door. After drinking a glass of vodka he thought of his money being stolen. Then he decided to look for the girl who took it. “How was the computer seminar?” His wife Svetlana asked. “Fine but I got to find her,” he said and poured another glass of vodka. “Who?” “The dirty street girl who stole my money!” The phone rang and Svetlana answered it then walked away. He just watched as she walked past Katrine’s bedroom. The door remained closed ever since she died of cancer six months ago. He thought of starting a fire but the cold soothed his soul and the thought of a warm comfortable feeling without his daughter seemed wrong. The vodka numbed him enough to fall sleep on the couch while planning a return to the train station. He remembered his wallet contained pictures of Katrine and he wanted them back at all costs. He put on an old coat and didn’t shower so as to not stand out among the derelicts that hung out there. He left before Svetlana was awake. He stopped at the picture of Katrine ice skating with him and remorse filled him. The future was empty, he thought. He entered the station and travelled the less frequently used tunnels looking for the girl. Around the first dark corner he
heard the sound of deep breathing and then saw children with brown bags held to their mouths. It stunk like shoe polish and it made him nauseous. They ordered him to go away, taking him for a homeless man. Their eyes were hollow and they swayed on unsteady legs. A policeman approached from the other end and stopped him. “What are you doing down here?” He forgot what he looked like and replied, “Looking for a girl.” “That’s what I figured. Come with me, you pervert.” He tried to grab his arm. Dmitri shrugged it off and pushed him away. He ran down the tunnel and the policeman chased him. He passed the children sniffing the glue and the policeman stopped. “You,” he said to the boys, “Get out of here!” He took out his baton and started beating them for no reason. They screamed and scattered but not before some were bleeding from head wounds. He slipped away before he looked for him again. My God, this is a dangerous place. His life was filled with computers and paper cuts. He entered the streets outside glad to escape the darkness below. Children gathered on the far side of the large building. Some begged while carrying dogs to gather symphony while others carried the brown bags of shoe polish. He saw some girls in the street stopping cars. “Sex for rubles,” they yelled, tiny figures darting among lusting eyes. He couldn’t believe it. He never saw this before. Then he noticed the girl who stole the wallet. All his anger returned. “You!” he yelled. The girl saw him and ran down the street until someone opened a car door and she jumped in. The man drove away as Dmitri tried to catch up but stooped over coughing. He panted heavily as the other girls laughed at him. “Where is he taking her?” He yelled out. They continued to laugh. One bold one yelled back, “Where do you think? She’s going to be a movie star!” “What do you mean?” “Think about it, imbecile.” They laughed some more. “Maybe you’re interested in one of us, but you don’t look like you have any money though.” He felt terrible. He would wait for the girl to return. His
anger left him as he thought of the luxurious life they led. His daughter went to a private school and dance classes. She died, he thought. What did it matter? He dozed off in a corner after sipping some vodka he bought. The sun had begun to set behind the large station façade and coldness penetrated into his insides. A car door slammed nearby and he looked up and saw the girl with purple streaks in her hair. She walked away looking sombre. Her eyes were wet. “Wait,” he yelled as the car drove away. He caught up to the window and stared into the eyes of a face he recognised - a government official. The man glared at him, “What do you want?” “What did you do with that girl?” “None of your business,” he said and reached down and pulled out a handgun. Dmitri backed away and the car drove off. He stood in shock before trying to follow the girl. He saw her huddled in a corner where a drum filled with wood burned. Other children dispersed when he approached, “I want to talk to you.” He pointed at the girl. “No more. I am sick.” She coughed harshly. “You stole my wallet, yesterday.” “I don’t know what you are talking about.” “Yesterday, you stole my wallet after we fell. I just want the pictures back.” “Why?” “They are of my daughter?” “How old is she?” “She would’ve been fifteen.” “I’m sorry, mister.” She reached into the cloth bag she carried and handed him the wallet. “Thank you.” He walked away. When he looked back she wasn’t there. He sat on the couch and stared at the pictures while drinking vodka. The numbness eased the pain. Svetlana read a book in the corner. The quiet drove him crazy. “I’m going for a walk.” His wife just grunted. He passed an internet café and saw a gang of street children sitting on ragged couches and hunched over computers. A long black car drove up and honked as Dmitri entered the café. Two girls jumped up and ran out the door. He spun around and saw a trail of purple. “No, stop.” The car doors slammed and wheels screeched as it drove away. He grabbed a boy playing a computer game. “Where are they going?” “I don’t know.” “Tell me.” He gripped his arm harder. “Listen Mister. They put them on web cams.” The next day he returned to the café and saw the girl crying. “What’s wrong?” “A girl died last night. She was killed by a customer. What do you want? I gave your wallet back.” “I know. I can’t forget about your situation. I want to help you.” “It’s too late for me. I ran away from an orphanage before. My parents are dead.” “Here’s my address. If you need help come there.” She tore up the card and he left, dismayed. Svetlana noticed his sadness and tried to offer him food. He
refused and paced the room. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for the street kids. He wished he could help but they wouldn’t trust him. He looked at a picture of Katrine wearing plastic angel wings and smiled. “I wish you could help the girl with purple hair.” He prayed to a God he didn’t believe in. The next day there was an explosion at the train station. Terrorists set off a bomb and many people were injured. He wanted to go there but nobody was allowed. “So, this is how you answer prayers,” he thought aloud. The angel wings were only plastic. He poured vodka into a shaking glass in his hand, and for the first time he felt like ending his life. The bridge over the icy river beckoned. The door bell rang and he spilled the vodka. “Damn it,” he cried. He pulled the door open and the girl with purple streaked hair stood there with tears in her eyes. She held out his card, it was taped together. “I’m scared.” Svetlana came over and helped her in. “What’s your name?” “Zorina.” Svetlana asked Zorina to stay the night. Dmitri stared in shock. It meant she would sleep in their daughter’s room. She opened the door slowly and light shined into Katrine’s room for the first time since her death. He finally felt inspired to start a fire and it spread warmth throughout the cold house. Dmitri went to the window and looked outside as it started to snow covering everything in a pristine blanket that shimmered under the streetlights. He remembered his daughter trying to catch snowflakes and thought he could still hear her laughter. Tears fought to come out but then he heard Zorina’s voice. He wondered if he could risk loving another child. He turned around as the reflection of the flames sparkled like diamonds in Zorina’s pale blue eyes, piercing the darkness in his heart.
What We See
#3 // Street Art â€œWith my deep love of the ocean and its magic carpet rides - they have been the force behind my life, the support, the friend, the lessons, the solitude, my ocean love and whilst we all take pleasure from it, the plight of our ocean environments cannot be ignored any further. Illegal dumping of waste and illegal fishing have taken their toll, and just as we are discovering more and more about them, we are degrading them further with every passing day... â€?
with Sarah Nolan Change needed
Finding wonder in the world
F R A M E
Brasilian Street Art Global Graffiti
with Jeremy Thomas
Brasil is a country of superlatives. Within its borders are contained some of the world’s great riches, and the Brasilians know it. Brasil houses the world’s greatest river by volume and its largest rainforest – the Amazon. From this great resource we are owed many things, from antibiotics to many unique fruits, berries and nuts; and of course its continued existence not only helps to clean and oxygenate the air we breathe, but temper the climate of the globe as a whole. Rich indeed is the world within a world that is Brasil. Isolation, war, faith and power have made their marks on it and the result is the possibility of self-sufficiency that not many nations can boast. It houses the world’s greatest population of Catholics, and several religions native to Brasil, such as Candomblé, Macumba, Umbanda and the União do Vegetal (a Christian church based on the use of the psychedelic drug Ayahuasca). Portuguese is the language of Brasil, while all of its neighbours either speak Spanish or something else. This has led to many distinct styles of music that can be called Brasilian and none other, such as Samba, Bossa Nova, Forro, Lambada-Zouk, Maxixé, MPB, Axé and Baile Funk, just to name a few. Being a Latin American country, these are each
accompanied by a unique (and often sexy) style of dance. Like so many of the styles of music and religion in the country, Capoiera, the martial art/dance/music combo was developed by slaves brought over by the Portuguese from Africa. Carnival, though celebrated in many parts of the world, has been modified by the Brasilian people into the hedonistic and oh-so fabulous feathered festa (party) it has now become. This huge country, maker of the world’s most famous flip-flops (Havaianas), even has its own (in) famous style of bikini and unique haircut to match. Their selection of fruit is rival even to Thailand’s, with exotic selections such as Guaraná and Açai berries and the Cashew fruit (upon which sits the ubiquitous nut) unavailable fresh in any other country due to their short life span. Brasil is the fifth greatest country in size (larger than Australia),
generating the world’s eighth highest GDP from its 185 million residents. It exports more beef and soya than anywhere else, but what gives the economy its strength is also robbing the country of another wealth. Recently the prices of both of these commodities went up a significant amount, and farmers are now more than ever encouraged to deforest the Amazon. This situation is exaggerated by the corporations, many foreign owned, that are cutting down large swathes of it. The Brasilian government is apparently trying to slow this process, but with recent rates approaching 1000km2 per month, drastic measures will be needed. As in most Latin American countries, corruption is widespread, money is squandered and advertising from (mostly foreign) corporations is conducted to ridiculous extremes. Despite all the cash, Brasil has some of the highest crime and unemployment rates in the region, and also some of its worst literacy and education figures. Brasilians are open, friendly people as a whole, but the enormous gap between rich and poor and overcommercialisation has created a culture of material insecurity. When Brasil looks elsewhere for what is popular, it is almost always to Hollywood or the US Pop / Urban music scene. During my stay in Brasil, I was staggered by the amount of designer clothing stores around, sell items at prices comparable to those in Europe. Brasilians buy these sunglasses, handbags and US$350 trainers because they are made to feel insecure if they don’t have them. They put everything on 12- or 24-month finance if they can’t use a card because their credit rating eloped with the home theatre system and probably won’t be coming home for Christmas. It will probably come as no surprise to learn that graffiti and street art, ever the political and pop-culture protest, is so widespread in Brasil. During my stay in Rio de Janeiro, I met Kyle from South Carolina, who has just recently returned to Brasil to live. He is a graffiti artist and skilled photographer, and believes that the standard of street art in São Paulo is the best in the whole world. Street art becomes an outlet for those living in Brasil’s huge favelas (slums), a
form of expression of life inside and out, and a far better investment in life than becoming a gun-toting gangster. Just like several famous football stars, some of the best street artists in Brasil were raised in favelas. Although life in a favela is not as dangerous as might be portrayed, trying to leave one for a better life out in the bairros (suburbs) is almost impossible given Brasil’s current social system. The street art in São Paulo is so good partly because police prosecution of graffiti is not as severe as in other places and partly because the artist community is involved in its creation. If you are a visual artist of any kind, there is a good chance you paint art onto the drab grey walls that seem to be everywhere in this city of eighteen million people. There is a real sense of pride in the work that is done, and artists often get together to work on a few pieces at once. I was lucky to be invited to two such sessions during my stay in São Paulo. São Paulo even has its own unique style of graffiti, Pixação - almost looking like a form of hieroglyphics, but readable to Portuguese speakers who recognise the letter shapes. The style itself is generally quite ugly, but impressive for the prominent places where it has been scribbled. One can find the giant form of lettering simply by looking up, to overpasses, the tops of apartment blocks and other near-impossible to reach areas. Pixação differs greatly from the street art in the city due to its nature as a ‘tag’ for the local gangs, and as such, is practised far more by these groups than by regular artists. There are a certain amount of deaths per year attributed to enthusiastic (and often shoeless) Pixadores taking their art a little too far.
Chanelling the Cane Spirits in South America by Jeremy Thomas
Amigos dos Amigos dos Amigos Friday 08.06.07 and it was here, just past a hairpin that we found some painting room.
With a couple of local artists from the favela (slum), plus my friend Kyle and a handful of Norwegians, we set off to paint some graffiti in Favela Rocinha. Two buses and 10 cans of spray paint later, we finally reached SĂŁo Conrado, the expensive beachside bairro in front of the great favela. From its high-rise apartments we walked inland past a sprawling market and then rubbish-strewn streets, the atmosphere and smell thickening as we neared. After lunch, we ventured in, led by our local friends, but crime is not usually a problem in the favelas culprits caught by the gangs are swiftly dealt with, often by death. Finding a wall not only free of graffiti, but also with permission from its owner, was a tricky task. We also were wary of spraying over the tags of the A.D.A - Amigos dos Amigos (Friends of Friends): the gang in control of Rocinha. We caught a bus, gears crunching all the way to the top of the favela, past scores of broken-down cars littering the road. The favela spread over to the other side of a ridge,
For the rest of the afternoon, until darkness fell absolutely, the guys painted their pieces onto the wall, an action which is not illegal in Brasil, and in a lot of cases is appreciated by the local community. Later with beers in hand, we sat with the locals on the street corner nearby, offering near-empty paint cans to the local youths, and it was here I sprayed my first tag, on a fence across the road. From what was being sprayed, it soon became apparent the youths were part of the A.D.A. When offered drugs for free later in the night, and saw various guns proudly displayed by kids no older than 16, we decided it was time we left, careering down the hill in a minibus to safety. Saturday we found ourselves waiting an hour for a tram in Lapa bound for Santa Teresa, a bairro on a shoulder of Corcovado. Once aboard the old yellow tram, I hung off the side (because they ran out of seats) as it sped its way over the famous white aqueduct (the Arcos) in Lapa. Barely a footâ€™s clearance lay between me, balanced on the narrow running board and holding on with white knuckles, and the chicken wire fence that ran along the edge. The tram soon had its bogeys on solid ground again, as it lurched up a steep cobblestone-lined road, now missing power poles and overhanging branches by mere inches. We hopped off for a delicious paella in the middle of the suburb, then jumped back on the tram for an equally hair-raising return to the station.
Global Graffiti cont...
Fade to grey Thursday 09.08.07
Everyone who has flown before knows the layout of airports ground floor is for Arrivals, first floor for Departures. But what is on the second floor? In most airports in Brasil, it is a great place to hang out or pass out on the floor amongst your baggage during the inevitable delays. This particular moment I was ‘Doing Time on the 2nd’ waiting for a bus to take me to meet my friend Kyle, who I had previously met in Rio de Janeiro. After an unknown amount of sleeping time, I was approached by a cluster of curious teenage Evangelical Christians, in São Paulo for a religious seminar of some sort. Their opening line, interestingly enough was, “Do you believe in Jesus?” This of course was followed by a lengthy (and somewhat broken) explanation of my views on the whole saga, which I’m not sure they fully comprehended. In conformity with expectations, the whole thing ended in an awkward stalemate and I ran off with my baggage trolley to catch a bus. Kyle met me at Hotel Renaissance, where I couldn’t have traded the cost of my entire holiday for one night in the Presidential Suite even if I had wanted to. We boarded the bus toward Morumbi, in the city’s middle-southwest. Apartment blocks stood in every direction, standing in groups like couples schmoozing their way around an immense concrete benefit ball. The air was thick, not with expensive cigar smoke, but of smog - a perpetual haze over the city. I visited another terreiro of Candomblé on Friday night with a friend I had just made, Elaine and her family. I was surprised to discover that this particular branch of Candomblé was different than the one practised in Bahia. The Orixás here, standing watch over the room, looked extremely similar to certain characters from the Bible. It is true that the African slaves of old incorporated the figures from the Bible as counterparts to their Orixás so they could continue their worship, but here it seemed they were paying more than just lip service to these icons. So how does one invoke the spirit of a character in the Bible? I may never know...
São Paulo’s mayor at the start of this year, disgusted at the sight of billboards and advertising everywhere, decided to ban all of it. Excepting for signs on the front of shops (allowable only on a ratio of 1.5m per 10m of frontage), everything else had to be taken down or painted over in grey. The fruit of the radical behaviour is a gigantic city turning monotone. Look up, and instead of being informed of the latest sunglasses, prestige car or that essential pharmaceutical, one now sees rusting metal skeletons of billboards, fluorescent light innards now laid bare to the open air. Shop fronts are similarly empty - just blank spaces (left by logos removed) or the same metallic skeletons are all that remain. Ironically, the companies that can afford to replace the sign are often the same ones that were responsible for the majority of billboard pollution. São Paulo now is a multitude of greys, from roads to footpaths, power poles to fences, concrete houses and apartment blocks, smog, fog and the banks of the two fairly-polluted rivers that run through the city. We arrived in a working-class suburb in the northeast of the city on Saturday with several graffiti and street artists for an afternoon of painting the walls in the street. Like a working bee of sorts, it was a family affair, and while all the painting was going on, I busied myself with the churrasco (barbecue). In contrast to the government’s grey politics, here was a group of people lovingly painting the walls in all kinds of colours and designs, making this corner of São Paulo a little brighter, both in colour and spirit.
Major Major Music
with Laura McNeice
What are your typical rehearsing sessions like? Passiona filled. No, not passion filled, Passiona as in the drink. It’s probably the best drink on the market; we do opt for the cans over the bottle though, you can see the floaty bits in the bottle. We’re still not man enough to see the floaty bits!
How do you describe your music to people? Fun. We have handclaps in songs! There is a song about a pirate and a ghost, and about the suburbs, and about trees, and girls and boys making out in backyards...woooooo
From off the top of your head, what would be your favourite song lyrics? ‘Who put the bomp in the bomp ba bomp ba bomp who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong’
Where have you performed live and what are your future plans? A lot of places, we pretty much have Melbourne all ticked off. We have also done a few shows in Sydney and Brisbane with Brisbane having nicer Pizza. We have been asked by Tragic/Athletic to go play their Album launch in Brisbane in a few months. We were all in a different countries for the last few months; we have finally got back and booked some shows, something like 5 or 6 in the next month, should be fun.
How did you come up with the band name? It comes from a book called “Catch 22”, there is a character called Major Major Major Major, but that’s way too many Majors in one name. Can you describe the first piece of music you played together? I’m not sure what it was, but it was definitely in a small bedroom in a terrace house. Green cordial was the drink of choice at that stage, we have definitely progressed. Who are your musical influences? We all have so many influences that we bring to the plate, but you would have to say that Weezer, Ash, Custard, Beatles, The Boss, The Kinks, lots of stuff really, have played a part. Too many to mention, but if you say anything by Pavement, then yes that’s an influence. If you said anything by Bros, then no, that’s probably not. New Kids on the Block is borderline.
Upcoming shows – April 11th of April @ Old Bar w/ Ropeburning and The Greasers Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9972595387 MySpace page - www.myspace.com/thisismajormajor
Interview with Major Major - 22/02/08 by Laura McNeice Major Major are - Lee J - Drums & Dance, David Rowland - Bass & Voice, Adrian Slattery - Guitar & Voice, Nick Taranto - Geetar
Adam Roche Music
with Laura McNeice
A self taught singer/songwriter based in Melbourne, Adam learnt his craft after spending quality time in the inspirational Ballarat Music Scene. An old stage performer, Adam found a love for the guitar and expressing himself through song. In the early 00’s, Adam formed The Bullwinkles and had a nice run supporting many of the lands great acts. These days, Adam is playing under the name Romantasaurus. Another Word for Romance, Adam’s debut solo EP, was recorded in Oct 06 and features a cast of Melbourne’s finest musicians. “It’s a mixture of my past and present”, says Adam of the recording. “I worked hard at trying to blend all my influences into this recording, while focusing hard on the lyrical content”. Another Word for Romance has received great reviews from the music community. Perhaps it is best summed up in his own words: ‘A little bit country, a little bit soul. A little bit folk and some rock ‘n’ roll’.
So Adam, do you write your own songs? Yeah I do. I’ve always come up with the ideas for the song lyrics and music. My recordings feature artists who have been given license to create additional sounds and licks. I give a lot of credit to Jon Steer and Mick Dando who have given life to most of songs and made them what they are today. What or whom have been your musical influences? There seem to be many different influences in my music and I am thankful to have had a variety of music in my life from an early age. These days I’m really into artists like Ryan Adams and bands like Wilco. There has always been a lot of country influence in my tunes, and these kinds of artists have taken country into a new era. I grew up listening to my parents’ records which consisted of a lot of Motown and British 60’s pop. What image do you think your music conveys and how do you go about writing it? I know when I play and write,
I’m thinking of romance and the ultimate quest for it. People have often commented that they felt they understand where I’m coming from. Sometimes when you pick up a guitar and sit down, you actually are thinking that you’re about to write the world’s greatest song. Most of the time, you just play and let things happen - new moments and little journeys that can eventually form a song, that’s the way I usually write. I often just start playing and let it all come out and unfold. I do this enough times until the words commit to memory. Sometimes it takes me a long time to complete a song, as I want the ending to come organically and not feel like I’ve had to just come up with it to form the song. I just like to let it flow and develop I guess. I’ve this one song which I’ve been writing for about 5 years now. It’ll finish itself one day and I’ll be happy. I guess this comes from the fact that I taught myself how to play and bit by bit, I’ve added a little more to my music vocabulary.
What live performance experience have you had over the years? Having played in a number of bands, I’ve been lucky to play at many live venues across Victoria supporting some of the land’s greatest acts. Name a bar and venue in Melbourne, and odds are I’ve played there at one point. Whether it has been with a full band, a duo or a solo show, I’ve played well over 150 gigs. My favourite venues are the small intimate ones where you and the audience can really connect. I recently played a gig at a place on Sydney Road called ‘Don’t Tell Toms’. I got on stage and people were right there underneath me eating their dinners. Those kinds of experiences really get your heart going and the energy is fantastic. For me, that’s what makes a good gig, for both you and the audience. What kind of music is making the rotation through you headphones? Right now I’m really into the strip down thing; you know the artists who are just simplifying it all, e.g. Iron and Wine, Ryan Adams and Jose Gonzalez. I’m really also liking this resurgence of the original alternative that we are having. We had this period of so called punk and emo where I just wasn’t convinced of anything. But bands on the same wave as the Artic Monkeys and even The Wombats are re-igniting something. It is the energy I think, the songs seem to be less chaotic and more meaningful and I like that. But honestly, it’s rare for me to really be into a new band. There has been so much great music created in the past hundred years or so that I could continue to go backwards and never get bored. Every now and then I’ll walk into a bar or venue and be captured by a sound or energy. There is a great Melbourne band [named] Buckley Ward who just do things for me. Their music has a freshness to it, and it makes you want to quit everything and offer to manage them. It takes a massive amount of artistic self assurance to pursue a career in the volatile, chaotic industry that is music. Have you ever felt that you’ll need something of a ‘safety net’? Every single day, and that’s the sacrifice that you have to make in order to succeed. But when you are working the safety net, it’s wonderful to come home and escape to a better place with your music. There are so many people who have made careers somewhere in the entertainment industry just to make an income and to keep their dreams alive. Do you think that the more recent technology advancements, things like Myspace, instant messenger and text messaging are having a positive impact or a negative impact? Is this form of communication an isolated communication? It is a necessary evil I think. Obviously things like Myspace and Facebook can give you more exposure to those who may have never had a chance to hear you, but there is the lack of the live element that I remember when I was younger and going to see bands for the first time. You would arrive at the pub, not caring who was on, but you knew it would be a good night
because the music was original and you could buy a CD if you liked ‘em. I still don’t know how I feel about the whole download thing, getting your music to as many people as possible is obviously an important thing, but when do you draw the line and ask people to help support you financially? Personally I love buying CD’s. There is so much more that goes into the album than just the music I think. I love album artwork and let’s face it, it looks so much better than blank CD’s with your mate’s handwriting on them. Could you tell us about the song ‘I wish’ (which I love by the way!) ‘I wish’ was written in a few hours in a lounge room in Ballarat. Three of us from a funk band I was in at the time (Pork Robot) decided to write some new tracks and add some depth to our set lists. It’s probably the only time that I’ve sat and written a song with a whole idea in mind before it started. We all knew people who had some horrible experiences, so ‘I wish’ is about a combination of women who have just lived it rough. Pork Robot never used the song, but instead my other band at the time The Bullwinkles began playing it live and it ended up on our EP ‘Sad Stories’. Then a few years ago, I was playing around and decided to completely slow the song down and change the key. As soon as I’d finished playing it, I knew it would stay that way as it just felt so right. I completely reconnected with the song again and took it to Jon who added some keys and the song was recorded that month. Tell us where the title ‘Another word for Romance’ came from. Another word for romance came about one afternoon when I was having a ‘woe is me’ moment. Truth is, I have never been in love, nor had a relationship that’s lasted longer than a few weeks. I’ve talked about romance and the quest for it for so long, that I just got plain sick of it, so I wrote the words, ‘please find me another word for romance’ down. When I saw it on paper, I was convinced that it was the perfect title for the recordings I’d just completed. All the songs from that recording are about romance in some way, shape or form, so it just worked for me. Would you like to share any final thoughts with those reading this edition? Without music, life sounds pretty quiet. There is something out there for everyone, and it only takes a flick of the radio station or a few clicks on the mouse to discover a new sound to your ears. I feel sometimes people get stuck in the mainstream and listen to the music that they are told to by dollar signs. Explore and be surprised...
Street artists unite, for you are pushing the boundaries, exercising your right to free speech and refusing to lie down. This edition is ded...
Published on Aug 6, 2009
Street artists unite, for you are pushing the boundaries, exercising your right to free speech and refusing to lie down. This edition is ded...