Get Ready…the Colour Is Coming!

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by FORM on Friday 20 March 2015.

This is what’s happening RIGHT NOW in THE WHEATBELT: Two of the world’s finest urban artists, HENSE (USA) and Phlegm (UK) are at work right now near Northam. Over the next two weeks, they’ll be making gigantic grain silos into cultural icons. The styles and techniques of both artists (though very different from each other) are ideally suited to these monolithic structures.

Hoisted tens of metres into the air, they’re dwarfed by the scale of their canvases, but not daunted by the scale of their task.

Before there was even a lick of paint on these massive landmarks, the appetite for epic, site-specific art had been building in the Wheatbelt, along with the excitement and pride in being involved with PUBLIC 2015. Adding to the feeling of a win-win scenario, the CEO of local sponsor CBH Group Andy Crane says ‘We are proud to be a part of this unique project’ noting ‘this is the first time we have seen anything such as this in the Wheatbelt. This sponsorship aims to play a key role in the delivery of world-class art to the region while contributing to tourism in the Wheatbelt.’

This is what’s to come in VICTORIA PARK:

With characteristic openness and enthusiasm, the community of Victoria Park, enabled by a coalition of the local authority, the Vic Park Collective, and PUBLIC organiser FORM, is hosting a range of festival events. Right now, a FORM team is at work installing the PUBLIC SALON at 101 Albany Highway, a former commercial showroom that’s been co-opted as a gallery just for the festival. The SALON, an exhibition of original work from 100 West Australian artists, opens its doors late March, and then will have an official launch at the PUBLIC festival opening night on Friday 10 April – which promises to be a night to remember.

Complete with the Vic Park Collective’s pop-up bar and late-night sausage sizzle, the launch party will also feature an ‘ArtGames Skirmish.’ This is a bit like a poetry slam for artists, who are pitted against each other in a live, timed competition. The winner is selected by the crowd, and the artworks created during the skirmish are then auctioned off.

From 25 March-19 April, the Victoria Park section of the Albany Highway will become the longest open-air gallery and street art celebration in Perth. People can drop into the PUBLIC SALON for daily updates about who is working where on the Highway, and then head up the road to watch them in action. Artists include Argentina’s Elian, HENSE from the United States, and home-grown talent such as Anya Brock and Fieldey.

*NB the artist line-up and choice of sites are subject to final confirmation

In LEEDERVILLE and NORTHBRIDGE:

Beyond its famed coffee strip and café scene, Leederville has plenty of hidden spaces and blank walls, ready for transformation. Various sites around Newcastle Street and Oxford Street are earmarked for the attentions of artists such as Sydney’s Brett Chan, Western Australia’s Stormie Mills, and Chinese-born, South Africa-based DALeast.* While they work, the spectacle of their vivid colours and varied techniques will provide street theatre as well as street art for any passer-by. They will (literally) draw attention to less-well known corners of this popular neighbourhood. Stand by to see the colour hit the streets – and don’t miss the PUBLIC closing party at Oxford Street Reserve on Friday 17 April!

While over in Northbridge, it’s the great walls of Chinatown which will be getting the PUBLIC treatment. The culturally rich district between Roe and James Street in Northbridge is the latest sector to be added to PUBLIC 2015, merging the dynamism of Asian commerce and culture with the freshness of contemporary art. The artists making murals and installations include DALeast and Brett Chan, joined by Polish artist NeSpoon, The Yok and Sheryo (Australia/Singapore/USA), Elian from Argentina, and Perth’s own Amok Island.

*NB the artist line-up and choice of sites are subject to final confirmation

In CLAREMONT:

There will be brushstrokes on Bayview and spray-paint on Stirling as selected sites in Claremont receive the attentions of artists* such as Italy’s Moneyless, Adelaide’s KAB101, and Perth’s own Hannah Atcheson. In setting up these ‘brushstrokes meet buildings’ encounters, FORM tries to match the artist with the wall, taking into consideration the site’s scale and prominence and the ‘frame’ of the local setting, as well as the artist’s individual aesthetic.

KAB101 uses a combination of spray-paint, inks, markers and brushes to make sophisticated work based on calligraphic and mechanical styles, which look at ‘the beauty and sadness of life’ while Atcheson (otherwise known as Hansolo) employs a richly coloured and flowing technique, creating mesmeric imagery that has a trompe l’oeil quality. Moneyless studied fine art in Carrara and Florence, and he combines this training with his early interest in text-based graffiti to explore dimensions and geometry in his art. ‘I always try to get a certain simplicity and cleanliness, but at the same time, also complexity and fullness’ he explains. ‘My goal is to always create minimal shapes (at rock-bottom), but with an inner tension, an invisible movement.’

*NB the artist line-up and choice of sites are subject to final confirmation

In FREMANTLE:

The relaxed and liberal personality of Perth’s port city has always attracted people who love and make a living from creativity. Fremantle is always a place of colour and surprise but during this month and next, there will be more than usual of both as certain walls and buildings receive a makeover.

Various sites around Freo are earmarked for the attentions of artists* such as the UK’s Phlegm, Perth’s Chris Nixon and Amok Island, and Fremantle’s own Darren Hutchens. Phlegm will take on the Naval Stores in Victoria Street, fresh from painting grain silos out beyond Northam. Last year, Phlegm created one of PUBLIC’s standout artworks, a massive mural on a five-storey high elevation in Perth’s Wellington Street. The Naval Store will present him with a different scale and challenge but the result should nonetheless be breathtaking.

*NB the artist line-up and choice of sites are subject to final confirmation

And finally, this is what’s been happening in THE PILBARA:

Over the past week or so, the town of Port Hedland has been given an urban ‘art attack’ by the start of PUBLIC’s regional program. Two of Australia’s most exciting contemporary artists, Beastman (NSW) and Vans the Omega (SA) have blurred the lines between street and gallery space to create a mural in the town’s West End alongside an exhibition for the Courthouse Gallery. Although the two men have worked together before, producing ambitious large-scale murals all over Australia, Converge: A Topographical Abstraction of the Pilbara is the first time they’ve collaborated on producing smaller-scale pieces for a gallery-based exhibition.

Using aerial and geological perspectives of the Pilbara as inspiration, the artworks harmonise Beastman’s signature geometric detailing with Vans the Omega’s more gestural style. The colours are as hot as the Pilbara itself. This is where acrylic meets aerosol, satin varnish innovates with ink, and the versatility of the contemporary street artist is celebrated.