June was another busy month in Melbourne. My round up for the month includes trains, walls, shows, a rad new publication and some other bits and pieces of goodness.. I’ll start with my favourite train for June. This one ran on June 6th – thanks to The best of Melbourne Graffiti for the pic. This guy has been killing it lately!
Some shots from Burg’s show at the Vic below, more here. Burg’s street characters are some of my faves with twisted and expressive faces appearing all around Melbourne.
Knock Knock Magazinereleased their latest issue, Issue 4 -The Travel Issue. Knock Knock is an online magazine focusing on talented creative people, this issue features articles on Ben Quilty, Mark Drew, Geoffrey Lillemon, Dave Cragg, Sobekcis, Sheryo & The Yok, Onur Gulfidan, Rosek, Haribow, Maaden, Beatrix Curran, Kate Florence Knowlden, Val Kelmer, Jess Howell, Robyn Aubrey, Arman Nobari, Embassy, Spoonty and DoubleTrouble. A great read and a well put together production. Check out these screen shots from Issue 4:
Damn. It’s almost May! Sorry this is so late but it’s worth the wait. March was another action packed month in Melbourne.
Starting off with Baby Guerrilla‘s show in Footscray. Baby Guerrilla’s paste ups have been adorning Melbourne’s walls for a few years now, and they are some of my favourites, her gallery work was new for me and I loved seeing a different side of the artist.
Adnate was 1 of 3 Melbourne graffiti/street artists that entered the renowned Archibald prize. From the Archibald website “The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.” It’s great to see some more modern painting techniques making it into this more conventional competition. Adnate painted a portrait of Samantha Harris; an Australian indigenous model. Also make sure you check out the video by Michael Danischewski below.
Adnate‘s work is some of my absolute favourite in Melbourne right now and has been for a while. He has been hitting the streets hard lately, both solo and in multiple collaborations with AWOL Crew and others. Adnate started out painting graffiti and letters over 10 years ago. More recently he has moved into painting beautifully detailed characters, which also still incorporate some of his tags and lettering, which I love. His characters are not only amazingly detailed, most of them also have a story, which make them even more special. Last year Adnate had his solo show “Lost Culture” at RTIST Gallery and exhibited alongside the rest of the AWOL crew at their collective show “Fabric”. Adnate has also traveled the world painting and exhibiting in cities such as Barcelona, Mumbai, New York, Paris and Berlin.
I sat down with Adnate recently and this is what we talked about.
LM: I mentioned above that many of your characters have a story, which I learned by talking to you at some of your shows and while watching you paint. Tell us about some of them?
Adnate: Most of the subjects in my paintings are of people that I have met and personally photographed. It’s important that I know the subjects as I am always trying to communicate certain emotions and stories through my portraits.
With the aboriginal portraits, which I feel are my strongest, I spent the last years getting to know local and national Indigenous Australians. It has been a crazy journey meeting and learning about these incredible people, particularly the current and past climate of their survival.
LM: Apart from your solo and AWOL group shows, give us a recap of what you got up to in 2012?
Adnate: Last year was the first year that I went bigger and higher with my portraits. It’s a great feeling being elevated that high in the air whilst painting and although I only managed two walls on this scale for 2012 they were definitely a highlight. When painting on the ground you get all sorts of distractions but being up high it’s just you and a few birds (one almost flew into my head recently).
I had some great opportunities to travel around Australia too. I got to travel through the western desert and met some of the oldest indigenous Australians alive. You wouldn’t believe what’s out there, that’s what you call “real country”.
LM: I read in a recent interview on artshub your work is “Inspired by Renaissance artists such as Da Vinci and Caravaggio, Adnate taught himself classical chiaroscuro techniques to communicate drama and emotion in his subjects”. This is quite an evolution from tagging and letters, what brought about this change in style?
Adnate: I worked on making my own style for 10 years and it was time to try something new. So I flipped my work on its head and began trying to reach a level of portrait realism that’s second to a photo. I’ve never been a big sketcher, so when I was painting letters I did so in a free flowing manner from the beginning to the end. Now with portraits I reference a photo, spending just as much time studying the photo as I do the painting. There is always a point in which I battle with the painting and the photo to make things as realistic as possible. It’s a completely different method of painting that I am used to and I think that’s what I love about it. It’s important to stay stimulated and challenge myself wherever possible.
LM: Tell me about some of the other work you do using your art?
Adnate: Over the years I’ve done regular youth work using graffiti art as a way to sway them off drugs and hard crime. I’m currently doing most of this now in a Juvenile Prison that houses the most volatile and “at risk” young boys and girls in the state. It’s an awesome job and the best part is getting to know these guys, they all have the craziest stories to tell and its really rewarding when you get to make their day. Plus there are some really talented writers and artists in there, which is definitely inspiring.
LM: Tell me about your background. How did you get into graff?
Adnate: Well I didn’t grow up on a train line, so my first memories were being a little gromit skater and studying all the designs on the clothes and decks. When I hit high school I begun to travel around Melbourne on the trains, in particular the Hurstbridge Line and I got to see all the WCA productions. This blew my mind and I quickly dropped off from skating and graff became my life.
LM: What does your name mean?
Adnate: ad·nate [ad-neyt] adjective Biology: grown fast to something; congenitally attached.
I get asked this all the time and to be honest I didn’t choose it for the meaning but simply for the letter structure. I was 16 when I choose it from a dictionary and I loved it because it was a word that gave me lots of kicks and flares with my tags.
Since forming in 2006 the AWOL Crew have been producing some amazing work. (The crew is: Adnate, Deams, Itch, Li-Hill, Lucy Lucy and Slicer). This is the collectives first group show since they painted the NGV studio (National Gallery of Victoria) mural back in 2011.
With backgrounds predominately in graffiti it’s great to see the guys pushing their artistic skills. Each artist with their own signature style, but also as a group, the collaboration between the crew for Fabric, seamlessly combining elements of each others work into pieces is hands down the best work I’ve seen from the crew.
The exhibition itself was also somewhat unique and different to most shows. The show was announced a while ago and was to be held at a secret location (announced the day before the show). Not knowing what to expect when I arrived made it even more special. The space was amazing. An old gas works warehouse suited the show really well and provided the perfect backdrop for the art.
Make sure you check out the video. Also, here’s a few shots from the show.
Combining his amazing hand style and painting skills he explores different cultures through a series of amazing portraits incorporating both ancient typography and his signature lettering.
From the RTIST website:
Adnate has established himself as a unique Street-Portrait Artist. His realistic style is the signature to his work, using spray paint as his main medium.”
Beginning as a graffiti writer more than 10 years ago, Adnate spent most of his youth painting the streets of Melbourne with his letters. He has continued to paint walls in multiple continents, flourishing as an internationally recognised street artist.
In recent years Adnate broke from his obsession of painting letters and begun to study the human form. It was then he quickly realized his passion for portraiture. Inspired by Renaissance artists such as Da Vinci and Caravaggio, he taught himself classical chiaroscuro techniques to communicate drama and emotion in his subjects.
For his most recent exhibition ‘Point of View’ in Berlin, Germany, he took inspiration from his travels through India and Europe. “I’ve seen a lot of faces that have been burnt into my memory. Particularly the kids that experience the lives of adults in India, to people losing their faces in clubs in Berlin. Each piece was an interpretation of a person I saw or met.”
Adnate’s next exhibition will be held at the renowned RTIST Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. This time he has chosen to focus on the historical cultures of Tibetan, Persian and Indigenous Australian. Each with their own alluring beauty and spirituality, they have surpassed cultural genocides due to the depth of their rich culture.
Awol Crew, from Melbourne, produce some beautiful collaborations. These two walls display how the members of the AWOL Crew have very different personal styles, yet can pull them all together. Slicer describes it all as “a collaboration of all our unique diverse styles. Adnate’s realism style portraits, Itch’s surrealist style characters, Deams’ bold graphic letter forms and Slicers chaotic tags and line work. a pure AWOL wall”.