A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Category: Art

MASTERSTROKE // poster poetry

Banksy has become world famous for his political street art but the mystery behind his identity garners just as much interest as his art. I’ve come across posters around the streets of Sydney with profound words but the creators remain anonymous. Sometimes the messaging is simple or has a satirical take with dark humour but the reader can interpret it to their own lives. It’s such a shame that council often removes them, like this second photo I took in Surry Hills years ago which is sadly gone. I came across the first poster recently on a wall in Oxford Street near the cinema, so I’m hoping it stays there for people to see. Coming across these poetic gems not only makes your journey more interesting but also gives you something to think about.

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TYPE-RIGHTER // all you need is love

Love is universal and it’s a recurring theme in art, music and film from every culture. We’re told about ‘the power of love’ with many of us experiencing ‘tainted love’ and some people think that ‘love will tear us apart’. Whether you believe in ‘higher love’, you’re ‘addicted to love’, you feel ‘all out of love’ or for you ‘love is a battlefield’ – there’s no denying it’s everywhere. I came across these murals in Bondi which are simple but make a big impact on the street. I realised that I’ve photographed street art in the past based on the word LOVE so it might be a good idea to start a series on this idea. This concept could be my next ‘big love’ so if you have any suggestions on where I can find some great examples of L-O-V-E artwork let me know.

MASTERSTROKE // robert mapplethorpe

ANFM_art-robertmapplethorpe07

ABOVE: ‘Self-portrait’, 1980 (gelatin silver); ‘Self-portrait’, 1983 (gelatin silver); ‘Self-portrait’, 1980 (gelatin silver). BELOW: ‘Patti Smith’, 1979 (gelatin silver); ‘Marianne Faithfull’, 1974 (gelatin silver).

 

BELOW: ‘Deborah Harry’, 1978 (gelatin silver); ‘David Hockney’, 1976 (gelatin silver). BOTTOM: ‘Isabella Rossellini’, 1988 (gelatin silver); ‘Lucy Ferry’, 1986 (gelatin silver).

 

I wish I had a chance to post this before the exhibition closed but life just got in the way. Perfectly timed with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the renowned work of Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium was on show at the Art Gallery of NSW. He was a controversial figure who pushed boundaries and his art was ground breaking. His black and white photography is legendary but it was inspiring to see some of his work that I wasn’t familiar with. Being a designer, it was also nice to see some of the graphic examples from gay publications he collaborated with.

An enclosed room housed the more erotic images as well as his published books – X, Y and Z Portfolios. This three part book series details homosexual sadomasochistic imagery (X), floral still lifes (Y) and nude portraits of African-American men (Z). I loved the sculptural and evocative florals, shot in bold colour with a meticulous play of light and shadows. He was famous for celebrating the human form and his involvement in New York’s gay scene cultivated this, but his contemporary images also caused outrage.

His artistic methods and personal life are also detailed which is fascinating. Robert was friends with famous artists and musicians who he photographed regularly, including his muse Patti Smith. I idolised these icons so I couldn’t go past sharing them here and imagining the story behind each setting. Robert Mapplethorpe had an amazing but tragically short life, although he lives on in his pictures and as he would say ‘perfection in form’.

MASTERSTROKE // margo lewers

Margo Lewers ‘Broken Circles’, c1968 (synthetic polymer paint on composition board)

Margo Lewers ‘Composition in Orange’, c1952 (oil on canvas on cardboard), ‘Orange Shapes (torso)’, c1956 (oil on hardboard)

Margo Lewers ‘Green on Brown’, ‘Red (1)’, ‘Red (2)’, ‘Orange with White’, c1971 (perspex)

Margo Lewers ‘Interior (Centre) (diptych)’, c1965 (synthetic polymer paint on composition board)

Margo Lewers ‘Marine Composition No.1’, no date (oil on masonite), ‘Scene Change’, c1951 (oil on masonite)

I managed to catch the exhibition Emu Island: Modernism in Place before it closed and I was glad I did. It celebrated the significance of Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest as well as it’s importance to Modernism. You can read more about the history of the space on my previous post here. Featuring works by founders Margo and Gerald Lewers along with luminaries of the Sydney art scene such as Frank and Margel Hinder, Judy Cassab, John Olsen, Tony Tuckson, Carl Plate and Robert Klippel. The works span four decades when the Lewers’ resided on the property from 1942-1978.

The standout for me was Margo Lewers’ work which celebrated bold colours, shapes and experimentation with materials. She was an inspirational woman who lived in a time when there were limitations for females but she shone. They were living in a changing world when those formative years of feminism and attitudes were evolving. Margo and her husband created a holistic way of living, working and entertaining their friends and art contemporaries in the new modern age. It would have been amazing to be a part of that energy and creativity.

STREETSCAPES // goddard street

There are plenty of streets and laneways in Newtown filled with street art but Goddard Street is one of my favourite spots. I love how the whole walls are covered in artworks all lined up like an art gallery space. Works by various artists with different styles and themes create an interesting mix. They do change around so it’s always worth having a stroll to see how it’s evolved from the last time. These photos were taken awhile ago so I’m definitely due to do another shoot soon.

MASTERSTROKE // here comes the sun

John Olsen is one of the most revered Australian artists with a career spanning 70 years. I’ve always admired his painting style which is full of energy, fluidity and colour. His current exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW showcases his paintings, ceramics, tapestries and works on paper. It’s clear in these artworks that he loves nature and the Australian landscape that also forms our identity. The you beaut country exhibition showcases his iconic landscape series depicting the beauty of places such as Sydney Harbour and Lake Eyre. My favourite is the large-scale Sydney Sun with the intricate layering of shapes and flowing lines. This particularly inspired me as I have watched the film The King Sun: John Olsen a few times. It’s an amazing documentary following John as he paints the second largest mural he’s ever done (The King Sun). It’s a personal insight as he works on the masterpiece, while sharing his thought process and his philosophy on life.

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