Tag Archives: wheat pasting

Out of the Ordinary

“Out of the Ordinary” is a solo exhibition by Phoenix in the front gallery of Off the Kerb. Phoenix is not the ordinary Melbourne street artist who works with paste-ups. Unlike other street artists you don’t instantly get the meaning of his images, you have to work at them. You recognise the ordinary object but then you realise that there is more, something out of the ordinary. Often the message is an environmental awareness like All in One Basket.


Phoenix, M.C. (Milk Crate) Escher, Anchor Hand and Jumbo Sushi Fish

Phoenix makes his paste-ups using a very technical combination of drawing, photocopies and collage. He uses a photocopier to produce drawings and has been using photocopiers to make art for longer than he has done street art. He used the photocopier to add colour through different colour ink cartridges or coloured paper and especially to enlarge and reduce. Very accurate, detailed drawings, draftsman drawings that are built up by combining different elements or the same element at different sizes, as in his Show of Hands. Always the image incorporates a double spiral as a logo/tag/signature.

He has been working on the streets for about seven years. He is a generous guy who will loan other artists his ladder at painting events, before he’s put up his own paste-up, or volunteer to help at the Sweet Streets festival, which is where I first met him. He has an amazing trolley studio with a ladder and all he needs for working on the street.

This is the first time that I’ve seen Phoenix exhibit in a gallery but I know that he has had exhibited in Sydney before. The works are the same as they are on the street, except that the gallery editions are mounted on jigsaw cut wood rather just pasted on the wall. With the Night Diver, and other pieces there raised elements, like the bolts and other parts.

The masterpiece of the exhibition is his M.C. (Milk Crate) Escher it is truly out of the ordinary.

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Not Gangnam Style – Korean Street Art

There isn’t much Korean street art, well, I didn’t see much on my recent travels. Most Korean graffiti is traditional, back before old school; people writing on the wall with pens. The absence of aerosol graffiti or street art is not due to Korean respect for property; Koreans write on the walls, in stairwells, on rocks and even in museums.

Korea graffiti wall

Writing on the stone of Inwangsan Mountain, Seoul

Writing on the stone of Inwangsan Mountain, Seoul

There is even traditional Korean writing on the rocks of Inwangsan mountain in Seoul.

Isadong wall, Seoul

Isadong wall, Seoul

In Seoul I saw more street art than old school aerosol graffiti and I saw more aerosol art in the lanes of Gyeongju that I did in Seoul. I’m told there is some in Seoul but Seoul is a very big place and although I followed up some leads and looked down many streets and lanes, I never saw it. This post comes with my usual caveat about commenting on the graffiti and street art of other cities applies here; I probably didn’t know the best locations to visit, that street art is ephemeral and I was just seeing what happened upon during my travels. Normally I see some graffiti along the railway tracks when I travel by train but there was none in Korea. I saw some in the many laneways of Seoul and Gyeongju.

Gyeongju wall

Gyeongju wall

Paste-up in Bukchon, Seoul

Paste-up in Bukchon, Seoul

I saw a great paste-up (wheatpasting) in the Bukchon district of Seoul. There were also some stencils and other work in this attractive and cultural significant area.

Bukchon wall, Seoul

Bukchon wall, Seoul

Of course there was some tagging and stickers in Seoul – mostly by Zacpot, he is everywhere with stickers and pens.

Zacpot sticker, Seoul

Zacpot sticker, Seoul

There is lots of potential for some truly great street art in Korea, there are a lot of great walls it just needs artists who want to do it (along with better cans and caps).

Merecat stencil, Seoul

Merecat stencil, Seoul

Snyder in Melbourne

I meet up with visiting American street artists Snyder in Hosier Lane on his first visit to Australia. If you haven’t heard of Snyder that’s okay it like he is a famous artist. I had agreed to meet as a courtesy to another blogger (Carlsbad Crawl) and out of interest in what a visiting street artists thinking of Melbourne. Snyder knew that I would be writing a blog post about it.

Prior to Melbourne Snyder had been in WA but he thought he had better leave after becoming so notorious for his paste-ups that his photo was up at the local shops. Now he was planning to put a paste-up in Hosier Lane.

“I prefer blank urban walls and usually seek out urban locations void of clutter. I knew getting up high was my only option in Hosier. As we talked in the lane I kept my eye on the flow of delivery trucks which were taking turns driving in and out of the lane. When the one with the highest back apparatus approached us, I made my move.” Snyder told me later.

Snyder talked the delivery truck driver to park close to the wall so that he can do a paste-up high on the wall of Hosier Lane. Then Snyder pulled the rolls of paste-up out of his backpack of tricks, wallpaper glue, a large water bottle. He carefully unrolling paint dripped covered paper. Quickly mixing up the wallpaper glue in a paper drinks cup he smears it onto the back of his drip painted paste-up. Then he climbs on to the back of the truck and pastes up one of his “Rocket Pop Boy”.

Snyder's backpack of tricks

Snyder, Rocket Pop Boy

After that we walked around the laneways of Melbourne, photographing and talking about the art on the wall. It was a great ranging conversation about street art. Snyder had already visited Fitzroy, guided around by Jes Richardson, and said that it reminded him a bit of his own neighborhood.

We stopped across the other side of the city at Dark Horse Experiment. Snyder and me both admired Ben Howe’s paintings – from a recent Metro show? The influence of his stencil art background is still very clear in Howe’s oil paintings. Snyder hung out with HaHa and the guys at Blender Studios for most of his time in Melbourne.

On his return home I asked Snyder to reflect on what had impressed him.

“The amount of high quality street art in Melbourne is amazing. I feel many of the artists I found and met, and the scene as a whole, is underrepresented world wide. In terms of location ‘Baby Guerrilla’ was my favorite. Each piece was high and isolated on urban walls. HAHA’s canvas stencil work is a technique I have never seen before. Truly amazing! I loved the resourcefulness of Junky Project’s work. The work with the cans immediately became a favorite. Shida was one of the most prolific artists I found hitting almost every city I visited from Sydney, Melbourne and even the Gold Coast. CDH encouraged urban exploration which I really dig. AWOL crew’s rendered graf portraits were very impressive. Each and every illustration by Kaffeine caught my eye as well as the animated civilizations of by CIVIL. The amount of lanes and alleys of Fitzroy/Collinwood covered entirely with graf, pastes and stencils surprised me most during my visit to Melbourne.”

On the subject of urban exploration another one of Snyder’s projects during his stay in Melbourne was his Banana Splat Scavenger Hunt. I asked him how his Scavenger Hunt went. “As of now no one has posted a photo of each of the banana splats to my ‘Snyder Art and Design’ page, so there is not a winner. The contest deadline was March 1st, but if someone submits all 5 anytime in the near future, then a painting just might find their way.”

Snyder's Psycho Shower Scene Woman in Blender Alley. Thanks Snyder for the photos.

Poster Bombing 2011

Graffiti creeps up along the Upfield line bicycle path and in recent years there several quality pieces north of Moreland station. Paste-ups have now reached the shoe factory on my block with a well-placed piece by Shark, who appears to be specializing in images of birds.

Shark, flying ducks, Coburg

As if there weren’t enough fly-posters for bands and concerts all over Melbourne there has been a big increase in paste-ups in the last year. Paste-ups maybe popular with street artists but are not highly regarded by the general public, unlike the public reception to the stencil art scene. This is because there often there isn’t much to this poster bombing. An unoriginal black and white photograph is enlarged on a photocopier and pasted on the wall doesn’t impress the general public even if it is really big. Part of the problem is often the only consideration for paste-up placement is access and visibility. The content of many of these paste-ups is just bland selection of sampled photographs images. Many people want the instant fame of street art; years ago Happy commented with his “Instant Fame” series of paste-ups.

Happy, "Get Instant Fame"

Quality paste-ups are cut around the outline of the image, or include, even more paper cutting, like those of Miso and Swoon. Paste-up specialists like Phoenix mounts his paste-ups on cut MDF panels that have been designed withstand the weather.

Baby Guerilla, floating nude women

Many artists and illustrators are using paste-ups to show their work on the street; I keep seeing Baby Guerilla’s floating nude women along on the streets. The Melbourne paste-up artists that I most admire are Phoenix, Urban Cake Lady and Happy. (There are others who I have not been able to identify.) I admire their work because they are produce interesting content; the message and content of the paste-up is more important than the wheat paste technique. Phoenix is interested in the politics and meaning of signs. Urban Cake Lady mysterious red draped woman with stripped stockings along with wild animals. And Happy had a cynical take on both street art and advertising.



Urban Cake Lady

unknown artist, clothes line

Happy, "toy!"

unknown artist

Who is your favorite wheat-pasting street artist?

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