You have contributed directly to the well-established street art culture that exists in Melbourne today. Can you tell me more about the transformation you have seen regarding public art initiatives from back in the early 2000’s when you were a part of the Everfresh crew to now?
When we started painting on the streets, no one was making a living from it, no one sold canvas works, even people like Banksy and Shepard most likely had other jobs. We were only doing it for the fun and the social aspect of it. It was just like hanging out with your friends playing a game of Jenga, even if you are pretty good at it you don’t think you could make a living out of it. Jump forward 15 years and I’m meeting people who have been told by their professor at university course on street art that they have to come see my exhibition.
After a few years of travelling you exhibited “Empty””, where you captured the historical essence of the Star Lyric Theatre building, located in Fitzroy’s Johnston Street. Over 12,000 visitors came to view “Empty”. How did you feel about such a large draw to your work?
After a busy few years travelling and focussing primarily on outdoor murals, it was great to be back in the studio working on canvas again. The show consisted of a selection of works on paper, canvas and for the first time I exhibited some photographic pieces
“EMPTY” was a gigantic installation that was so big you would be forgiven if you may not have noticed my other artworks hanging on the walls. I was truly overwhelmed with the response, it made me realise the power of an installation where people can feel like they are transported.
Your work contrasts the brevity of superficial beauty with the truth of imperfection. Your recent “Alpha Project” epitomizes your artistic vision. Can you please tell me more of what fascinated you about the particular abandoned site you chose?
The “Alpha Project” was a series of five huge murals painted inside a former paper factory that is (currently) being demolished. This was a dream project, a giant abandoned site where I could paint whatever I saw fit. These latest works at Yarra Bend were completed inside the iconic brutalist brick buildings of the old Alphington Paper Mills on Heidelberg Road. Unfortunately, I couldn’t open this to the public due to the huge safety risk, so many of the works only exist in the documentation in the way of photographs and video.
In your recent OMEGA PROJECT you brought life to a house that was doomed to be demolished in a month’s time. This project was a dream for you and something you have been wanting to do for some time. How did this project finally come to fruition?
The Omega Project was a fantasy project; to create a dreamlike abandoned house that I could let the viewer walk through. It started with a interesting house in good condition that was slated for demolition. Thanks to an open minded developer (Glenvill) I was given the house to do ‘something’ with. I used the space itself for inspiration, starting with the colours and the way the light came into the rooms. I then photographed a model (Teresa Oman) trying to simulate the light. Then painting them on the walls of the house matching the existing light and colours. The paintings alone were not enough so I worked with my friend Carly Spooner who is an interior stylist who used the house for inspiration when sourcing furniture for the entire house. Once everything was in place we started to smash holes in the walls and add faux mould to the roof and cover everything in dust. Once everything was in place I brought in a lighting expert to help light the spaces and then we documented it all. The experience was a lot of fun and I hope to do something like this in future.
What’s next for you on your artistic journey? Are you working on any upcoming projects that you are looking forward to?
I hope to make a few more installation based projects. I’m in the early stages of trying to find the next location which can be the hardest part.