You Can Check Out Any Time You Like | But You Can Never Leave

Huseyin Bahri Alptekin |  H-fact: Hospitality/Hostility series (2003-2007). [A series of light box art simulating hotel signs from the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) collection].

According to Wikipedia, Turkish artist Huseyin Bahri Alptekin (1957-2007) studied aesthetics, philosophy of art, and sociology in Ankara and Paris. Alptekin is considered one of the most significant figures in the established contemporary art scene of Istanbul. He was part of the first generation of Turkish artists considered to be globally active and nationally influential.

H-fact: Hospitalty/Hostility consists of a series of seven light boxes, each bearing the name of a city, which are fabricated to resemble signs for cheap hotels in Istanbul neighbourhoods frequented by merchants, migrants and budget tourists in particular from Russia and the Balkans.

Hotel Bristol | Hotel Odessa | Hotel Rejkyavik (sic) | Motel Beirut |
Pension Cadiz | Hotel Estambul | Balkan Oteli

  • In this work, Alptekin explores the effects of globalisation, immigration and exile on Turkey and specifically its cultural capital, Istanbul.  Some of the cities featured on the signs were part of the former Ottoman Empire.
  • The work speaks to Turkey’s historical and continued role as a fertile meeting place for various civilizations, its Ottoman past; and its contemporary identity as a strategic partner in the European political arena.

Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night.
[From Hotel California by Glen Frey, Don Felder and Don Henley]

  • I wonder, do these hotels have mirrors on the ceiling and/or pink champagne on ice?

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There’s Lots To Waffle About With Sofles Art

 

Sofles is an Australian graffiti/street artist who comes from Brisbane, Queensland. His career began in the late 2000’s, with his graffiti and street art. Since then Sofles has had an extended artistic career which also includes tattoo art, illustration and fine art. His imagery is wide and varied and his collage murals are a mind-bending abstraction melting into intricate form, showing perfect snapshots of his wild imagination.

Sofles’ bold use of colour is quite distinctive and this has firmly set his reputation as one of Australia’s most-watched contemporary artists. Constantly working, whether outdoors or in his studio, Sofles continues exploring new techniques and mediums, which makes his artwork so rewarding.

  • One example of this, was back in 2013, when he completed a series of stunning works on the walls of an abandoned warehouse which was recorded on video in a motion controlled time-lapse series entitled “The Ultimate Timelapse with Sofles”.
  • Another example from a few years ago, is when Sofles created a black and white installation for the Melbourne White Night festival. His work consumed the entire side wall of a multi-deck car park in Melbourne’s Mackenzie Street.  This mural worked in conjunction with 3D video experts, a musician and a handful of other friends, to create a marvelous spectacle for the overnight festival.

Sofles travels around Australia and the rest of the world creating mural art, painting and video art. He often paints with fellow Brisbane artists Drapl and girlfriend Cherie Buttons. Other collaborations have taken place with Adnate, Smug, Lush, Deb, Twoone and Anthony Lister, to name but a few. Sofles has also garnered two big contracts one with Redbull and the other with Adidas.

  • Discover more at Sofles website, or follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

Sorry for the waffle, let’s get with more Sofles!

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Pellucidar and The Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen | Pie Bolton | Pellucidar (2018)This piece by Pie Bolton entitled Pellucidar (2018) was part of The Dirty Dozen exhibition which ran from 18 July – 23 August 2018 at the subterranean Campbell Arcade in Melbourne based on one of Edgar Rice Burrough’s science fiction novels Pellucidar. Also referenced in this piece are the seven books in the fictional ‘Hollow Earth’ Pellucidar series written over a 47-year period by Burroughs from 1916-1963.  Titles include: At The Earth’s Core (1916), Pellucidar (1917), Tanar of Pellucidar (1929), Tarzan At The Earth’s Core (1929), Back to the Stone Age (1939), Land of Terror (1944); Savage Pellucidar (1963). (Bolton also includes some quotes taken from Earth’s Core, Dover Press page 67).

  • The Dirty Dozen defines itself as ‘subway grit meets art.’ The artists who show through this initiative have their works displayed in the subterranean arcade leading to and from Melbourne’s Flinders Street railway station; in one of twelve glass display cases.
  • These have been reactivated as exhibition space by Creative Spaces and made available to creative artists.

Creative Spaces is a program of City of Melbourne’s Arts Melbourne branch. It sources secure refurbished and managed studio rehearsal and exhibition space for creative people. The program manages over 130 studio spaces in five buildings and runs a website that lists thousands of creative spaces across Australia.

  • Discover more about The Dirty Dozen at Creative Spaces or go to @creativespaces.

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Loadz of Potential Here

Nathan Loader aka LOADZ is an Australian street artist. Originally from Townsville in Queensland, he now lives in Melbourne, Victoria.

  • LOADZ’s artwork and painting show bold, colourful kooky spliffy, ‘bent edge’ characters and nebulous reptilian graffiti fonts. His work is often found near street art by Silly.

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Just Rewards for Great Work

Sculptor Louis Laumen (b 1958, The Netherlands- ) came to Australia with his family in 1960. Laumen studied at the Victorian College of the Arts (Fine Art – Sculpture); Bachelor of Fine Art and Graduate Diploma of Fine Art (with Distinction). He works as a full-time artist having been a sculpture instructor at the National Gallery Society Summer School and a lecturer in sculpture at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).

  • Laumen has completed many sculpture commissions from important figures and sporting greats to former Premiers and revered Saints. Some of which include sculptures of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop (Benalla); Sir Henry Bolte (Gold Museum, Ballarat) and the Blessed Mary McKillop Statue (Penola College); along with two examples described below:

Sir Archibald McIndoe (1900-1960) Surgeon in Charge of the Maxillo-Facial Unit, the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, England from 1940-1960. Famed for his innovative and pioneering techniques in the treatment of grievously burnt airmen of the RAF, RCAF and the RAAF during the Second World War. 638 “Guinea Pigs” passed through his hands; all survived to enjoy useful lives. (Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, 2001)

Pastor Sir Douglas Ralph Nicholls (1906-1988) and Lady Gladys Nicholls (1906-1981) Memorial. The first memorial statue in Melbourne dedicated to two Aboriginal community leaders. They fought for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their commitment to human rights in Australia. He was a traditional owner, Aboriginal Elder and Church of Christ Pastor. She was Aboriginal Community Leader, charity worker, women’s activist and fighter for equality and human rights.  (Parliament Garden, Melbourne, 2007).

  • Discover more about Louis Laumen at his website.

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Dont’ Be So Harsh | Let’s Get with Scott Marsh

Scott Marsh (b. 1984) is a Sydney-based artist and large scale street artist. Marsh picked up his first spray can at the age of 12 and began tagging the neighbourhood streets and train carriages. Later, tagging trains around the world, as a graffiti writer, his ‘Sydney-style’ tags earned him international recognition as one of the most talented graffiti writers of his generation.

  • In 2009, Marsh completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Painting, at the University of New South Wales (College of Fine Arts) and soon after began receiving commissions for large-scale commercial murals.

Marsh’s artworks are created using brush and acrylic and oil paints, as well as spray cans. He uses a lot of colour and creates pieces with complex layering, creating depth and texture to his work. His years of street art painting is evident in his gallery pieces; whether its still life or paintings of flora. His artworks are admired and purchased by both local and international collectors.

  • His large scale street murals cover current affairs and media topics such as politics, marriage equality, the environment, the cult of celebrity or just pictures of folk wearing cute hoodies or animal-print onesies.

Discover more at Scott Marsh’s website.

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The Mistresses of Fontainebleau

School of Fontainebleau | Diana the Huntress (oil on canvas, ca 1550, Louvre) and The Duchess of Villars and Gabrielle D’Estree (oil on canvas ca 1594, Louvre).

The School of Fontainbleau (or École de Fontainebleau) occurred from ca. 1530 to ca. 1610. There were two main Schools referred to as the First and Second Schools which spanned two major French periods of artistic production from the late Renaissance and a French version of the Northern Mannerism style. Both were centred on the Royal Palace of Fontainebleau. Here are two examples, one from each School.

Diana the Huntress is by an anonymous artist of the First School of Fontainebleau. The First School used the Northern Mannerist style of painting, introduced to France by Italian artists in the 1530s. Diana the Huntress, is a depiction of the Roman goddess Diana shown carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows; accompanied by her dog. In her hair is an ornament in the shape of a crescent moon, an attribute of the goddess. The model in the guise of Diana, is said to be Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of King Henry II, of France.

The Duchess of Villars and Gabrielle D’Estree is attributed to the Second School of Fontainebleau,  The two models painted while they are taking a bath together are sisters Gabrille D’Estree (1571-1599) and the Duchess of Villars (or Villiers), or perhaps another sister Madame de Balagny. Gabrielle was a mistress of King Henry IV of France (1553-1610), who gave birth to an illegitimate son in 1594. The oddly affectionate way in which the sister is pinching Gabrielle’s right breast has often been taken as symbolizing her pregnancy and future birth of her son.

  • Apart from the two women having a bath, did you notice between the red curtains is a woman sitting beside the fire busy with her sewing?
  • Perhaps she is preparing a layette for the coming child of Gabrielle –  César de Vendôme.

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Here’s a Chunk of Drewfunk

Born in Malaysia, well-known street artist Drewfunk currently resides in Melbourne and has also lived in Sydney, Australia. After moving to Australia in 2006, Drew studied art at RMIT University in Melbourne. His interest in street art began in 2002, after finishing school.

Drewfunk’s style is a cross between East and West which he refers to as Oriental Funk. He creates murals using spray paints, wild style letters in street art and has completed commissions both public and private including a wall commission in South Melbourne, near York and Clarendon Streets. He is also a fine artist and illustrator.

  • Drew’s influences include food, Ming Dynasty period artworks, mystical imagery and folklore, animals, dragons, koi fish and bonsai plants.
  • As well as on the streets, Drew has exhibited nationally and internationally, through nine solo exhibitions, a prolific street art reputation, and a number of group shows.

Further information can be found on Drewfunk’s Instagram @drewfunk account or his Website.

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I Allus Has Wan At Eleven

 

  • Many may recognise this famous vintage Carlton United Brewery beer poster advertisement, entitled – “I Allus Has Wan at Eleven”.

There is plenty to be said about the history of the man who posed for this poster. For starters, there is uncertainty about this man’s true identity. One thing we know is his name was Sam. Some claim it was Sam Griffin, others claim it was Sam Knott. However, both men were roustabout prospectors from the old gold-mining area of Woods Point in Victoria.

The poster depicts Sam with a long beard, cap, long-sleeved flannel shirt, low-waisted trousers hitched with bowyangs below the knees and batted looking work boots; and a piece of cloth tucked into his belt near the hip pocket, ready to wipe the sweat from his brow.

  • One consistent fact is that Sam was having a drink at 11.00 a.m. at McVeigh’s Upper Yarra Hotel at Walsh’s Creek high in the Yarra Valley, near Warburton.

Secondly, there seems to be some consternation as to whether the poster was derived from a quick sketch taken at the Hotel, or from a photo (ca 1906) by a travelling salesman for the Carlton and United Brewery. Nevertheless, it was given to the advertising team at the Brewery and the rest, one might say, ‘is history’.

I allus has wan at eleven” has become a famous chant in Australia’s beer drinking culture. Simple, but effective, it caught the imagination of the drinking public at the time.  Closely associated with it was a little verse:

I allus have wan at eleven,
It’s a habit wot’s gotta be done,
Cos if I don’t have one at eleven,
I allus have eleven at one.

  • There is a suggestion that Sam died a fortnight before the poster was released.

We also know that McVeigh’s Hotel no longer exists. It was subsumed after the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works cleared a large area to put in the Upper Yarra Dam project in the late 1930s.

  • Now here’s the best bit. These days, somewhere nearby is the Sam Knott’s Hotel at Wesburn (West Warburton), where they tell the tale of Sam’s coffin being taken into the hotel at 11.00 a.m. on the day of his burial; and since then, some people claim to have seen his ghost at the hotel – at 11.00 a.m.  (of course!).
  • But this cannot be true, as Sam Knott’s Hotel was built well after the time when Sam died, but it seems to indicate that more people believe that Sam was Sam Knott; not Sam Griffin.

Doesn’t matter much either way how the story goes, but regardless of theories, mysteries and inconsistencies, this tale reads as a great Aussie yarn.

Is it beer o’clock yet?  | Must be somewhere in this world!

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UNeeda Shida Fix?

Mik Shida aka Shida (b. 1990) is an Australian artist, specialising in large-scale murals, painting, sculpture, video work and installation. In 2004, as a teenager, he began experimenting with street art in northern New South Wales.These days Shida lives in Brisbane and travels throughout Australia and the world painting large scale murals.

Shida often collaborates with other artists including Adnate, Twoone, Vexta and others.

  • Discover more about Shida’s art at his website, shop, Flickr or email shida@gmail.com

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These Are No Fakes | These Are Real Thake’s

 

Eric Thake, (1904-1982), Australian print-maker, painter and photographer trained at the National Gallery School and the George Bell School. During his earlier career, he showed with the Contemporary Group in Melbourne between 1932 and 1938 before serving as an official war artist for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). This was followed by 30 years in advertising.

While he held his first solo exhibition at Georges Gallery, Melbourne in 1947; Thake worked as a medical draughtsman at the University of Melbourne in 1956; and he designed postage stamps and covers for the journal Meanjin. Thake shared the 1941 Contemporary Art Society prize with James Gleeson.

  • Like his contemporaries, Thake used elements of surrealism to capture the mood of the Australian landscape.
  • During his artistic career many of his works were held in Australia’s National and State galleries as well as a selection of overseas collections.
  • A retrospective of his work was held at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in 1970; and an exhibition of his cards, Christmas Cards, Eric Thake: was held at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne in 2002.

Images:

  • One of four illustrations of surgical procedures – 1960 (Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne)
  • Salvation From the Evils of Earthly Existence (1940) oil on cardboard.
  • Nuns on the Geelong Road, 1969
  • An Opera House in Every Home
  • Woman of the World | (Shop in Smith Street, Fitzroy) – photograph

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Sporadic Braddock | Is Hardly Nomadic

Michael Fikaris (aka Braddock) is an Australian multidisciplinary artist whose career has spanned nearly 20 years including street art. Initially a central figure in both Melbourne’s comic book and street art movements since 2003, Braddock has expanded his oeuvre into print-making, small press publishing and large-scale painting.

Fikaris (aka Braddock) has worked extensively on projects locally and internationally with varying communities as well as art institutions and educational bodies.

  • As a freelance artist and community driven project leader, he has been publishing anthologies under the name Silent Army comic collective since 2002.
  • Fikaris has also been teaching workshops in these fields since 2009 and is currently a sessional lecturer in street art with Melbourne University.

In 2017, he was awarded the Platinum Ledger Award for outstanding service to Australian comics.

  • Discover more about Braddock or Michael Fikaris at Michael@fikarisart.com | or his website www.fikarisart.com

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Ring Ring Why Don’t You Give Me a Call?

The Telstra Museum (Melbourne) is a small museum situated within the Hawthorn Telephone Exchange, Burwood Road, Hawthorn. It is managed by a group of dedicated volunteers from the Victorian Telecommunications Museum who strive to preserve Australia’s telecommunications heritage.  The museum houses historical telecommunications equipment including a working mini telephone exchange with four old phones that can call each other.

Highlights of the interactive tour include: seeing telephone exchange equipment in action, the first mobile telephones in Australia – the brick; and operating manual switchboards. You can speak to members of the Morsecodian fraternity and send a telegraphic message to your family and friends.

The most significant exhibit is one of the original mechanical speaking clocks, made with rotating glass discs. This is one (number 2) of the four Mark II machines produced in England for use in Australia, which were received in Australia in the early 1950s. The discs were originally read using an exciter and a detector made with valve technology. These devices are no longer available and; because all the originals had failed, replacements had to be fashioned using digital technology adapted to plug into the original valve sockets. This development has enabled the speaking clock to be restored to full operation.

  • There is also a display of model telephone designs by David Woodland. One of these (featured above) looks like a prickly cactus. I wonder, if it rings, does one answer: Aloe, Aloe, – Aloe Vera?
  • If there is no answer, you’re probably ‘Hanging on the telephone’.
  • Did it want you to respond? Then you might want to Send a Message; or ask it to Call Me.
  • If there is total silence then it has ‘Hung Up On You’; Otherwise, if the line sounds alive, you can always respond with:

Hello
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home?

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One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure

Junky Projects is the street art contribution of refound items created by Daniel Lynch (born 1977). Lynch is a contemporary artist based in Melbourne and working in multiple media using waste and recycled materials as the principle material for his work. He has also been a street art tour guide for 6 years; and a street art and graffiti workshop facilitator for over 15 years.

  • Junky Projects are small sentinels created from found refuse; our forgotten and discarded garbage reanimated to haunt us.
  • The works speak to a cultural anxiety of excessive consumption and waste and expand the idea of what graffiti can be, which makes them a leading example of Melbourne Street art.

Lynch has a background in Visual Communication and Education, (Diploma of Education (Secondary) specialising in design and technology; Bachelor of Design – Visual Communication (Honours).

  • Discover more about Junky Projects at his website or Insta account @junkyprojects

BTW – There are reportedly over 2500 Lil Junky’s out in the wild – and here are 12 of them!

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Not the Blue Poles You Were Perhaps Thinking Of?

Jonathan Jones Kamilaroi/Wiradjuri (born 1978) won an Art and Australia Emerging Art award in 2005 for his work entitled: Blue Poles.

  • [Blue Poles (2004) 10 fluorescent lights, transparent synthetic polymer resin, composition board, electrical cord, 168.9 cm x 285.3 cm x 65 cm overall; edition of 3 and one museum edition; ART AND Australia Emerging Artist Collection; National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Collection (purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2010)].
  • [Untitled (Muya) (2011) Light Boxes NGV Melbourne. This work is a dedication to the Wurundjeri Ngurungaeta (Leader) William Barak. Like all true leaders, a cultural ambassador and advocator; a devoted father and an insightful and gifted artist]; also
  • [Blue Poles (2010) (fluorescent lights, transparent synthetic polymer resin composition board, electrical cord, plastic, steel, adhesive. NGV Melboune.]

Blue Poles references elements of Western modernism, indigenous art and history; the symbiotic relationship of the individual; and the community which is represented by a grouping of lines of fluorescent light.

As Jones states; “Lines of light are connected to the Aboriginal line designs specific to south-eastern Australia. In this region the line is used to create patterns and designs, often carved into wood, skin and the ground. These designs are best illustrated by the region’s carved wooden shields and the works of Tommy McRae and Uncle Roy Kennedy. This work is based on continuing this cultural vernacular”.

You Light Up My Life!

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