Sunday, November 11, 2012

Graffiti Management Fitzroy

Who doesn't love the smell of the Orange Oil and the sound of the high pressure hose, the council cars and the heavy duty brushes.  I particularly love the entrepreneurial private Graffiti Busters.  But I don't love any of them nearly as much as I love the smell of aerosol, the quiet movement and the clack of the can being shaken in a dark alley after hours.  That I love with no hint of sarcasm.

There is change in the planning for the City of Yarra.  For an explanation of what is currently under consideration in terms of sucking the life force, or should I say, cleaning up the streets of Fitzroy (and Collingwood etc)  please peruse the Images to Live By blog post.  For a visual demonstration of the effectiveness of this sort of intervention please see below....

 Above: July - ish 2012
 Above: October 2012
Above: November 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nock and The Spotters

I didn't know I was a paint spotter until recently.  I initially reeled at the suggestion.  I am way too cool to be a paint spotter!  Like, seriously, I don't have to be the first who gets to the ..... um ....okay, well yeah, I've gotta be the first.  Ah,  but I don't have a big fancy that's a circumstantial fact and I have long envied others.  Hey but I don't collect images like they are ..... oh okay... yeah I do actually. I collect images.  I identify them,  place them in their rightful Flickr set, and if they appeal to me enough, I write posts about them.

We are a Motley crew, The Spotters, but we are unified by a combination of a passion for all things street, a keen desire to capture, name and trade, and a compulsive urge to seek.  And seek we do.  

I will tell you a bit about Our Kind by way of story telling.  I was told by a fellow spotter years ago that an image I had captured was none other than 'pyramid'.  Well it turns out this is wrong.  And my contemporary spotter friend Jes Richardson set me well and straight.  The artist of my desire is Nock.  

For many, this would not be a big deal.  But the exhilaration of hanging a name on a writer is indescribable.  You see, I have admired this writer since forever, and as is evident above, this dude is talented as FUCK.  He is bloody incredible.  I have just spent an hour devouring all that Arty Graffarti has had to say, all that he has found on the topic of Nock.

So in closing, I would like to proudly announce to the world that i DO embrace the Spotter in me, and I would like to nod to my fellow Spotters, who together create the rich repertoire of documentary that is the backdrop of the Melbourne Graf and Street Art Scenes....

And my paint spotting blog roll is....amongst the many many people who inspire and spur me to keep going: 

All Those Shapes - how this dude knows so many names he astounds me

Arty Graffarti - an absolute FAV of mine - he teaches me stuff every time I look

Our Jes Richardson - I hope she starts a blog soon, too much to not share

David Russell - ditto, awesome, get a blog Please (or correct me if you have one)

Preprint - I havent paid enough attention to your activities but I should, you are really awesome

Street Tart - Lorraine Ellis - what can I say, she makes me wanna get there before her!

The Urbex Goddess - Kitten of Doom - photography and observations from another level

Peter Adrianakis - amazing camera work, quiet achiever!

Broocee and his Transient Surfaces - definitely fancier than most and way more diverse

Now as you all know, if we are the Spotters, then the Patron of the Street Arts is certainly Mr Dean Sunshine.  He has a book out.  You know that.  We all do.  We all covet his balls and his energy.  I WILL interview him.  Soon!!!!

2012-11-10 09.01.21

2012-11-10 09.01.21
Originally uploaded by thefitzroyflasher

what a handsome pair, Leagues and (?) Pyramid

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Boneyard Repose

Would this interview be easier if I had no insider knowledge? Probably. I have been frozen by the irony of knowing the subject so well I can't tap into it.  Kneading bread yesterday morning (incidentally a favourite staple of the Kaff diet) it finally came to me.  I quickly wrapped up and rang the artist.  She greeted me with a smile in her voice.  She was happy and flustered.  The battery on her crappy phone was running flat, her new one wasn't working (I suspect user error) and she was on her way to the gallery: "I'll call you when I am plugged in" she enthused, pleased to hear that I had finally thought of something to ask her.

Early works 
 So this is Kaffeine:  She talks at pace with warm enthusiasm.  She is fiercely smart, genuine, open to discourse and comfortable with duality. When you watch her work you think what she does must be easy.  She can hammer out a masterpiece and you don't even notice because one moment she is looking at a blank piece of paper and the next she's making a coffee or rushing off to eat, justifying the urgency with: "I haven't eaten a thing since breakfast I am starving".  
Kaff-einated (between 2 sprucies)
Kaffeine 'shot to fame' because she is a combination of driven and brilliant.  For a visual account of her exponential rise go to any social forum: Flickr (my collection); Instagram, Dean Sunshine and Kaffeine's own wordpress site. There was a time you could Google her and my blog would fill the first 5 pages.  Now it's the likes of Vandalog (!!!).  She has recently joined the exceptional creative stable of Just Another Agency and holds a justified place among their artists (you can find her at signed and numbered too).

If you ask anyone who has known Kaffeine since childhood what they thought she would be, the answer would be a famous artist. From the art room of a crappy high school I recall an art teacher beaming as she held a student's work up to show her next class.  It was Kaffeine.  It blew our year 7 socks off that anyone could draw that well.  So I am not surprised she is where she is today, only that it took this long.  But then again, Kaffeine's meanderings through many and varied incarnations have probably rounded her for the better.

Enough of my postulations, I bring you my angle on the Kaffeine Boneyard interview ...(the interview eventuated the next morning- the phone issue remained unresolved)...

Q:  What is your favourite piece?
A: (she laughs, pleased with the question) I reckon it’s gotta be the one called Cradle/Repose with the horse on it's back, it's feet in the air and little boy lying between the horses hind legs.  

I was not at all surprised by this answer.  Kaffeine has an affinity with animals that has also been part of her core since forever.  She told me she likes this piece in particular because you can't really tell what is happening, whether the child is dead or alive.  The horse is lying in a position, she explains, that is very hard for a horse to get into, on it's spine.  The only sign of life is the boys hand touching the horse.  

I offered to her that this is a nurturing piece, drawing in my mind an analogy with Kaff the child and her enduring relationship with animals.  She didn't take my bait but offered that the piece was a surprise for her, she wasn't expecting to like it so much.  

Kaff: What's your favourite piece?
Flasher: (shit, I didn't think she would ask me!!??) ....ummmm...I would have to say the woman with the gloves ???? (der Flash).

We talked some more about the pieces in Boneyard and I understood a little bit that her relationship with the work is the same one she extends to everyone.  She is open to explore what she means, convey something that other's see differently, and expose vulnerability as the flipside of strength.  

Image to follow (go see the show!) 8th - 30th November  153 Greville St, Prahran