Melbourne Street Art Guide, ed. Din Heagney, Allison Fogarty and Ewan McEoin, (Thames and Hudson, 2016) Instead of writing a review of yet another unremarkable publication about Melbourne street art here are six artists who absent from the guide: Calm, DrewFunk, Ero, Ghostpatrol, Happy and Phoenix. I considered if I should ask them same set of questions that Melbourne Street Art Guide asked all the artists but really, the same set of questions?!
Calm – Murdoch Swine
Calm – Captain Assange
Calm mostly does paste-ups but does work in other media. He was included in the Hosier Lane part of Melbourne Now in 2013 so there is community recognition of his quality. See my blog post about his work.
Drew Funk was painting every legal wall that he could with landscapes and dragons, mixing the oriental, cartoons and aerosol art. He was ahead of the current mural scene by almost a decade.
Ero is a scruffy New Zealand street artist working in the tradition of Keith Haring, painting simple images in blocky colours. He uses ordinary house paint and brushes rather than aerosol paint. He does piss in his paint cans to relieve himself and water down the paint.
Happy, “Get Instant Fame”
Happy – Graffiti Colour My World in Brunswick
Happy was active a few years ago but hasn’t done anything for many years. This is another problem of Melbourne Street Art Guide, it is more of a fashion snapshot than knowledgable critical guide. This is more or less the reason for not including Ghostpatrol even though he done more recent work than Happy. Happy mostly worked with paste-ups that made ironic comments about the street art scene but some of his sidewalk tags in line marking painting can still be seen.
Phoenix has more of a beatnik jazz style than a skater dad look than most street artists affect. A master of the photocopier Phoenix is serious community orientated man; he is one of the fellows who will stand up to be counted. The kind of man who with loan his ladder to a fellow artist before putting up his own piece. See my blog post about his recent solo exhibition.
The Charles Street artist market was set up in the carpark of the Sporting Club carpark in Brunswick. There were paintings hanging on the fence but I’d seen the best of them two years ago at the Yard in 696. There were stalls around the edge of the carpark and people were painting on easels in the middle. The paintings were mostly awful amateur efforts. There were also painting activities for children for a gold coin donation that were proving popular. The dozen or so stalls were a mix of more painting, craft, new age craft and two excellent wooden furniture makers. One of the furniture makers, Benjamin Hitchings Designs, also had elegantly spiky wood and clay objets-d’art.
Well-known Melbourne-based, street artist, Drew Funk was spray-painting a scene on the side of shipping container as a guy plays acoustic blues guitar. The usual scene of angular Chinese style trees along with a turtle and birds was emerging as Drew casually sprayed, chatted, cleaned the nozzle of his spray-can and sprayed some more. Drew Funk is a hard working artist – is there a bar in Melbourne that doesn’t have a wall painted by Drew Funk? I’ve asked this rhetorical question before and I soon had the answer as in the Sporting Club’s beer garden there is a large aerosol mural by Yowza. Yowza’s intense scene has a ruined temple, lots of lush vegetation and strange mutant Pliocene creatures.
I sat in the beer garden writing up my notes and drinking pear cider. I’ve never had pear cider before. It was smooth and refreshing compared to an apple cider that I expect to have a crisp dry finish. What should I expect from pear cider? What am I expecting from a small artist’s market? I wasn’t expecting much from either. The weather was beautiful; the sun shone and a cool breeze caressed the skin. It was good to see what was happening in Brunswick on a summer Sunday afternoon.