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:

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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Don’t Be Put Off By Putos

Putos is a graffiti / street artist from Melbourne who loves painting dragons, dogs, lions, rhinos, hippos, gators, tentacled sea creatures and any other creature that comes to mind or suits the wall.Putos is an expert with tones, shades and tints whilst creating electric shimmering chaos and textures from skin and scales to fire and water and smoke.

Don’t be put off by Putos

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A Great Combi-Nation of VW Art

I base this on my love of the Kombi/Combi VW van.  In fact we are a family of devotees of the Kombi and many friends and family members seek out gifts, cards and other paraphernalia related to the Kombi, for us.

VW Kombi/Combi memorabilia focuses on the German Volkswagen Type 2, Kombi, which was introduced in 1950 as its second car model – after Type 1 (The Beetle).

  • The first generation of the ‘Kombi‘ Type 2 with the split windshield was produced from 8 March 1950 through to the end of the 1967 model year.
  • It was informally called the Splitscreen, or Splittie.

Like the Beetle, the Kombi van has received numerous nicknames worldwide, including the “microbus“, “minibus”, and due to its popularity during the 1960s counter-culture movement, the “Hippie Van“.

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I’ve Been Itching to Show You These for Some Time

Inkbomb Studios is the online manifestation of Bryan Itch, or “Itch“, a melbourne-based illustrator and street artist with a diverse skill set drawn from experience in an array of oil and acrylic painting, aerosol street art murals, animated motion graphics, tattooing and custom soundtracks and sound effects; through his VJing and musical art endevours.

Over the past 10 years, Itch has exhibited in group shows across Australia, Europe and the United States alongside leaders in both the street art and visionary art worlds. Itch has been part of the AWOL street art crew along with Adnate, Deams, Lucy Lucy and Slicer.

Highlights have included:

  • live painting at the Symbiosis festival, designing stages for Earthcore, Strawberry Fields and Rainbow Serpent festivals;
  • AWOL crew’s group exhibition “Fabric”,
  • a National Gallery of Victoria installation;
  • and a trip to Mongolia as a featured artist for the Ink Graffiti festival in Ulan Baataar.

Discover more about Itch via his Website.

Itch | I’m bewitched!

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Luna Park | Just for Fun

The Carousel at Melbourne’s Luna Park (formally known as PTC#30) is the 30th carousel machine made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) in Pennsylvania, USA and was built in 1913. Like a giant puzzle, the huge carousel complete with cast iron machinery and hundreds of timber parts set sail from the US in October 1913 and arrived in Sydney, Australia in November, 1913.

  • PTC#30 came to Luna Park Melbourne in 1923, where it has remained ever since and is fondly remembered by many generations of Melburnians.
  • PTC#30’s two Roman chariots bear out the Carousel’s theme War and Peace.
  • The chariots were originally fitted with wooden shafts which connected each chariot with its two leading horses.

In 2001, during the restoration of the Carousel, the wooden shafts were reconstructed to the original design using archival photos taken in 1913; with the work carried out by Equus Art Pty Ltd and International Conservation Services.

  • Three of the overhead panels on the carousel are pictured above: ‘On the Scent’ ‘Breakfast Time‘ and ‘Gypsy‘.

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Never Debate the Art of DVATE

DVATE (born 1981) is a Melbourne graffiti street artist and professional artist since 2009.  He uses spray paint and acrylic to paint large scale works. DVATE has developed and varied his own unique street art font and has created amazing photo-realistic portraits of local and endangered flora and fauna as well as portraits.

  • DVATE started his street art in 1997. Over the years he has worked for many crews including: SDM ADN TMPS ID and painted with many different artists such as Dabs, Myla and Gent.

Learn more about DVATE and his art at his website, Instagram account or @dvate

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Heesco | Paradiso – How Could He Be So

Heesco Khosnaran (Real name: Khürelbaataryn Khosnaran) is an impressive photo realistic portrait street artist. Born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Heesco moved to Melbourne, Australia in 2010 and has painted various artworks around the city and in the wider arena.

  • Drawing since a youngster, Heesco  has been inspired by modern media and has worked with the Melbourne street art Blender Crew. He uses a free hand style often using the tag Mongo in his works.

Heesco has also contributed street art murals for the Silo Art program, having decorated the silos at Weethalle and Grenfell. Some of his works focus on a darker twist – painting with a sardonic sense of humour popular figures, such as: Tony Abbott, Gina Rhinehart, Donald Trump, Heston Blumenthal and Teddy Boy hooligan Alex, from Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ amongst his many works.

  • Discover more of Heesco’s art at his website.

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Three Slithers of Walter Withers

[Images: Allegory to Spring (Portrait of Gladys Manifold) oil on canvas (1902); The Drover (1912) Bendigo Art Gallery]

Walter Herbert Withers was an Australian landscape artist and a member of the Heidelberg School of Australian Impressionists (The Heidelberg School) along with other famous Australian artists such as Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin.

Withers was born at Handsworth, Staffordshire, on 22 October 1854. He showed an early desire to paint, much to his father’s distaste. By 1882, the 28 year old Withers had migrated to Australia and lived in Melbourne, after completing 18 months on a farm. He began working as a draughtsman for a firm of printers. In his spare time Withers kept up his artwork and some were accepted for exhibition in the Old Academy, Melbourne.

  • In 1887, Withers went to Europe; and with his wife settled in a small flat in Paris, where he studied for some months at the Académie Julian. They returned to Australia the following year settling in the Melbourne suburb of Kew and later, at Eaglemont. It was during this period that he became a member of the Heidelberg School.

After a couple of years, Withers took out a lease on the south wing of the “Charterisville” mansion in East Ivanhoe, where he and his family lived for four years. Two of Withers’ notable pupils were Percy Lindsay, and his younger brother Norman Lindsay.

  • In 1891, Withers opened a studio in Melbourne’s Collins Street West, where he held his first private exhibition. Three years later he was living in a cottage in Cape Street, in the local suburb of Heidelberg.  It was here that he painted some of his finest work of the fin de siècle period.

In 1897, Withers was awarded the first Wynne Prize in Sydney for his picture, “The Storm“, which was purchased by the National Gallery of New South Wales. He was elected to the council of the Victorian Artists’ Society in 1889, and in 1905 held the office of President for one year.

  • His health began to deteriorate, but he continued to do a large amount of painting both in oils and in water-colours. He died just nine days short of his 60th birthday, in Eltham, Victoria on 13 October 1914; and was survived by his wife and four children.

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Get Your Kaff-eine Kick Here Now

Katie ‘Kaff-eine‘ (born 1972) from Melbourne is a female street artist and former lawyer, horse-riding instructor and tree-lopper. Kaff-eine began mostly with black and white paste-ups back in 2009 and now spreads her free hand stories in colour painting with aerosols and acrylics. Her depictions are described as naive in style, often portraying humans with animal extensions and deer hunter humans.

Kaff-eine works mostly solo and her work is often found around the inner Melbourne suburbs of Brunswick, Collingwood, Richmond and Prahran. Her work is also located around the lanes, alleys, streets, abandons and railways of Melbourne, interstate and overseas; including places such as Berlin, Manila and within the United States.

  • Kaff-eine would keep a couple of spray cans with her at all times and if she saw a wall she liked whilst walking home from work, she would stop and paint, often wearing her full corporate clothes. She figured it would be safe to do so, as the police would probably not be looking for a public servant, graffiting walls.
  • Asked why she calls herself ‘Kaff-eine’ she responded “I like coffee, I like caffeine, it keeps me going, especially when I used to paint at night until 4.00 a.m. and get up three hours later to work as a public servant.”

Kaff-eine has illustrated two children’s books ‘Vera’ and ‘The Promise’ and worked on the Berry Street Children’s book ‘Heartcore’.

  • Kaff-eine has quit her full-time job and turned to street art full-time.
  • She met and painted with Israeli street artists Herakut and did a one-day round trip with them around Victoria, before they went back to Israel.

For further information visit her Website: Facebook Page: or Instagram account.

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I’m Spinning Around | The Famous Hill’s Hoists

The Australian invention Hill’s Hoists outdoors clothes line transformed backyards across Australia in years after World War Two (WW2) due to a couple of wayward fruit trees behind a house in an Adelaide suburb.

Lance Hill of Glenunga returned home from War in 1945 to find the trees competing for space with the family clothes line. Rather than remove them, Hill looked for an alternative drying device that would take up less room than the line. Using his laundry as a workshop, Hill fashioned an innovative replacement; a compact rotary clothes line that could be raised and lowered.

  • It was a prototype of the famous rotary clothes hoist that would bear his name and soon become synonymous with suburbia – The Hill’s Hoist.

Little wonder the Hill’s Hoist has ended up in Australian art, from tea towels to major artworks including:

  • Through the Back Garden – John Dent (born 1951), painted this oil on canvas in 1981. The scene depicts the artist’s domestic back garden in Richmond before he left for Europe for further study in  France. Dent has been inspired by the French painters, particularly Bonnard and Vuillard, both masters of the intimate and his paintings and prints show this sensibility. (Castlemaine Gallery collection).
  • Older Than the Hills – (Part of a Tea Towel Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney entitled The Australian Dream: Design and the Home of the Fifties).
  • Beyond the PaleSandra Hill also tackled hanging washing on the line.  Born in Nyoongar in 1951 it was painted in Balingup, Western Australia in 2010. Made from synthetic polymer paint on plywood, and painted wood, this work references the assimilation policies of the 1950s and 1960s and the whitening of Aboriginal Australia. The white paling fence accords with notions of being fenced off, or marginalised.  (National Gallery of Victoria collection).
  • Backyard With Bathtub – photograph (2001). Rex Dupain (born 1954), the only son of photographer Max Dupain, was introduced to photography at a young age but put his photographic pursuits on hold to study painting in the 1970s at the National Art School, where he later taught painting and drawing. He went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts (Painting) at the University of New South Wales in 1992, and pursued a successful career as a painter. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that Rex rediscovered his love and talent for photography. His work has since been exhibited widely around Australia and the rest of the world, including an exhibition in Paris in 2010.

“I’m spinning around, Move outta my way”

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The Giants of Baby Guerilla

Baby Guerilla studied oil painting and completed a Fine Arts Degree at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Her artwork can be found at the National Gallery of New South Wales and in many other galleries and collections. However, her street art which started in 2012, is more readily accessible throughout Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding suburbs in the inner West. What started out as a hobby has grown into something much more prolific. Anonymity suits this street artist. She mostly works at night and privately spies on the walls she plans to capture, during the day.

  • Her black and white portraits in which her subjects are free, escaping, or caught in mid air, are most prominent in the inner west of Melbourne including on the side of Victoria University’s Footscray Campus.

Baby Guerilla sees her two art media working as complimentary. On her website Baby Guerilla sees her drawing on walls as a beautiful challenge… the challenge of space and constraints. Defying gravity, dancing with gravity. The love affair continues…

  • During an interview with Amanda Luxmoore for Beautiful Bizarre, 22 September 2014,  Baby Guerilla stated:

“My mission is to liberate art from just the gallery or the picture frame and make it accessible to everyone. I love the idea of setting art free, setting our souls free; to dream and imagine; and go floating across a wall. I seek to create worlds, meaning out of mayhem and dreams from despair.”

  • Discover more about Baby Guerilla at her website.

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A Topological Measure of Escher

[Images: Dream (early woodcut, 1935), Stars (polyhedron wood engraving, 1948), Vlinders aka Butterflies, (wood engraving, 1950), Circle Limit III (woodcut, 1959)].

Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis (M.C.) Escher aka “ Mauk” was born June 17, 1898, in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints.

  • He was a sickly child, and not very scholastic but excelled at drawing and carpentry, later studying decorative arts at the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts.
  • He traveled through Italy and Spain where he was impressed by the Alhambra, the 14th-Century Moorish castle in Granada; with its intricate and decorative designs based on mathematical formulae; with interlocking repetitive patterns sculpted into the stone walls and ceilings.
  • This became a powerful influence on Escher’s works.

In his graphic art, the left-handed Escher portrayed mathematical relationships among shapes, figures and space; with interlocking figures using black and white to enhance different dimensions. Many of Escher’s works employed repeated tilings called tessellations. Integrated into his prints were mirror images of cones, spheres, cubes, rings and spirals. In his later years he also sketched insects.

Escher’s artwork is especially well liked by mathematicians and scientists, who enjoy his use of polyhedra and geometric distortions. Although he did not have any formal mathematical training, Escher’s understanding of mathematics was largely visual and intuitive. Nevertheless, his work had a strong mathematical component and more than a few of the worlds he drew were built around impossible objects such as the Necker Cube and the Penrose Triangle. Other mathematical principles evidenced in his works include the superposition of a hyperbolic plane on a fixed two-dimensional plane; and the incorporation of three-dimensional objects such as spheres, columns and cubes into his works.

  • Escher moved to the Rosa Spier Huis in Laren in 1970, a retirement home for artists where he had his own studio. He died at the home on 27 March 1972, at age 73.
  • Discover further information in The Graphic Work of M.C. Escher [book].

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Lil’ Red Ridin’ Hood or Urban Cake Lady?

After having moved to Melbourne, Australia from Nelson, New Zealand in 2007, not much is known about the mysterious and elusive Urban Cake Lady. The only information I could find was from an interview to fellow street-artist Facter 10 years ago on November 26, 2010 on Invurt.

Facter described her colourful, vibrant and eye-catching work which often features a female in a red hoodie and striped tights. The character  doesn’t have a face underneath the hood, so people can fill in those unknown details themselves. She confessed that the unnamed character is a kind of self portrait, but for all intense and purposes she sees the character as an anonymous one.

Her smaller pieces took around 8-10 hours, and the larger ones, anywhere between 15-20 hours to complete. When it comes to placement of her art, Urban Cake Lady usually tries to avoid using brick walls because of the red on red aspect – so that cuts out quite a lot. She often keeps her eyes open for other coloured walls, and goes on little scouting missions to look for new spots. Otherwise, she finds that it just ends up being a pretty long night biking around and looking for somewhere – she prefers to have a place in mind, and be focussed on that.

With a full time job, Urban Cake Lady only has time to paint at nights and on weekends.  When pasting her art, she claims that she has been caught a couple of times, but has never had to do a ‘runner’. On one occasion she reflected “I think the police were more amused than anything, and I hate to say it, but being a polite girl probably worked in my favour. I’m not risking as much as others are if I’m caught with just paper and paste, but I’m still fairly cautious, and I try not to draw attention to myself”.

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