Chrissy Amphlett | You’re Not Like the Rest

The late Divinyl’s singer Chrissy Amphlett helped put Australian rock music on the international map and is recognised with a permanent accolade to her in the form of a renamed lane off Little Bourke Street between Spring and Exhibition Streets, in Melbourne, Australia.

  • Amphlett Lane, was renamed from its former name Corporation Lane due to ‘Team Chrissy’, a well run campaign by Amphlett fans and 7000 lobbyists.
  • The laneway is nestled behind Melbourne’s Princess Theatre and the rear of the Palace Theatre on Bourke Street, two of the Divinyl’s concert venues.
  • As well as a commemorative plaque, the laneway is adorned with two artworks by Tasmanian artist Peter Gouldthorpe and a stencil work by Melbourne artist Damien Arena; one featuring the singer’s iconic schoolgirl uniform and her beloved dogs.

Amphlett was only 53 when she died from breast cancer in 2013; and had worldwide hits with the Divinyl’s such as: Science Fiction, The Boys in Town and I Touch Myself (which has been latterly used in breast cancer awareness campaigns).

Too much too young – Get Me Out of Here!

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These Conor’s Are Probably a Gonner

Street artist Conor Harrington was born in Cork, Ireland in 1980.  These days he is living and working in London, where he considers himself as a ‘painter’ rather than street artist or gallery artist, to which he is both.

Harringon’s career began as a teenager tagging and graffiti painting in the streets of Ireland. Most of these nights were called hip-hop nights, where he would hang out with the DJs and MCs from around the Irish countryside at clubs in the 1990s. During the day he studied at the Limerick School of Art and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2002.

These days Harrington’s outdoor street murals are often on a large scale. His work is a mixture of classical and contemporary art, blending the two together into a new and inventive way of art.

  • In 2013, Harrington participated in the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery project, initiated by the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Discover further information on Conor Harrington’s website.

These Conor’s are probably a gonner, but look out for further Harrington street art murals on a wall near you!

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Successfully Sensitive | Emotionally Unstable

Brit D’Argaville’s  ‘Political Problem’ [Neon transparent synthetic polymer resin, 39.8 x 122.6 x 6.4 cm. Exhibited at Start Up – Top Arts 2015 National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)]

Using specific colour and font, Brit D’Argaville’s ‘Political Problem‘ draws on gender stereotyping and double-standards exposed between male and female representation in both politics and the media.

  • For example, ‘SUCESSFULLY SENSITIVE’  is represented in blue capital letters, which depicts how male politicians are perceived when they cry in the public domain.
  • In contrast, the pink and feminine representation reads ‘emotionally unstable‘ in flowing collapsed letters; representing stereotype bias when a female politician cries in public and according to the artist; conveys a sense of hopelessness.

For further information on this artwork, see D’Argaville’s page on Top Arts 2015 at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Melbourne website.

The NGV is celebrating its 25th year of the Start Up Top Arts exhibition, presenting outstanding work by students who have completed Art or Studio Arts studies in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) each year.

The current Top Arts exhibition for 2019 can be viewed at the NGV Australia, Federation Square, Melbourne, Ground Level, NGV Design Studio. (Duration: 22 March, 2019 – 14 July, 2019, Open 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. daily – Free entrance).

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Tea for Two and Two for Tea

Peter Philippi was born in 1866 in Trier. He studied between 1885-1902 at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Art.

  • Between 1895 – 1902 Philippi was taught at the Academy by Professor Eduard von Gebhardt.
  • Upon completion of his studies, Philippi settled in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
  • From there he regularly sent his paintings to various art exhibitions.
  • His works are on display at the Berlin National Gallery and the Neue Pinakothek in Munich.

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Compare the Pair #20 | Every Picture Tells A Story

Original Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-August Renoir. Other, modern day representation and replication of the event by unknown photographer recreating image for The Age Good Weekend prize.

Pierre-August Renoir’s (1841-1919) Luncheon of the Boating Party stands as a famous joy-filled artwork which depicts a large party of friends enjoying a luncheon and afternoon dining spread on a balcony overlooking the River Seine.

  • In this painting, Renoir captured the effect of sunlight beaming through the striped awning. This diffused light is reflected upon the wine bottles, glasses and the bare arms of the men and women.
  • Renoir once said. “For me a picture should be a pleasant thing, joyful and pretty – yes, pretty!”.

In Luncheon of the Boating Party Renoir raised “pretty” to the level of masterpiece; and as a consequence; it must be said that, in this case, “every picture tells a story.”

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Heads Will Roll…

Here is a “Heads Up” on three different artists who have headed-up in the name of art.

Sarah McConnellDropped Heads‘ (2008) [Ceramic 140 x 80 x 18 cm overall] from Access Gallery exhibition, Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre in 2017 – ‘Clay at Firbank‘ which was a survey exhibition of high quality ceramic work produced by Firbank Grammar students. The exhibition celebrated learning and craftsmanship within the medium of clay, showcasing works at various stages of learning, including the use of clay to create conceptual works for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) level.

Rosemary LaingRemembering Babylon #7′ (A collection with Stephen Birch 2003) [Type C photograph 55 x 84 cm] from ‘One Dozen Unnatural Disasters in the Australian Landscape’ at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, 2005. Laing (Born 1959, Brisbane Queensland) now lives and works in Sydney. She originally trained as a painter in the late 1970s and began incorporating photography in the late 1980s. Since then, Laing has produced project-based photographic work, often cinematic in vision and real-time performance and physical installation rather than digital manipulation.

Ron MueckMass’ (2016-2017) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Comprises 100 synthetic polymer paint on fibreglass [550 x 1480 x 5010 cm]. Mueck (born 1958, Melbourne) is an Australian-born hyper-realist sculptor. Inspired by the human skull ‘Mass‘ has reminiscences with Dutch still-life and the vanitas painting genre of 16th-17th centuries. See further information about Ron Mueck in my earlier post.

So it would seem, (based on the above), that if not placed correctly – heads will roll!

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In the Room and Around the ‘Bend

[Above left: Fisherman’s Bend (1963) and above right: The Room]

Australian artist Victor George O’Connor was born in Preston, Melbourne on 21 December, 1918. He studied at the prestigious Melbourne High School and studied law at Melbourne University where in late 1941, at the age of 23, he completed his law degree and went into the army. With an interest in both art and politics, he became active in the Australian Realist movement. His work is represented in the Australian National Gallery as well as in various state and regional galleries.

  • In the 1960s, O’Connor moved to Sydney where he became a full-time artist with frequent exhibitions at the Australian Galleries and the Victorian Artists Society.
  • In 1983, he bought ”Woodside” in Dromana; which would become his home for the next 27 years, where he continued his art.
  • In the late 1980s O’Connor rented a studio in Fitzroy, and painted scenes around Melbourne’s inner suburbs.

After the death of his second wife, in 2004 he had  aspirations about painting again, but due to arthritis in his hands and poor eyesight he moved into an aged-care home in Fitzroy,  where he died on 8 September, 2010, at the age of 91.

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Looks Like the Death of the Library

[Above: Architectural Fragment by Petrus Spronk].

Architectural Fragment (1992) is a Pythagorean triangle which expresses a strong association with the geometry of ancient Greece. The sculpture is made from Port Fairy blue stone and is situated outside the State Library of Victoria, on the corner of Swanston & LaTrobe Streets, Melbourne. It was created by Dutch-born, Australian sculptor Petrus Spronk. He was commissioned to undertake this as part of Swanston Street Walk Public Art Project in 1992.

  • Petrus Spronk immigrated to Australia in 1957 and trained as a ceramicist and sculptor in South Australia. These days the artist lives in a clearing in the forest, near Daylesford in Victoria, working in his studio and tending to his vegetable garden.

In ‘Architectural Fragment‘ the sculpture represents a fragment of the library emerging from the pavement as an archaeological artifact might.  Spronks’ intention was to create a dialogue between art, history and place. His inspiration was Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Ozymandias which speaks of the fragile and transient nature of all that is human. Quoting from the poem the pedestal reads:

‘My name is Ozymandias,
King of Kings.
Look on my work you mighty,
and despair’.

Like a fallen classical monument ‘Architectural Fragment‘ reflects the past and alludes other transience of the present. However, it still looks like it is slipping away, representing the death of the library.

It is also a great skate board mount!

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Jack Dracula | The Marked Man

Photo: Jack Dracula by Diane Arbus.

Jack Dracula: “The Marked Man” had over 1000 tattoos which in his day were valued at US$6000. Some notables include: a pair of trompe-Poeil goggles, the winged cap of Mercury with a rose cluster across his crown; a two-foot wide eagle across his chest, a tiger and snake wrestling, a werewolf stares from his kneecap and on the inside of his under lip is inscribed the name DRACULA. He is also adorned with winged dragons, a peacock, geisha girl, a cigar-smoking skull, a hypodermic entitled Death Needle, the names of his three heroes: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney and on his fingers the initials of some obscenity which his girl friends were so good at deciphering that he finally converted the ones on his left hand into flowers.

Jack Dracula was was the stage name for Martin Semnack who was born on Christmas Day, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York. After a stretch in the US Navy he returned to Brooklyn but was unable to find permanent work and started hanging out in Coney Island. In 1954 he got his first tattoo. This was just the start of a fifty-year career as a tattooed man. In the 1950s-1960s Dracula worked with many tattooists including Eddie Funk, Tom Yeomans and operated shops in Camden and Philadelphia. He also worked in the 1960s as a sideshow attraction for Ringling Brothers Barnum Bailey Circus, Amusements American Carnival, Dave Rosen’s Wonderland Sideshow in 1957, Riverview Park in 1962, Jerry Lipko’s Shows in 1963, Palisades Park in 1964 and the Huber Museum in New York City.

  • A 1970s news article about Dracula stated that he was a gourmet cook, a certified wine connoisseur and an amateur archaeologist.
  • He was a well-versed opera fan and member of the Mario Lanza Institute.
  • Dracula also had a large collection of antique jade.
  • Diabetes and lung problems forced Dracula to retire in the 2000s and on January 18th, 2011 he died at the Park Pleasant Nursing Home in Philadelphia.

Dracula was an authority on necromancy and a writer and devotee of horror stories and introduced Diane Arbus to the literary netherworld.  The following is a fragment from his writings entitled “A visit From Count Dracula“.

‘Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except a dead mouse.

Much of the information mentioned above was originally published by the Tattoo Archive © 1997 (Updated 2016).

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Ex Libris: To Library of Congress Subject Headings

Gil McKenzie – Ex Libris.  McKenzie describes this artwork: “Essentially my aim was to bring new life to old objects. In my sculpture, Ex libris, I used old books which I sourced from op shops, my own home, and those that were given to me by friends and family. Throughout my design process I worked with a huge range of pre-used objects, but I settled on books as I was drawn to the colours and textures of their covers and the aged brown colour of the pages.”

  • McKenzie became interested in the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is the celebration of beauty in imperfection, and felt that books epitomised this concept.
  • Wanting to make her art pieces unique and personal she began incorporating maps, such as topographical maps of local areas. She transferred the maps onto the books and carved contours into the covers and pages.

This work was displayed at the 2015 StArt Up: Top Arts. This annual exhibition presents the work of Victoria’s freshest and most inspiring young artists and builds on a well-earned reputation for being one of the liveliest and most visited exhibitions at the Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria, at Federation Square.

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I Found it at the Dock

Barbara Rowe artist and Melburnian Docklands resident, uses material found throughout the Docklands area for her art. Rowe has also taken inspiration from the immediate surrounds to produce these woven forms.

  • Harbour Ball (2012-13) palm inflorescence. Found: Harbour Esplanade. Technique: random weave
  • Central Line (2014) nylon fishing line and driftwood. Found: Central Pier. Technique: knitted. (not pictured).
  • Jellyfish (2010) flax. Found: Etihad Stadium. Technique: twined. Inspired by jellyfish seen throughout the Docklands waterways.

Art display by Barbara Rowe at the Docklands Library aka ‘The Dock’, Melbourne.

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Fictitious Realities are No Hi-Jinks

  • Above: Untitled “Babies” (2012), silicone, pigment, resin and human hair. (36 cm x 36 cm x1 8 cm) Courtesy of artist and Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney.
  • Also: “The Hanging Man” (2005), silicone, fibreglass, aluminium, human hair, pigments (140 cm x 52 cm x 28 cm) Collection of McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, Victoria.

Sam Jinks (Born 1973 in Bendigo, Victoria) is a self-taught artist. After working as a commercial illustrator, he later worked on props and then stop-motion animation for TV and film.

  • By the 199os he was specialising in special effects and prosthetic makeup for the film industry.
  • Through this association he became familiar with high-tech professional materials and techniques that he developed and later used in his art.

Jinks uses realism to create Fictitious Realities involving the human body where his ability to render precise detail entices the viewer into closer inspection and identification with the humanity of his creations.

These works were exhibited at the Bayside City Council Fictitious Realities art exhibition.

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Old Spoke – For Oksep Pokes

OKSEP street art may still be found around Melbourne’s streets and lane-ways. His work is extremely dark and somewhat disturbing.

  • He has borrowed upon Wild Man and has re-imagined it with one of his dark and ghostly characters, grasping him on the thigh, shouting Oksep!
  • See also my previous post “Compare the Pair: This is Wild Man” where Oksep embraces Ron Mueck’s naked piece.

What Oksep really means is unclear. It could be the name of the street artist, or according to LookDef Oksep (Verb) is the part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence. Or it could be an acronym for Pesko, Spokes or Pokes. Who knows? However, further examples of his street art can be viewed on Street Freak site on Flickr.

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All the Camp Dogs Sing This Song

  • Ku (2012) [Natural ochres with acrylic binder on milkwood] by Garry Namponan; and
  • Ku (2012) [Natural ochres and charcoal with acrylic binder on milkwood] by Roderick Yunkaporta.

Garry Namponan (born 1960+) is a Ku (camp dog) sculpture artist, home is at Aurukun, on the western coast of Cape York Peninsula. Namponan learned his art from his father Angus who also did bark painting. Currently Garry and his brothers are learning carving from Uncle Roderick Yunkaporta (born 1948+). The Aurukun artists work across a range of media including sculpture, printmaking, book illustration and painting.

Namponan studied art at the Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Northern Territory in the early 1980s and is one of the leading carvers of the Wik and Kugu Art and Craft Centre at Aurukun. His work has been in demand at exhibitions around Australia and he is proud that his younger brothers Leigh, Bevan and Lex, are following his artistic pursuits.

  • Jamu “Camp dog” (2001) – [Pandanus fibre, paperbark, feathers, earth pigments and glass, National Gallery of Victoria], by Lena Yarinkura (Rembarrnga artist, born c. 1961 near Maningrida).

Jamu (dogs) hold special practical significance for Rembarrnga women of Central Arnhem Land, as the artist explains: ‘The men used to go hunting with a spear and the women with a dog. If the men didn’t catch a kangaroo, the women would catch a goanna. If there were neither kangaroo nor goanna then they would eat traditional bush food such as sugarbag, lily root and yam’.

“Great kudos to Ku dogs – and Jamu dogs too!”

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Suggett | I’m Going Down the Corridor via an Ex-Goods Repository

Colin Suggett (Born 1945 in Warrnambool) is a mixed media artist who manipulates perceptions of reality with his miniaturized mixed-media models and tableaux that epitomize and parody contemporary technology and its intrusion into modern culture. Working since the 197os, Suggett addresses big ideas on a small scale using kinetic and trompe l’oeil effects, which engage and invite the viewer into his fictitious Lilliputian worlds.

His animated machines and figures are constructed with superb technical competency, employing robotic elements, lights and sound to create grand illusions that are Fictitious Realities on a small scale. These three items were part of Fictitious Realities exhibition (1 July – 3 September 2017) at the Gallery at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre.


  • In Corridor  (2003) – [Plastic, glass, fibreglass, aluminium, steel, paint, electrical components, (80 cm x 250 cm x 56 cm) Collection of McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery, Victoria], a naked Dantesque everyman bereft of social identity and protection sits below a ticking clock in a cold utilitarian corridor between two lifts. He is in limbo at one minute to midnight, waiting for the arrival of a lift; will it be for the journey down to purgatory or his ascension to salvation?
  • Ex Goods Repository (Kinetic, 2017) – [Plastic, glass, metal, wood, paint, silicone, electronic/mechanical components (160 cm x 100.50 cm) Collection of artist]. Suggett presents a commentary on human needs over the ages, to create different gods; and by implication, how the procession of gods reflects on our present spiritual beliefs. The viewer encounters a ‘repository’’ a pseudo-scientific containment vault for hazardous materials. Within which sits a small elaborately ornate box (god box). Seemingly at random, an external red light on the vault flashes a red warning and the god box fractures, emitting an intense white light before returning to an inert state.
  • Going Down (Kinetic, 2008) – [Wood, metal, clay, paint, fabric, plastic, electrical/mechanical components (155 cm x 114 cm x 25 cm) Collection of artist]. Going Down was produced at the time of the global financial crisis and presents a critique of contemporary materialism.

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