Underbelly resurfaces: The Underbelly Show

Surge, Gaia, Stormie, Remi/Rough and in The Underbelly Project

UPDATE – LOCATION CHANGE: The Underbelly Show has moved to 78 NW 25th Street in Wynwood, Miami to accommodate the large scale of the artwork in this show.

The Underbelly Project is back. Last year, I posted a lot about the project where 103 artists from around the world secretly painted an abandoned/half-completed New York City subway station. After that initial burst of press here and around the web, The Underbelly Project organizers stayed silent. With only occasional vague tweets from a mysterious twitter account and the appearance on Amazon of an upcoming book about the project. Yesterday though, The Underbelly Project announced that they will be participating in this year’s Basel Miami Week madness with a pop-up gallery in South Beach Wynwood.

The organizers of The Underbelly Project and The Underbelly Show, Workhorse and PAC, have this to say about the show:

Workhorse: The New York Underbelly was an important chapter for us, but the story hadn’t been comprehensively told. The Underbelly Miami show gives us a chance to present the broad scope of documentation – Videos, photos, time-lapses and first hand accounts. The project is about more than just artwork. This show gives us a chance to show the people and the environment behind the artwork.

PAC: While the experience each artist had in their expedition underground can never be captured, it is my hope that this show will highlight some of the trials and tribulations associated with urban art taking place in the remote corners of our cities. Too often the practice of making art in unconventional venues remains shrouded in mystery and I hope this exhibition will shine a faint light on those artists who risk their safety to find alternative ways to create and be a part of the cities they live in.

35 of the 103 artists from The Underbelly Project will be exhibiting art in The Underbelly Show, plus video and still footage of the artists at work in the tunnel. Here’s the full line-up: Faile, Dabs & Myla, TrustoCorp, Aiko, Rone, Revok, Ron English, Jeff Soto, Mark Jenkins, Anthony Lister, Logan Hicks, Lucy McLauchlan, M-City, Kid Zoom, Haze, Saber, Meggs, Jim & Tina Darling, The London Police, Sheone, Skewville, Jeff Stark, Jordan Seiler, Jason Eppink and I AM, Dan Witz, Specter, Ripo, MoMo, Remi/Rough, Stormie Mills, Swoon, Know Hope, Skullphone, L’Atlas, Roa, Surge, Gaia, Michael De Feo, Joe Iurato, Love Me, Adam 5100, and Chris Stain.

For this show, the space will be transformed into an environment imitating the tunnel where The Underbelly Project took place, right down to playing sounds recorded in the station while The Underbelly Project was happening.

If you absolutely cannot wait until February to get We Own The Night, the book documenting The Underbelly Project, a limited number will be available at The Underbelly Show in a box set with 9 photographic prints and the book all contained in a handcrafted oak box. Additionally, you will be able to your book signed by the artists participating in The Underbelly Show.

The Underbelly Show will take place at 2200 Collins Avenue, South Beach, Miami 78 NW 25th Street, Wynwood, Miami. There will be a private opening on November 30th, and the space will be open to the general public December 2nd-5th, with a general opening on the 2nd from 8-10pm.

Photo by RJ Rushmore

‘Young and Free’ Interviews # 1: Rone

Rone (Melbourne 2010)

A note from the editor: This interview is the first in a series of interviews with some of the Australian artists in the Young & Free show opening next week at 941 Geary in San Fransisco. Over the next week or so, Luke McManus and I (well, almost entirely Luke) will be interviewing a number of artists involved in the show. Hopefully, this will take Vandalog a step in the right direction towards better recognition of the thriving Australian street art scene. I’m pleased that we can start this series off with Luke’s interview with Rone, a member of Melbourne’s much-respected Everfresh Crew. – RJ

Rone (Everfresh) is one of the most well known and recognised street artists in Melbourne. Rone’s iconic girl face paste ups have adorned many of Melbourne’s underpasses, intersections and unused billboards as well as numerous walls for as long as I have loved street art.  Rone has also hit walls in cities around the world including Los Angeles, New York, London, Toyko, Barcelona and Hong Kong. One of the girls was featured in Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Rone’s recent show ‘L’inconnue de la Rue’ (The unknown girl of the street) at Backwoods gallery in Collingwood (Melbourne) was a huge hit and possibly the show of the year so far. Every painting was sold before the exhibition opened.

I caught up with Rone recently to ask him a couple of questions. This is what he said.

LM: You must be excited about ‘Young and Free’. What do you think about this amazing opportunity and the impact it will have on the awareness of Melbourne, and Australian, street art and artists?

Rone: I’m stoked to be involved in this exhibition not just to get myself out there but to let people know about how strong the graffiti and street art community is in Melbourne and all over Australia. We have had so many internationals come here over the years and be amazed about how much we have going on but because we aren’t New York or London we unfortunately don’t get noticed as often.

LM: Tell me about your background. How did you get into street art?

Rone: I moved to Melbourne around 2000 to study graphic design. I was fascinated by the stencil works by HA-HASync & Psalm that was around at the time. I started painting at skate spots with friends I skated with. Finding spots to skate soon turned into finding spots to paint.

LM: What does your name mean?

Rone: Nothing really, just a nick name that stuck.

LM: What do you enjoy most about the whole street art process? The creation, the night missions etc?

Rone: Hard to say one thing, I guess there is nothing better than seeing your work up a long way from home. I think that’s what a lot of graffiti is about- I was here, I did this.

LM: Who or what inspires you?

Rone: The noise on the walls is what I’ve been looking at lately. The way things decay on the street, rotting & ripped posters, buffed walls etc. The constant battle between artists, bill posters and the buff. I want my artwork to feel like that.

LM: Which artists are you into at the moment? Local and International.

Rone: Locally;  Many of the crew on the Y&F line are huge inspirations but i’m always in awe of the work of MerdaPhibsTwoone & Al stark. International; JR, Blu & ROA are all doing amazing things.

LM: Where do you work from and what is your studio space like?

Rone: I work from Everfresh Studio, the studio looks like a 15 year old vandals dream. I’ve set up a screen printing area to make posters and a bit of a space to paint from.

LM: What is always in your “toolkit”?

Rone: Stickers, posters, glue & a broom.

LM: What has been the highlight (or highlights) of your career to date?

Rone: Being part of the National Gallery of Australia’s collection, Putting on a exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, which gave me a chance to build the Graff mobile.

LM: I’ve been loving your recent work a lot. Tell me about your evolved style and also your recent show “L’inconnue de la Rue”.

Rone:L’inconnue de la Rue” was my first solo exhibition so I wanted to bring the feel of my work on the street into the gallery. I screen printed a series of posters that became the background for the stenciled portraits. (Video). The idea was to create works the were quite rough and unrefined that contrast against the beauty of the girl. “L’inconnue de la Rue” was inspired by the story of L’Inconnue de la Seine, in which the body of an unknown girl was pulled out of the Seine River in Paris. Her peaceful expression added to the mystery surrounding her death. L’inconnue de la rue was my adaption of the story.

"L’inconnue de la Rue"
"L’inconnue de la Rue"
Work from "L’inconnue de la Rue" - N
Work from "L’inconnue de la Rue" - Pain & Guilt
Work from "L’inconnue de la Rue" - Colere
Close ups
Close ups
Close ups
Early Rone (Melbourne ~2004)
Rone (Melbourne ~2009)
Rone (Flinders Street station, Melbourne ~2007)
Rone (New York ~2011)

Photos courtesy of Rone

Young & Free: Australian street artists in SF

One thing that has come up a number of times on Vandalog and in my personal conversations is the seeming isolation of Australia’s street art scene. Although Melbourne in particular as a street art community to rival many major American cities, it seems that most fans of street art are unfamiliar with Australian-based artists besides Anthony Lister and perhaps Meggs. Now, two of Australia’s most committed street art collectors have teamed up with 941 Geary in San Fransisco to put on the biggest show of Australian street artists the US has ever seen, Young & Free. The show has been curated by Sandra Powell and Andrew King, the couple with what is probably both the best collection of work by Australian street artists, and the best collection of work by street artists in Australia.

13 artists are involved in Young & Free: Anthony Lister, Kid Zoom, Dabs & Myla, Dmote, New2, Ben Frost, Meggs, Ha-Ha, Reka, Rone, Sofles and Vexta. That’s a pretty solid line up, representing most of the best Australian-born street artists (but, as far as I know, Ben Frost is not a street artist). If you haven’t heard of all of those names, you can go to the Young & Free website to get a taste for each artist. Basically, without making the trip to Australia yourself, this show will be the best way to see what’s going on with their street art scene. Hopefully, it will also be a massive step towards putting Australian street art on equal footing internationally with American and European street art.

But of course, a gallery may be a place to experience art, but it’s not the place to experience street art. Street art is on the street. Luckily, all 13 of the artists in Young & Free will be in San Fransisco at the start of September, so here’s to hoping that some walls get painted.

Young & Free is still a few weeks away from opening, with a run from September 10th through October 22nd, but we’ve got a quick preview…

Anthony Lister

Photos courtesy of Young & Free

Twoone, Reka & Rone – Live Painting at Metro Gallery in Armadale (Melbourne)

Checked this out on Saturday. A great event run by Metro Gallery. Have a look at their website, a really good gallery with some amazing pieces by some renowned artists (Banksy, Blek Le Rat, HAHA, Damien Hirst, Anthony Lister and Michael Peck to name a few)..

Got there a little late, so missed a lot of Twoone and Reka (sorry guys) but saw Rone from start to end.



Shots of all finished pieces available on Metro’s facebook page.

Photos by Lukey

Two Everfresh shows

Meggs and Rone at The Underbelly Project. Photo by RJ Rushmore

Rone and Meggs from Everfresh Studio each have solo shows opening later this month. Rone will be at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne. Meggs will be at Redbull Studios in London. Meggs’ so is presented by ZeroCool Gallery, so let’s hope this does not end in a repeat of their show last April. Very Nearly Almost has more info and teasers for both Rone’s show and Meggs’ show, here are the flyers:

The Everfresh book

Everfresh (the Melbourne graffiti/street art crew with Sync, Phibs, Reka, Rone, Wonderlust, Prizm, Meggs, Makatron and The Tooth) have put together a book. EVERFRESH: BLACKBOOK is meant to give readers a look inside the Everfresh studio.

To be honest, I don’t know much about that artists in Everfresh. I’ve seen work from Meggs from time to time, but that’s about it (except of course, the work I’ve now seen while researching this post). But that’s not because they aren’t a talented group of artists. It’s because, even with the internet, Australian street art still feels, at least to me, cut off from the rest of the world. Anthony Lister found success when he moved to New York. Charlie Isoe had to move to Berlin. It’s weird. You would think that Flickr and ekosystem and everything else would change things, but the internet hasn’t done as much as you would expect for street art in Australia. That said, the people I know who know Australian street art say that the artists in Everfresh are a big part of what makes Melbourne one of the world capitals of street art. The chance to discover of a whole new group of talented artists is a big part of why I’m excited about this book.

EVERFRESH: BLACKBOOK isn’t going to be in stores until September, but you can pre-order the special edition hardcover book starting today. The hardcover edition is limited to 500 copies and available for $80.00 on Everfresh’s website. That edition also comes with a hand-finished cover, a print and a photographic print.