I Just Don’t Understand

A while ago I spotted this daubing on the side of a bridge spanning the A79 highway.  Clearly the original version has been ‘worked upon’ to remove the person’s name, but what I don’t understand is…

  • Why did you stop there. Why not paint over the rest of it as well?
  • Unless ‘they’ ran out of paint.

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We Will Remember Them | ANZAC Day Street Art Commemeration

(Above: ANZAC Memorial mural at Hosier Lane, Melbourne)

ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day) is a national Day of Remembrance in Australia and New Zealand observed on the 25th of April each year, that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peace-keeping operations. Commemorative services and marches are held at dawn, the time of the original landing; mainly at war memorials in cities and towns across both nations and the sites of some of Australia and New Zealand’s more-recognised battles and greatest losses, such as Villers-Bretonneux in France and Gallipoli in Turkey against the Ottoman Empire during WWI.

One of the traditions of ANZAC Day is the “gunfire breakfast” (coffee with rum added) which occurs shortly after many dawn ceremonies and recalls the “breakfast” taken by many soldiers before facing battle. Later in the day, both ex-servicemen and ex-service women march through the major cities and many smaller centres.

  • ANZAC Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga, and previously was a national holiday in Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

May We Never Forget | We Will Remember Them

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Swede dreams are made of these

Swedish visual artist Lennart Jirlow was born in Stockholm on April 24, 1936. In 1952, Jirlow went to Konstfack and was awarded the youngest student of the year. After Konstfack, Jirlow went abroad on a trip, and visited Holland, France and Italy, among other European countries. He settled in Florence for a couple of years, where he was admitted to the Accademia di Belle Arti.

After the first exhibition in Stockholm in 1958, Jirlow has mostly been active in France. Today, Jirlow lives in Provence, where he has a home and studio. He is mainly known for his colourful and naïve works, with motifs from restaurant environments, often Parisian in style, and flowering gardens. He has also painted several portraits of famous Swedes including Jan Malmsjö, Jarl Kulle, Evert Taube, Povel Ramel and Karl Gerhard.

  • Jirlow has acted as a scenographer and made scenography for the Spanish fly at Vasateatern (1982), Markurells in Wadköping at the Drama (1986) and Falstaff at the Royal Opera in 2008.

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Dare To Wear Ogilvie’s Jumpsuit With Flair

FLAIR – From Salon to Boutique, Australian Fashion Labels Through the ’60s
(The Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria Australia, 2013)

This exhibition rekindled some of the magic of the psychedelic ’60s era. Named after the fashion magazine Flair, the exhibition featured international designers including Mary Quant and Andre Courreges along with local Australian designers such as Prue Acton, Zara Holt and Norma Tullo all of whom were household names of the era.

  • Amongst these items were designer Eva Ogilvie’s “Evening jumpsuit and tabard”, from 1967 and manufactured by Lucas, of Melbourne. The heavily adorned sleeves and collar contain fluorescent plastic and glass beads. The polyester and lurex-knit outfit was reported at the time as being “a touch of Hollywood glamour that could be dunked in the same tub as your stockings”.

Lucas manufacturers (1934-1968) was both a Melbourne and Ballarat-based manufacturer that produced its own cloth, dyes and garments. Its representatives regularly travelled abroad to research development in textiles to advance their own techniques.

  • This wide-leg jumpsuit is reminiscent of the Palazzo Pajama worn by the glamorous international jet-set for their leisurely beach and  poolside lifestyles. The tunic is a showcase for the bold lurex and its stylized medieval motifs and hides the trousers below.
  • During he 1960s countless fashion-conscious women were discouraged from wearing trousers at nightclubs and restaurants which preferred more conservative fashion etiquette.

Therefore, one must ‘dress to impress’!

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Campi – You’ve left me s-peach-less!

[Above: The Fruit Seller]

Vincenzo Campi (c. 1536–1591) was an Italian painter of the Renaissance era from Cremona. His style merges Lombard with Mannerist styles, however, unlike his siblings, he is known for a series of canvases, mostly painted after the 1570s, displaying genre scenes and local produce.

Many of them are set at a food store front of some sort, such as The Fruit Seller, pictured above. At the time, this type of painting was uncommon in Italy, and more common in the Netherlands, as exemplified by the canvases of Dutch painter Joachim Beuckelaer.

In Cremona, his extended family was the main artistic studio of his time. This included his two half-brothers Giulio and Antonio Campi  and distant relative Bernardino Campi. They were all active and prominent local painters.

  • In 1586-1589, he and his brother Antonio completed paintings for the church of  San Paolo Converso, in Milan.
  • Judging by this painting Campi is certainly not two grapes short of a fruit salad!

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The amazing 3D chalk art of Eduardo Relero

Argentinean 3D street artist, chalk artist (“chalkie”) Eduardo Relero has created worlds of wonder on pavements all over the globe.

  • He is based in Madrid and his work requires a specific viewing point to achieve the magic of a third dimension.
  • He has traveled around the world astounding passers by with his optical illusions and wonders in chalk.

Relero began his painting career on the streets of Rome in 1990 and has since gone on to create breathtaking murals in Germany, France, Spain and America.

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By the look of this work – I think he Nailed it!

Street Artist Nails (aka Fers) is the alternative name for Niels Oeltjen  who was born in Germany in 1976. Niels moved to Australia at the age of 6 with his family, growing up in the Huon Valley in Tasmania. He now resides in Hobart.

  • After completing a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Tasmanian School of Art in 1998, he has been a graphic designer since 1997 and an artist since 1996.
  • A trip to Europe in 1995 introduced him to serious graffiti practice and in 1998 he moved to Melbourne to join and be inspired by the burgeoning street art scene.
  • He is a muralist, craftsperson and has exhibited internationally as well as having shown at the National Gallery of Australia.
  • Niels is also represented by the Jacky Winter group for illustration from 2007-2010.

On his website Niels quotes: “I thrive in collaborative teams and welcome diverse input. I am calm, worldly, widely travelled and humility and humour serve me well”. You can view his portfolio at elbone.github.com

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Porter’s Portable Food Fare | From Tomatoes To Kebabs

  • Above: A Selection from a series at  the State Library of Victoria which includes ‘Sunshine’ (2006), ‘Brunswick’ (2007); and ‘Hoppers Crossing’ (2010) among others.

Louis Porter (b. 1977) resident in Melbourne Australia since 2001, but currently working in London. He is a Member of Artists’ Book Cooperative ABC.

Solo Shows

2013 Mauerweg – Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik ( Berlin/Germany)
2011 Extracts from the Porter Archive Concerning Death – DEATH BE KIND (Melbourne/Australia)
2010 Unknown Land – VARS Gallery (Mildura/Australia)
2009 Record and Analysis – City Gallery (Melbourne/Australia)
2009 Australian Colour – Monash Gallery of Art (Melbourne/Australia)
2009 Cheap Flights – Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne/Australia)
2005 Faith and Charity – Start Gallery (Melbourne/Australia)

  • For more information on Louis Porter, visit his website.

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The Joys of Miso Paste

Street artist Stanislava Pinchuk (aka Miso) creates life-size hand-drawn paste-up projects. Most of her work deals with story-telling myths and folklore. Her work shows influence from her Ukrainian upbringing and eastern European folk and craft traditions. She is often inspired by the Vienna Secession Art Deco and Russian Constructivist artists.

Her earlier work was often with fellow street artist Ghostpatrol prior to her moving into gallery work and her signature ‘needle point’ constellations, charts and maps – See more images at All Those Shapes or visit Miso’s website.

  • Above wheatpastes by Miso were found a while ago at Grieves Street Fitzroy; Racing Club Lane, Waratah Place.

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Scusi, Venice the Next Vaporetto to Murano?

Murano Glass is a famous product of the Venetian island of Murano. Most Murano glass art is made using the lamp working technique, where the glass is made from silica, which becomes liquid at high temperatures. As the glass passes from a liquid to a solid state, there is an interval wherein the glass is soft before it hardens completely, allowing the artisan to shape the material.

For colour techniques, aquamarine is created through the use of copper and cobalt compounds, whereas ruby red uses a gold solution as a colouring agent. The technique begins with the layering of coloured liquid glass, which is then stretched into long rods called canes (aka cane-working). When cold, these canes are then sliced in cross-section, which reveals the layered pattern.

The better-known term “millefiori” is a style of murrine that is defined by each layer of molten colour being molded into a star, then cooled and layered again. When sliced, this type of murrine has the appearance of many flowers, thus mille-fiori (thousand-flowers).

Mural is from Venice and Murano Glass and Mosaic Co. “The Last Supper” (panel) ca. 1880 (glass, lead, iron & mortar).

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Who gives a Zach for this Street Artist?

Lithuanian-born Street and gallery artist Ernest “ZACH” Zacharevic combines fine art techniques and his passion for creating art outdoor, using and oil painting, stencil and spray, installation and sculpture; to produce dynamic compositions both inside and outside of the gallery space. Many of his pieces and installations are in Penang, Malaysia where he lived and the proud locals refer to him as Malaysia’s ‘Banksy’.

Zacharevic has street art installations and murals around the island of Penang. Many of them are from the Georgetown Arts and Culture Festival in 2012 which was his first constructive public art project, with  6 walls created over 3 months in a town with no public art or graffiti whatsoever. The public response was phenomenal.

His distinctive style includes children, sometimes accompanied by props such as a chair or supermarket trolley or an old bicycle which he attaches on walls of aged buildings and shop houses along Victoria Street, Perak Road and Joo Chiat and the adjoining alleyways. The two most popular are Children on a Bicycle and Boy on Motorcycle; a combination of installation and painting which allows the outside community to interact with the works. Zacharevic found the motorbike abandoned on the street and every single bit that could be stolen from it had been stolen. He put some bits and pieces to make it look like a motorbike and stuck it to the wall. Since then many locals have replaced the seat, headlights, and petrol tank, (which kept getting stolen) and was probably replaced two or three times. In fact, the locals spend much time and effort maintaining and preserving his street art murals.

  • In 2013 he also worked in Johor Bahru as well as painting a series of murals in Singapore, including Children in Shopping Trolleys .
  • In 2014 Zacharevic opened his second solo show in Barcelona at Montana Gallery. The collection saw a juxtaposition of more figurative works featuring characters from different cultures in all forms of dynamic poses and actions.
  • Recent projects include Scope New York and a painting commission at the Ritz Carlton, Singapore; a Mondrian inspired piece composed of a series of framed canvases all hung together.

In May 2016, Zacharevic went to Christmas Island, an Australian Territory in the Indian Ocean at the invitation of Christmas Island Phosphates and the local Shire government for a scoping trip to beautify the island landscape. He left behind his first ever Australian art installation with ‘Forklift Boy,‘ near a local tavern. An abandoned forklift adjacent to a shipping container provided the canvas for the piece. It is similar in aesthetic to his Boy and Girl on a Bike and Boy on a Motorbike art installation in Georgetown, Penang.

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No Idea On Kohei Nawa Red Deer

Kohei Nawa was born in 1975. He is one of Japan’s new generation of high-flying young artists. Over the last several years he has exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, London, the Joan Miro Foundation, Barcelona, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and in 2011 was the subject of a large survey show titled ‘Syntheses’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Nawa has a B.A. (Fine Art – Sculpture) from Kyoto City University; a sculpture course (Exchange student program) from the Royal College of Art, London (1998) and a Ph.D. in Fine Art – Sculpture, from Kyoto City University (1999). He is currently based in Kyoto; where he is the Director of “Sandwich,” a platform for creative minds, established in 2009 which operates out of an old sandwich factory in Fushimi, Kyoto.

  • The National Gallery of Victoria’s (through the Felton Bequest) acquired Kohei Nawa’s PixCell-Red Deer, from his ‘Beads’ series. (2012), which challenges traditional perceptions and interpretations of three-dimensional objects and sculpture.

PixCell-Red Deer is a visually captivating work in which Nawa has completely covered the entire surface of a taxidermied red deer with resin and clear glass beads, transforming it, in Nawa’s words, ‘Into a shell of light’. The process fragments the object’s entire surface into countless cells; a collection of image elements; image cells or; in other words, ‘PixCells’. The large and small glass spheres covering the animal produce an effect of viewing it through many small optical prisms. While the beads of different sizes seem to interfere with a precise reading of the subject, they function as lenses that not only magnify sections of the subject, but also accentuate its colour, form and sensation in a way that seduces viewers and invites them to interpret reality with a new and previously unimagined awareness. PixCell-Red Deer enchants viewers with the natural grace and balance of its stance, the elegant, outstretching form of its antlers and its uncountable number of lenses reflecting micro-visions and translucent light. Further details available through at Kohei Nawa’s website.

  • The use of the deer in PixCell-Red Deer is symbolic to Japanese culture and history. Since ancient times, deer have been believed to be the messengers and vehicles of Japan’s indigenous Shinto gods, and revered as sacred animals. In the deer park surrounding Kasuga Shrine in Nara, and at the shrine island of Itsukushima in Hiroshima Prefecture, the deer roam freely and are worshipped as sacred beings.

Oh deer, what can the matter be,
I’ve seen the PixCell-Red Deer’s anatomy
Oh how shiny and spatter free,
Kohei Nawa’s glassy game.

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Diane Arbus – To Go Where I Have Never Been

Above: Aldous Huxley – author of Brave New World (1936) by Diane Arbus

American photographer/writer Diane Arbus was born Diane Nemerov on 14 March, 1923, to David Nemerov and Gertrude Russek Nemerov, a Jewish couple who lived in New York City and owned Russek’s, a famous Fifth Avenue department store. Post-retirement, her father became a painter. Her younger sister was a sculptor and designer; and her older brother, Howard Nemerov, became United States Poet Laureate and the father of the American art historian Alexander Nemerov. In 1941, at the age of eighteen, she married her childhood sweetheart Allan Arbus. Their first daughter, Doon, was born in 1945; and their second daughter, Amy, was born in 1954. Diane and Allan Arbus separated in 1959, and were divorced in 1969. Doon became a writer, and Amy a photographer.

Diane Arbus became a photographer for magazines such as Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, and The Sunday Times Magazine in 1959. Starting off with a 35 mm Nikon camera, she moved over to a twin-lens reflex Rolleiflex camera and by 1964, Arbus began using a twin-lens reflex Mamiya camera with flash in addition to the Rolleiflex. She liked to establish a strong personal relationship with her subjects and re-photographed some of them over a period of many years. She was noted for her photographs of marginalized people or any others whose normality for that period, was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal.

  • Her first major exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967, where her work was described as being typical of “a new generation of documentary photographers”.

Arbus experienced “depressive episodes” during her life similar to those experienced by her mother, and the episodes may have been made worse after contracting hepatitis. On July 26, 1971, while living at Westbeth Artists Community in New York City, Arbus took her own life at the age of 48, by ingesting barbiturates and slashing her wrists with a razor.

  • In 1972, Arbus posthumously became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale.
  • During the 1970s millions viewed the traveling exhibitions of her work which toured from 1972–1979.
  • The book Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph, edited by Doon Arbus and Marvin Israel was first published in 1972 which accompanied the tours and exhibitions.
  • It has been named the best-selling photography book ever, and is still in print.
  • Between 2003 and 2006, Arbus and her work were the subjects of another major traveling exhibition, entitled: ‘Diane Arbus Revelations.’

 Diane Arbus was once quoted as saying – “My favourite thing is to go where I’ve never been’. 

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Apples of Temptation are Bonza!

Above are some great examples of Apple Case Art and Australiana. Labels began to appear in large numbers on wooden crates around 1920 and were only superseded in the 1960s by cardboard cartons. Although the designs were for the most part basic, and amateurish, they have been described as ‘industrial folk art’, as well as Australian historic ephemera.

  • Australia’s first apple case label was printed in 1913 in the US for Geo. Heatherbell & Sons and the early labels were heavily influenced by the designs of California’s orange crates.
  • Over the years there has been an abundance of variety of fruit art labels and designs featuring animals, birds, landscapes, maps, people and typography. There was even a Boomerang brand label which urged people to return for more!

These decorative labels often provided Australian orchardists with a distinctive edge on the competitive overseas market. Many export agents believed that fruit wholesalers overseas were attracted to cases decorated with the best looking labels. However, some designers dared to be different, such as the Rooster Brand label designed by Max Angus in 1952, which was heavily influenced by the work of French painter, printmaker sculptor Henri Matisse.

Extensive collections of apple case and pear case labels are on display at the Huon Apple and Heritage Museum, in New Norfolk, Tasmania. The Museum showcases Tasmania’s apple industry which dates back to 1804, when apple trees were planted at York Town in the state’s north. By 1915, Tasmania boasted about 4,420,000 apple trees, however over the years there has been an unfortunate decline in apple orchards – not only in Tasmania, but in other apple growing districts around Australia.

  • Tasmania often called ‘The Apple Isle’ is home of Tamar Valley Co-op ‘Wombat’ brand.
  • Its standardized fruit label is Australia’s second known registered apple case label and originally printed ca. 1919.

And remember – An Apple a Day …. Keeps an Orchard Going

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It’s Not Easy Being Green, But We Can Try

John Olsen – ‘Tree Frog’ 1983 watercolour pastel on paper 49cm x 37cm and Victorian Goldfields Petrified Frog [Unknown]

Acclaimed Australian artist John Henry Olsen was born in Newcastle, New South Wales on 21 January 1928. His family moved to the Sydney suburb of Bondi Beach in 1935 which began his lifelong fascination with Sydney Harbour. He went to the Datillo Rubbo Art School in 1947; and from 1950-1953 he studied at the Julian Ashton School and the Auburn School in Sydney (1950-1956).

He then travelled to London and Paris where he studied print-making in 1957, followed by two years in Spain. Returning to Sydney in 1960, he began painting the Australian landscape. In 1972-73 he painted ‘Salute to Five Bells’, which currently hangs inside the Sydney Opera House.

  • He is well known for his paintings of frogs, and for including frogs in many of his works, such as ‘King Sun’ (2013); an 8 paneled artwork, featuring the Sun and three frogs (6m x 8m) Collins Place, Melbourne Docklands.

Olsen has served on the boards of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Art Gallery in Canberra. He published his diaries ‘Drawn From Life’, in 1997.  He has been awarded an OBE (1977); Order of Australia and the Centenary Medal (2001 ) and the Archibald Prize (2005); for his controversial self-portrait entitled ‘Janus faced.’ Olsen currently lives near Bowral, in Central New South Wales.

The other image is something I found in my storage bag after buying some apples and pears in the Victorian Goldfields region, north of Melbourne some years ago. After picking, much of the fresh fruit is put into cold-room storage before it is sold. According to the website Frogs of the Goldfields it could be one of possibly 11 local frogs habituating in this region. They include:

  • Southern Brown Tree Frog, Growling Grass Frog, Verreaux’s Tree Frog, Eastern Common Froglet, Victorian Smooth Froglet, Eastern Banjo Frog Pobblebonk, Striped Marsh Frog, Spotted Marsh Frog, Common Spadefoot Toad and Bibron’s Toadlet.

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