I have been meaning to upload this for a while, but i have just been lazy about formatting the pictures. Well, after a long delay, here is my Melbourne trip in a nutshell. There are about 1000 pictures i took total, but i have picked a few that showcase things the easiest. Hope you enjoy!
got into Melbourne after a 3 hour delay. In Los Angeles we were delayed for an hour, so that was problem one. Problem two came after being in the air for 14 hours. We were a little outside of Sydney, en route to Melbourne, when the pilot comes over the PA system and says "we don't have enough fuel to make it to Melbourne, so we need to make a pitstop in Sydney to refuel". What?!?! How in the fuck do you over look something like fuel? Anyway,. gassed up and hopped down to Melbs.
Got in 3 and a half hours late, JD one of the stencil festival organizers picked up in this rad old school land rove.
then I taken to EverFresh Studios, which is where i was to stay while in Melbourne. The Studio is amazing, and is HUGE. Almost 5000 sq. ft, with a screen-printing shop, Vespa repair shop, Skate ramp, Art Gallery, 4 bedrooms, and a bunch of other things that i wont bore you with. To give an idea of this space, there are 7 couches in the main area, and it still looks empty.
After dropping off my supplies, we went to this local pizza joint, Marios Pizza. I have to say, this is one of the best pizzas i have had. The only other place that can come close is Pizza Paul in Los Angeles. So I ate pizza, drank beer, then fell asleep at 7pm. .
This day things began to roll smoother. I got up, and met up with Broken Crow, the other American Artist who made the trek half way around the world.
Unfortunately after speaking with him, i realized that i could no longer bitch about my flight. He had been the airport, or on an airplane for a total time of 27 hours. sweet mother of jesus that is a long time. We explored more of Melbourne, and later caught up with artist Strafe, who would be our unofficial tour guide, drinking companion, and new best friend for the rest of our time there.
Broken Crow took a walking tour and saw the major street art sites around the city. Hoiser Lane is famous in the stencil community around the world. It is sort of like a mecca for stencil artists. Even after much of the street-art was buffed for the Commonwealth Games, it still thrives in Melbourne. Luckily alleys like Hoiser Lane, and some of the surrounding areas escaped the city sponsored whitewash. The art is amazing. Hundreds upon hundreds of stencils, paste-ups and graffiti. It is like street art overload
Got back to the studio, ate pizza again, drank beer, went to sleep.
I love this city. Want to know the best thing about it? they use words like 'heaps' and 'reckon' As in, "i love this city heaps, reckon i should go explore it more". ahhhh, the local lexicon.
Mostly wandered around the city looking at the sights, tried get my bearings and take in the culture. That evening, there was a group of artists that were painting a mural on the rolldown at Polyester, a local store.
We sat and watched them paint and we started to gather a pretty good crowd, but someone (probably me) thought it would be a good idea to duck into the bar next door and have a few drinks.
Well Broken Crow, Strafe, and I walked in and unbeknownst to us, it would be the beginning of a very bad morning. Sampled just about everything in the place in-between walking outside and watching the mural progress. It was a good time, and we headed back to Strafe's house to continue the festivities. The way back was much longer than Broken Crow and I had anticipated. it was more like a hiking adventure than a stroll back home. Walked through this huge park that has an army of possums in it. Australian possums are different than the american kind. These look like a mix of monkey, wallaby, and American possums. At the base of every tree, and i do mean EVERY tree, there was a possum.
Like they were the bark protector or something. it kinda creeped me out. But no sooner than we were out of the park and we were under a tree that sounded like the wind was ripping it to shreds. The only problem is that there was no wind. Strafe told us that the tree was just infested with fruit bats. You ever seen a fruit bat? I am telling you now, those fuckers are big. Like a small kitten or something. I am not enjoying the city zoo safari at this point. We arrive, drink, talk, pass out.
I didn't greet the next day with the vigor and enthusiasm that i had previous days. Whiskey Vodka and Beer had severely handicapped my enjoyment of the bright beaming sunlight of Melbourne. I walked back to Everfresh studios where i hid from the sunlight like a bear hibernating. I responded to emails while i tried to get over my hangover. Had to give it up typing though because the keys on the keyboard were too loud. Each keystroke was like throwing an empty metal trashcan down an alley. fuck it, i went to bed, again.
Got up, made my way to get paint at the local store, GIANT. This place is what a store should be like. it was friggin huge, and they had just about every paint brand you could hope for. Ceiling to floor, nothing but spaypaint. Phibs had taken me there to get paint for the upcoming painting demo that i had. We chatted w Clark, the owner of the store before hopping the tram back to Fitzroy, where the stencil festival was
The Stencil Festival opened and things were amazing. People charged in the venue like an army of fire ants trying to devour an intruder. Within the first hour i had sold 3 pieces. Over $3000 dollars of art in one hour. not a bad take. Now that my airline ticket had been covered with the sales, i focused on relaxing and taking it all in. For 3 solid hours i met person after person that i had been in touch with for years. I met Ghetto Kitty who originally asked me to participate in the Asian K-Spray tour last year. Met HAHA, one of Melbourne's most prolific stencil artists, and far too many to name. It was a great night to say the least.
The opening wrapped up and we made out way to The Lounge, club in the downtown area that ghetto Kitty was doing promotions for. We rolled in force, with nearly 20 of us drinking beer like a plague of locusts devouring everything in site. After a few hours of drinks and music that was too loud, a few of us skipped out for a more leisurely time at Everfresh Studios.
Today was the collaborative painting day. Many of the artists that participated in the Stencil Festival had come in to work collaboratively on pieces that would be auctioned off on Sunday. The Auction proceeds were donated to a local charity. It is always great to see how people work. In every industry there are those times when you enjoy being a geek. In the stenciling community, things like the type of paint you use, the blade you use to cut, and how you spray are boring to most, but for someone that has stenciled for nearly every day of his life, it becomes the geek fodder that keeps you interested.
Today i went back up to GIANT paints to get the right colors. Strafe and I headed up there, grabbed the paint, then back to Everfresh to prepare for the night. The stencil festival continued, and artwork flew of of the walls still. That evening there was a live stencil painting demo with me, Die Laughing Crew from Tasmania, Ghost Patrol, Prism, Phibs, Sync, and others. The night went well, but for the first time Melbourne showed a crack in the beautiful weather. It became cold and damp within a few hours, and the paint took a long time to dry. Lucky for me, i finished my piece early.
One of the strangest events to happen was the drive by egging that happened during the night. A car whisked by, and a dozen eggs were tossed over the brick wall, and by the time we realized what was happening, it was over. Oddly enough, not a single egg hit. Didn't hit a person, didn't hit art, didn't hit anything but the ground. There must have been close to 75 people in a close area, and these guys came up with nothing. They wouldn't make it as a gang member in Los Angeles. We all chuckled and went about out business.
We finished out the festival and headed out for some house party that was going on. After a half hour of walking in search of the elusive party, i called it a night. Caught a cab back to the studio and thought back to the festivals events. it was a great time.
Today the Auction took place, so i headed over to check things out. Pieces that would have gone for $900 at the festival were being auction off for $200. One guy bid, and won, nearly 15 pieces. Has to make you wonder if he was thinking of flipping them a couple years down the line to cash in on the bargains.
Kangaroos, tasmanian devils, wallabies, platypuses, and Koalas! Today was rad! I felt like a total tourist, but i got over that feeling when i realized, i am a tourist. Broken Crow, Strafe, and myself were shown around Hilldale Animal sanctuary by this woman named Beck. Beck worked at the book and toy store, Polyester. We had all met and talked with her during the stencil festival. Polyester manned the book stand at the festival and in the downtime I would chat with her. Broken Crow kept insisting that his time in Australia wouldn't be complete unless he saw a kangaroo. I guess his 'i wanna see a kangaroo' mantra worked its way into Beck's head because she was kind and offered us a ride to the Sanctuary. It was crazy to see a platypus in person. Best sign ever was the one that read "platypusry". You could pet the kangaroos, and get close enough the koala bears to hear them breath. It was a super touristy thing to do, but i had a good time.
Today was one of the most unproductive days i have had in quite some time. Slept in until about noon, then got up and did nothing for a few more hours. This was the first day where i had nothing do do, and i did a great job doing nothing. Finally i dragged myself out of the studio so i didn't feel like such a slug. Walked around the city and took tons of pictures of the art that cluttered every crack and crevasse of the city. After a few hours i made my way back to Everfresh and we had a BBQ with the Die Laughing Crew from Tasmania. I hate Kangaroo sausages, which were called Kanga Bangas. glad i tried them, but cant say they were my favorite.
Today i caught up with Anthony, one of the writers for the blog SlamXHype.com. Anthony was a great guy who contacted me before i even flew to Melbourne and offered to show me around the city and keyed me into some of the spots that i may want to check out. Anthony had spent a year in Tokyo and had just recently come back to Melbourne to focus on his writing. We had dinner at this Vietnamese restaurant and had an amazing meal.
Today the first time i felt like i could get outside and explore a bit. I wondered around and saw an original Keith Harring mural from the 80's. It was falling into a state of disrepair, but it was still dope to see a mural that was 30 feet tall, and was done by Harring.
Walked around and saw tons of tags and throwies from Bones and Stan, two of Melbourne's most prolific graffiti artists to date. These guys crushed the city. every block, every building. Their style wasn't great, but you couldn't deny the work ethic.
Made my way to the offices of K-Swiss. For the past year and a half i had been dealing with the K-Swiss offices in Australia, but hadn't met them until today. Went out to lunch and managed to put a face to the email address. Left with an armful of K-Swiss gear and shoes and made my way to the studio of HAHA. HAHA is one of the OG's of the stencil game in Melbourne. Every time i asked people why stenciling became so big in Melbourne, HAHA's name always came up. Guess about 5 years ago he had started doing stencils like many of the people in the City. HAHA pushed stencils more than any of them though. Soon the city was covered with his old school robots with the word HAHA plastered across his chest. Each night he would go out and empty 2 cans of paint on the street with his stencils. At one point he went out for 3 months straight using 2 cans each night. You can imagine, the streets had been invaded with his start black and white robots. Met up with HAHA and saw his studio. He was working on a solo show he had coming up and the studio reflected that. Stacks of hundreds of stencils lined the floor of the studio. On the wall were pristine hand crafted canvases with the new pieces he had been working on.
After a brief chat, he took me to meet Andy Mac. Every city has those people who work behind the scenes providing opportunities to artists and helps foster the scene. In Melbourne one of those people is Andy Mac. Andy runs the City Light project. The City Lights project works with artists to help present their work in Hoiser alley, and another location by reproducing their work and and displaying it in back lit light boxes. Each 'exhibit' runs for a total of two months. Andy also runs a gallery that had a great show up. I fired away questions about the history or Melbourne street art, and both Andy and HAHA were kind enough to answer. I walked away having a pretty firm understanding of the scene, and how it has grown in recent years.
Left and made my way back to the Everfresh studios and had a few rounds with the boys. Drank, painted, and talked until the wee hours of the night and went to sleep.
Today i met up with Alex. I had heard great things about Alex before i left for Melbourne. He is one of those people who contributes to the scene in a sincere way i was told Alex owns shadow clothing, runs the shop Rancho, and the online art gallery Nice Produce.
We sat in the shop and tossed back a few beers and talked about the urban and streetwear scene in Melbourne. Alex is one of those guys that is always thinking ahead. Always has something popping off next month, or next year. In the course of a few hours we agreed to tentatively work on doing a limited edition jacket with my patterns next year. should be pretty dope if it goes as we talked about. One of the odd points in the night was this canadian guy that accompanied us. I never really found out who he was, or what his connection was, but he was obviously a friend of Alex's, so i figured he was ok. My favorite part was when he asked, all in one breath, "what do you think of our beer, cause we think american beer tastes like piss water and we hate it". how do you respond to that? I just smiled and kept talking with Alex. You could tell that this guy had had one two many, and Alex sort of answered with this annoyed tone every time the 'canadian' proclaimed the newest observation. Over all it was great to catch up with Alex. I always appreciate meeting the lynch pins in each city that really make things happen. that take a stand to push things through that help foster a productive scene. to meet the people that do more than they talked. I left Rancho and headed to The Lounge to meet up w friends. I am an old man. This is the what i realized after being at The Lounge for about an hour. The Drum and Bass sounded like tiny jackhammers beating my ear drums constantly. When friends decided to do some mushrooms and speed i decided it would be best of i cut out and got some sleep. This old man caught some shut eye and was well rested the next day
I got up and was getting ready when Phibs called. Wanted to see if i wanted to go out painting w him on a few murals. My experience on legal walls was limited, but i figured what the hell. I cut out a few pattern stencils and Phibs showed up and we headed off. Phibs has more walls running in Melbourne than any other artist there. You can tell he puts in work. Each corner you turn, you can see a mural, a tag, a paste up, or something that was created by the hand of Phibs. I was along for the experience, so i sat back and took direction from Phibs. He had this huge mural that he was doing as a collaborative piece with the guys from Everfresh. The outline was already sketched out on the wall. It was a giant laboratory, with beakers, bunsen burners, test tubes, and all the other Lab products. In each of the containers, an artist would contribute something. So for me it was a beaker of bubbling patterned water, and on another a block of buildings that looked like the sea monkey advertisements in comic books from the 80's. Phibs had gotten us four long-necks to enjoy while we paint. Over there long-necks are the same as 40's here. So by mid day i was pretty zapped. We worked on the laboratory mural a little more, then headed off into a back alley to do a quick piece. It was here that i as able to see Phibs at work. Within 15 minutes had had painted this fish looking thing with the cleanest lines i have ever seen from a graf artists. I contributed some patterns again, but with my deteriorated state of consciousness i wasn't really good for anything else.
We made tracks back to the Everfresh studios and arrived there by about 7pm. I still hadn't packed to in my half drunken stupor i began to pack extremely delicate stencils into my portfolio. word of advice, if you have stencils that are as delicate as paper lace, don't get drunk and try to pack them. it doesn't really work too well. in fact, it is a great way to fuck up a lot of stencils that took hundreds of hours to cut.
finished packing by around 9, and if I was half drunk before, then i became fully drunk after that. I said my good buys and did some art trades with artists that i had been staying with Reka, Phibs, Deb, HAHA and Rone all were kind enough to do a swap with me. The only thing i have that means anything is my art collection. Odd that i would chose to continue collecting art when i dont even have enough wall space to show what i already have, but one day i will have a huge house and the walls will be covered from top to bottom with the freshest art collection the world has seen. The boys had to take off so i was left at the studio around 11 and was getting ready to head to bed when Strafe showed up and insisted that she was not leaving til the 6pack of Coopers Green beer she brought was gone. So we sat and talked til it was gone, then about 1:30am i headed to bed. It was a short two weeks, and i felt like i was coming to the end of a chapter of a book that i wanted to read more of.
Ahhh, the day to go home. Unfortunately my flight left at 10am, which means that i needed to get up at 6:30 am to get to the airport on time. Got up, and was getting finishing packing when I heard Rick rumbling about. The previous night Rick said he would get up and 'make some coffee before you go'. Rick is one of those people that fucks w you so you never know if he is serious or not. So, when he said he was going to get up in 4 hours and make me some strong coffee before i headed out, i thought it was another case of him fucking with me. But here he was, bleary eyed, and shuffling to the kitchen to brew coffee strong enough to chew. just what i needed after a night of drinking til 1:30. I couldn't help but think to myself that this wouldn't happen in Los Angeles. Here i was 8000 miles away from the place i call home, and a person that was a stranger 9 days previous was taking me in as though i was family. It is the little things that always mean something to me, and i couldn't have thought of a better way to end my stay in Melbourne.