How to become a Walker Stalker

British street artist David Walker likes to paint around East London. Walker aims to challenge preconceptions about fine art and urban art painting within the gallery confines and the public domain.

  • According to his website, Walker’s works are mostly in portraiture.
  • He has developed a signature multi-layered style, painting freehand, using only spray paint and without the aid of brushes.
  • The results are visually rich portraits that fuse photo realism, abstraction and graffiti art sensibilities with a raw energy that comes from the medium.

Walker’s work is exhibited in the United Kingdom (UK) and internationally and over recent years he has shown work in Europe (Berlin, Lisbon, Paris), Hong Kong, and in the United States (US) in Denver, Los Angeles and New York amongst others and his paintings have been shown alongside the leading figures in the urban contemporary and street art movement.

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in SprayCanArt, Stencils, Street Artists A-Z, StreetArt, StreetArtists, Wheat-pastes | Leave a comment

Joyeux Noël | Festive Greetings to You All

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) provides emergency food and healthcare to children and women in countries that have been devastated by war or other significant emergencies. UNICEF has been selling greeting cards for over 70 years. These cards are beautifully designed and made with a commitment to sustainable forest management and responsible use of the planet’s natural resources.

  • The image on the left is entitled ‘The Journey‘ by Danish graphic artist Gisken Gross. Little is known about her however she may be the wife of Birkerød garden architect Fritz Hermansen.

The other illustration was not part of the UNICEF Christmas card range. This design is by Australian artist Anthony John Heriot Harvey (b. 25 May 1930) aka Tony Harvey. He was a graphic designer, cartoonist, illustrator, print maker, industrial/product designer and sculptor.

  • A student at Melbourne High School from 1944-1946, Harvey read widely, borrowed from the Melbourne Public Library, frequented the National Gallery of Victoria and Ellis Bird’s secondhand bookshop discovering old engravings and copies of Punch, The Studio and Art in Australia which inspired his own artistic endevours.
  • Harvey had an extensive career as an educator in Victoria. He was especially noted for his wit, humour and economy of line in his Punch and Bulletin cartoons and vibrant range of lino-cut and silk screen Australian greeting cards produced during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • He died at Port Melbourne on 27 July 2014, at the age of 84.

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Art, Artists A-Z, Cards, GreetingCards, Illustrations | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What a lot of ‘White Noise’ | The Pamela Anderson House

St Kilda West’s “Pamela Anderson House” was once owned by infamous Australian Rules footballer/commentator from “The Footy Show“, Sam Newman. Situated at 270 Canterbury Road, on a former railway reserve, this post-modern style house was built in 2001 by Melbourne architect and interior designer Cassandra Fahey (born c. 1972).

  • Fahey was given a fairly open brief including requirements for a sense of privacy, light and an overall ‘exoticism’.
  • The house which is actually named ‘White Noise’ is inspired by Robert Venturi’s “Billboard Facade“, combining Post-Modernism with Minimalism architectural design.

Its façade consists of a 9×8 metre patterned glass mural of ‘Baywatch‘ star Pamela Anderson, built on commission for Newman. Fahey tested over 200 patterns to obtain a subtle yet confronting version of the pixelated image of Pamela Anderson. The facade itself is manufactured from laminated Digi-glass and digital film sitting on an aluminium plate grid frame. The garage door opens where Anderson’s mouth appears – and the project was completed with Anderson’s permission.

As a result, this three-storey town house design won a prestigious architecture award – for Best New Residential Building in the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) Victorian Architecture Awards in 2003. Although it is not listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, it offers three bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, a north-facing terrace with lap pool, a private courtyard with pond and a two-car garage.

Although Newman never lived in the house, which he had built at the height of his playboy notoriety, its glass panel frontage made headlines across the world. Since then it has been sold on a few times. The house became a decisive point amongst the local community with many ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’, but despite its polarising affect on the community and drawing many local and overseas visitors, it still stands today.

  • Fahey completed the Bachelor of Architecture at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1998 and since then has gained further qualifications.
  • Her work has received a number of awards as well as being featured in many local and international publications.
  • As Director of the architecture firm “Cassandra Complex” Fahey is also known for her works on the “The Smith Great Aussie Home” and the BHP Billiton Healesville Sanctuary “Platypusary

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Architecture, Art, Urban Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Dash of Ash | Up in a Flash

Ash Keating (born Melbourne, 1980) is a male artist born in Australia, currently working in media, sculpture, painting, photography, installation and screen-based performance.

Keating painted a 19 m x 7.5 m vinyl billboard on the North Wall of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for the 2013 Melbourne Now exhibition, using Dulux Weathershield Low Sheen paint and 25 fire extinguishers, to complete this work.  On the day he commenced at 5.30 a.m. and finished by noon; transforming a grey wall into a vibrant spray of colours reflecting an Australian sunset.

  • Melbourne Now, was an exhibition celebrating Melbourne’s contemporary artists and became the biggest undertaking in the NGV’s history. Keating was one of more than 400 artists to have created 170 projects which showcased the latest in Melbourne art, design, architecture, fashion and performance.

Keating completed a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting at Monash University, Caulfield in 2003 and then went on to complete a first class BFA Honours year at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2006.

  • He was the Victorian winner of the 2011 Qantas Visual Arts Award, and a winner of a 2008 ANZ Art and Australia RIPE award, as well as being selected as a finalist in the 2011 Blake Prize, the 2011 Substation Contemporary Art Award, the 2009 Qantas SOYA awards and the 2009 RBS Australian Emerging Artist awards.

Ash Keating has exhibited extensively in solo and group gallery exhibitions in Australia since 2004, including solo exhibitions at the Latrobe University of Modern Art and Utopian Slumps in Melbourne and BREENSPACE in Sydney, as well as being represented in group exhibitions at Gertrude Contemporary, Bus Projects, West Space, Linden Centre of Contemporary Arts, Monash Gallery of Art, Monash University of Modern Art, RMIT Gallery Melbourne, CACSA Adelaide and Artspace, Sydney.

Keating has created several ambitious site-specific art projects internationally including, ‘Pascua Lama’ (2006) at the Museo de Contemporeano, Santiago, Chile, ‘Label Land’ (2008) in Seoul, Korea, ‘Timuran’ (2009) in Jogjakarta Indonesia, ‘Ascension’ (2011) at ‘3331 Arts Chiyoda‘, Tokyo Japan, ‘Gardensity’ (2009-2011) for the 6th SCAPE Christchurch Biennial of Art in Public Space in Christchurch New Zealand, and ‘Zi Namsan +’ (2011) for City within the City exhibition at Artsonje Centre Seoul, Korea.

Posted in SprayCanArt, Street Artists A-Z, StreetArt, StreetArtists | Tagged , | Leave a comment

To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fat Pig

[Featured images by Bartolomeo Passerotti | Two Market Stalls: The Fish Stall and The Butcher Stall (both oil on canvas 112cm x 152cm).]

Italian artist of the Mannerist period Bartolomeo Passerotti, was born in Bologna in 1529. He traveled to Rome in the mid-16th century where he worked under Girolamo Vignola and Taddeo Zuccari. Upon returning to Bologna Passerotti accumulated a large studio, where he influenced many Bolognese artists who would later play a role in the rise of the Baroque period in art.

  • The Fish Stall and The Butcher Stall are two of four Market Stall paintings by Passerotti. Dated ca 1578-1580, they are signed with a sparrow, the artists symbol.
  • Both of these artworks were purchased by Otto Messenger and donated to the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Barberini in 1967.
  • Two further works in this collection include: The Chicken Sellers (part of the Longhi collection) and The Chicken and Vegetable Sellers (Gemaldegalerie collection, Berlin).
  •  For other market stall depictions in art see The Fruit Seller by Vincenzo Campi.

Four of Passerotti’s sons, Ventura, Aurelio, Tiburzio and Passarotto became painters. Bartolomeo Passerotti died in 1592 at the age of 63.

To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fat Pig, Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig, is a nursery rhyme which is based upon the traditional rural activity of going to a market or a fair where agricultural produce would be bought and sold.

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Art, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art, Paintings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why do these remind me of the ICPOTA man with his newspaper cap?

[River art installation: Talking Our Way Home by Shaun Kirby, River Torrens, Adelaide, South Australia. (Five glass and steel origami-like boats suggesting movement, transport and the idea of journey)].

Installation artist Shaun Kirby (born London 1958- ) migrated to Adelaide, South Australia with his family in the mid-1960’s. They were part of the vast post-WW2 British “Ten-Pound Pom” assisted migration scheme, based on the Australian request to “populate or perish”.

  • Kirby spent a short time at the former Elder Park Migrant Hostel which was not far from where his installation currently sits.
  • The floating artwork signifies both cultural and social issues portrayed, including the journey that many new Australians have embarked upon.

However, I cannot help but see these origami-like boats looking like the ‘ICPOTA’ character who used to appear in The Age broadsheet newspaper’s personal or classified advertisement section which was also advertised on television. ICPOTA was actually an acronym for this section i.e. “In the Classified Pages Of The Age” (ICPOTA). (See image above).

  • In the personal columns there were many advertisements asking for companion relationship connections. Many of these included words and phrases such as:
  • Desperately seeking | looks not important | have a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks | student of life | fun loving | care-free | seeking same | seeking friendship with a view to romance, etc.

The ICPOTA character was created by graphic artist Alex Stitt. His career began with the introduction of television (TV) to Australia in 1958. After creating many commercials for TV, his all-singing and all dancing  ICPOTA became a hit. Further successful campaigns included:

  • The Anti-Cancer Council’s Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign
  • The large couch potato called Norm for the “Life. Be in it” health and fitness campaign for the Victorian government in 1975 and later for the Australian national campaign in 1978.
  • Stitt has also worked with Fred Schepisi, Peter Ustinov and is a serious artist in his own right.

So, Be In It – Slip, Slop or Slap,
Fold up an Origami-like newspaper hat.
Take your friends down to the Torrens
Whether local or foreign,
And relish this artwork in its own habitat.

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Art, nostalgia, Sculpture, Urban Art | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Scenics by Phoenix | The Street Artist

Phoenix the Street Artist has been making collage installation street art in public spaces around the Melbourne CBD and beyond since the 1980s. Phoenix works with a combination of drawing and photocopying using cardboard, paper, pencil, pens, box cutters, transparencies, found objects, cornflour paste, blue-tac, and recycled boxes.

Phoenix’s art suffered a major setback when a fire burned down his home studio in 2004, which contained many of his works, as well as his collage system; an extensive library of collected and photocopied elements and other collage materials. Only a small portion of these, mostly charred and water-damaged; were able to be salvaged from the ashes and debris.

  • After five years, the ‘Phoenix rose from the ashes‘ and he put up his first street art in December 2009.

This spurred him to start taking his collage and copy art to the streets as Phoenix. Find out more via Phoenix’s website.

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Stencils, Street Artists A-Z, StreetArt, StreetArtists | Leave a comment

From Hot Winds to Hayricks, its a Garden Idyll

[Mrs. Conder (Portrait of Stella)], [Garden Idyll (ca.1906) 65.2 cm x 75.5 cm], [Hot Wind (1881) oil on board 29 cm x 75 cm] and [Hayricks in Giverny oil on canvas].

English-born painter, lithographer and designer Charles Edward Conder was born in Tottenham, Middlesex, on 24 October 1868. He emigrated to Australia and was a key figure in the Heidelberg School, a distinctive Australian expressionist art movement.

With a fond interest in art, Conder left school at 15; due to his very religious, non-artistic father; who decided that the young Conder should follow in his footsteps, as a civil engineer. In 1884, at the age of 16, Charles Conder arrived in Sydney, Australia, where he worked for his uncle, a land surveyor for the New South Wales government. However he disliked this work, preferring to draw the landscape rather than survey it. By 1886, Conder became an artist for the “Illustrated Sydney News” and joined the Art Society of New South Wales.

Two years later Conder moved to Melbourne where he met Australian artists including Arthur Streeton, and Tom Roberts.  He was a fun-loving man who painted with an often humorous touch; and along with other painters such as Frederick McCubbin had been influenced by Whistler. Conder left Australia in 189o and spent the rest of his life in Europe, mainly England, but visiting France on many occasions. He became fully involved with Aestheticism and mixed with leading artists and writers of the day including Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley.

Conder continued to paint, but his output was severely affected by continual poor health, including paralysis and a bout of delirium tremens. Thus, his later works are not as critically well regarded as his earlier Australian paintings. He married a wealthy widow, Stella Maris Belford at The British Embassy in Paris on 05 December, 1901, providing him with financial security.

    • He spent the last year of his life in a sanatorium and died on 09 February, 1909 in Holloway Sanatorium of “general paresis of the insane” (tertiary syphilis).
    • Satirist Barry Humphries is a major aficionado and collector of the artist; and at one time had the world’s largest private collection of Conder’s work.

Clearly a Conder fonder from near yonder!

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Art, Artists A-Z, Erotic Art, Gallery Art, Paintings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How Many Kinds of Sweet Flowers Grow In an English Country Garden?

[Peter Abraham Sunday Teaparty’ Duke of Wellington Art Gallery, Mosman, Sydney, NSW.]

Born in Queensland in 1926, Peter Abraham studied at the Brisbane Technical College in Queensland and later at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, Victoria.

  • Abraham became a graphic artist, illustrator and painter and held solo shows in the eastern states of Australia from 1960 – 1962.
  • He was awarded with a number of art prizes and his work is represented in a number of Australian galleries within Brisbane and Melbourne.
  • Peter Abraham died in 2010.

Daffodils, heart’s ease and phlox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentian, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”


Posted in Art, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art, OilPainting, Paintings | Leave a comment

Adam and Eve or Suzanne and André?

[Adam and Eve (1909) Oil on canvas (162 cm x 131 cm)]

Suzanne Valadon (23 September 1865 – 7 April 1938) was a French artists’ model and painter born Marie-Clémentine Valadon at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, Haute-Vienne, in France. She was also the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo (born 1883).

The daughter of an unmarried laundress, Valadon began working from the age of 11, including a stint as a factory-hand making funeral wreaths. By the age of 15 she became a circus acrobat but a year later, a fall from a trapeze ended that career. For the next 10 years, Valadon modeled under the name “Maria” for many artists including Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, Théophile Steinlen, Pierre-Auguste Renoir; and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who called her “Suzanne“); and was thought to have had many affairs with the artists she modeled for. Valadon was also known to be good friends with Edgar Degas, whom she befriended in the early 1890s. He became impressed with her bold line drawings and fine paintings, purchasing some of her work and encouraged her efforts. In fact, she remained one of Degas’s closest friends until his death.

Valadon’s paintings feature rich colours and bold, open brushwork often featuring firm black lines to define and outline her figures, emphasizing the structure of the body. Her first models were her family members, often her son, mother, or niece. Her first exhibitions held in the early 1890s, consisted mostly of portraits, including one of Erik Satie’; with whom she had an affair in 1893. In 1896, Valadon married a stockbroker Paul Moussis.

  • By 1909, at the age of 44, Valadon began an affair with 23 year old painter André Utter; a friend of her son. Adam and Eve, (pictured above) was painted the same year and is said to be a depiction of Utter and herself.

After divorcing Moussis in 1913, Valadon married Utter the following year. During their marriage he managed both Valadon and her son Maurice Utrillo’s art careers. Valadon and Utter worked and exhibited together until they divorced in 1934.

  • Valadon produced around 300 drawings and over 450 oil paintings.
  • Many of her works are among the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Grenoble, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
  • Suzanne Valadon died of a stroke on 7 April 1938, at age 72, and was buried in the Cimetière de Saint-Ouen in Paris.

A small square at the base of the Montmartre funicular in Paris is named Place Suzanne Valadon.

Adam and Eve or Suzanne and André?
Apple of her eye? – Couldn’t give a fig (leaf)

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Art, Artists A-Z, Erotic Art, Gallery Art, Paintings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Don’t Know About You But … I Decline Myself

[‘I Decline Myself: ABNbookwork” Cottles Bridge, Vic. ThisTooPress, (2009).]

Lyn Ashby was born in 1953. Ashby has a PhD (Studio-based, arts research) from Monash University in Melbourne, the London College of Communication (Master of Arts, Typo/Graphic Studies), the Victorian College of Arts (Graduate Diploma in TV/Film), the Sydney College of Arts (Bachelor of Visual Arts – Photography) and Adelaide University (Bachelor of Arts – English Language and Literature).

Ashby has also won awards in film:

  • FFICS, Tokyo for the animated film Under the Weather, in photography
  • Lady Fairfax Award for Photography, open section, for Peripheral Vision
  • The Southern Cross University Acquisitive Artists Book Award (for The Ten Thousand Things) and;
  • received several grants from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Ashby’s art tends towards exploring existential breaking points which is perhaps where the real inquiry begins. From his book, I Decline Myself, (featured above) he investigates the idea that we are formed by language; a concept reflecting the ongoing importance of literature in Ashby’s oeuvre. In working his way through the various decisions of a noun, Ashby literally constructs a self-portrait out of words.

His decision to print the text and images on transparent paper allows the reader to view simultaneously what has come before and what becomes after, though in a purposefully occluded way.

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Art, Artists A-Z, Gallery Art | Leave a comment

Is the Scalpel Mightier Than the Pen?

ELK aka Luke Cornish is an Australian born street artist (born 1979) who has created unique, powerful images from handmade stencils from Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. His rise within the contemporary art world has been meteoric, becoming the first artist to be nominated for the Archibald Prize with a portrait created entirely out of stencils.

A former blue-collar worker from Canberra, Cornish’s apathy and boredom during his early twenties encouraged him to start experimenting with Stanley knives and spray-paint cans. Fast forward a decade and a bit; and Cornish has literally carved his name into the general public’s mind.

  • Sometimes using up to 1000 separate layers of carefully hand-cut acetate, Cornish sprays layer upon layer of aerosol paint until his images bear a striking photographic resemblance.

After a few small exhibitions across Australia, Cornish’s abilities began to attract public attention. Over the past ten years he has been granted many awards, including:

  • Winning the coveted Holding Redlich People’s Choice Award, Salon de Refusés (2017),
  • Churchill Fellowship (2013),
  • Metro Art Prize finalist (2011),
  • Winner of the Australian Stencil Art prize (2010),
  • Melbourne Stencil Festival – Most Popular Stencil  (2008),
  • and creating a shortlisted Tropfest film on the making of his Archibald portrait as well as winning the Archibald itself.

Cornish’s portrait of controversial Catholic priest Father Bob Maguire achieved a new auction record for a work by an Australian street artist selling for AU$34,160 during the Bonhams Australia Important Australian Art auction in late 2013.

Now living and working in Sydney, Cornish has continued to refine his art and in early 2017 co-founded the ‘For Syria’s Children‘ Charity organisation, raising much needed funds for Syrian children affected by the conflict.

Further information on ELK is available at his website or follow him on Twitter @ELK.

Cornish has shown the art world that even if the “pen is mightier than the sword”, the “scalpel might win out overall”

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in SprayCanArt, Stencils, Street Artists A-Z, StreetArt | Leave a comment

Ha-Ha | ‘It’s better than sex’

Ha-Ha the street artist is also known as Regan Tamanui. As a street artist he has been using spray can and stencil art in and around Melbourne since 2001. He is also a professional artist and gallery curator with several gallery shows under his belt.

Ha-Ha (born 1972) began his street art back when he used to work as a ‘garbo’ for the cities of Whitehorse, Moreland and Glen Eira and took hundreds of stickers to work each week and stuck them up all over the neighbourhood. Now he mainly uses stencils in and around the Melbourne CBD, Fitzroy, Collingwood, Brunswick and Richmond areas close to home.

  • Ha-Ha often depicts pop kitsch art. He is fascinated by conspiracies, robots, Dystopian future, underbelly sub-cultures and anti-corporate and anti-government campaigns. He claims his inspiration came from another stencil street artist Psalm.
  • Ha-Ha once said that: ‘The risk of getting caught is the ultimate thrill. It’s better than sex’.

Further information is available at his website or you can follow him on his Instagram account @regantamanui

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in SprayCanArt, Stencils, Street Artists A-Z, StreetArt, StreetArtists | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hutton’s Hamming It Up

Hutton’s Hams and Bacon (Pine-Apple Brand)

During the 1860s the suburb of Preston in Melbourne’s north saw the introduction  of a bacon-curing factory. Following its opening in 1862, came a tannery in 1865. These original establishments would be followed by several larger factories, including Hutton’s Hams and Bacons and Zwar’s Parkside Tannery.

Mel B. Spurr seen in this Hutton‘s poster, was a short plump pink-faced fellow with a jaunty comedian’s facade and an air of deceptive innocence, but he never left much of a mark on Australian history, but maybe it’s marketing tagline had greater success – “No, no, no, –  I must have Hutton’s”.

However, I don’t eat meat, so Hutton’s Means Nuttin’ To Me

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Edible Art, Illustrations, nostalgia, StillLife | Leave a comment

Wowed By the Cloud

The Cloud (1900) by Charles Douglas Richardson.

Victorian Heidelberg School artist and sculptor, Charles Douglas Richardson (7 July 1853 – 15 October 1932) trained at the Artisans School of Design, Trades Hall and the National Gallery School, both in Melbourne; before he began studies at the Royal Academy School in London. During this time he shared studios with fellow Melburnians, Tom Roberts and Bertram Mackennal.

Richardson was one of the most gifted sculptors working in Australia ca. 1900. His cast ‘The Cloud”, a bronze nude female sculpture, consists of a 167cm life-size bronze casting which was unfortunately damaged after it was exhibited at the Ballarat Art Gallery in 1977.

  • The current bronze cast (1986) stands in the centre of a lily pond as part of the Bayside Town Hall gardens which was originally planned for the City’s Centenary Celebrations in 1934; before the plans were scrapped. However, 52 years later, ‘The Cloud’ finally  lifted and the statue emerged.

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

Posted in Sculpture, Urban Art | Tagged , , | Leave a comment