Dean Sunshine’s Land of Sunshine – A Snapshot of Melbourne Street Art 2010 – 2012, (Brunswick, 2012) soft-back, 300 pages.
Street art does not last forever, it can’t be preserved on the street, only in endless photos and it takes someone with passion to document this huge explosion in art. And Dean Sunshine’s Land of Sunshine is a snapshot, unashamedly a coffee table photography book. It is mostly photographs and lots of them.
It is not that Dean is a photographer – he photographed it all on his “crappy little digital camera.” (Not that you can tell the price of the camera from the photographs in the book.) Dean Sunshine is Melbourne’s equivalent to New York’s Jack Stewart or John Naar. Dean loves Melbourne’s street art and it was this passion that drove him to document it.
The artists selected in the book haven’t been featured in any of the previous books on Melbourne street art: Adnate, Be Free, CDH, Deb, Drab, Heesco, Kaff-eine, Makatron, Phoenix, Slicer, Suki and Urban Cake Lady. There are plenty of great Melbourne street artists to fill a book but this is a good representative selection of the variety.
The individual artists fill half the book – the other half is full of Melbourne walls, paste-ups, exhibitions, international artists visiting Melbourne and installations. It is great to see that street art exhibitions that have featured notably in the scene in recent years. As I wrote, it is mostly photographs but there is an introduction by Fletch of Invurt and the last word goes to Dean.
First there was Dean Sunshine’s photo collection, then the blog Land of Sunshine and now the book – I am green with envy. Street art has been a boon to publishers filling many a book. Dean’s passion is the difference with this book; he knows Melbourne’s street art and has diligently ensured that most of the images are correctly attributed in the index.
The book launch was a major event in Melbourne’s street art scene. The book was launched in a laneway and studio space in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy. The space was decorated with a massive day of painting on the weekend before by Kaff-eine, Lucy Lucy, Adnate, Conrad, Fletch, Shida, Choq Mcp, Junky Projects and other artists. Food and drink for the opening was provided by a plethora of sponsors, DJ Jason Digby was laying down the beats for the evening and the guest list was limited to a couple hundred people. An occasion to meet those unfamiliar faces that you know by name from their art on the street and to catch up with other people who document Melbourne’s street art scene like Vetti, Alison, Lorraine, Fletch and Dean.