Whether they're pasting work onto walls or running through them, Melbourne's young artists pursue unexpected creative paths - following ideas that lead them out of the galleries and into our bars, theatres, boutiques and bookstores. These are artists to enjoy now, before you need a ticket to the Venice Biennale or a gift certificate for Paul Smith. M's art critic, Penny Modra, spoke to five of the city's next generation.
Stencil art on a grand scale
You've probably seen Miso's work in the streets. Her ethereal portraits are either painted or wheat-pasted onto walls, documenting characters and ideas that would otherwise be forgotten. She says the temporary nature of her street pieces is part of their meaning, "They're usually first drawn in my studio with Posca markers (with acrylic paints for colour), on thin newsprint paper. It's taken me a while to find materials that last but also wither, decay and weather nicely. That's the most exciting part of a street work - it's always developing, merging into and decaying with its environment until it's gone."
Part of her interest in urban progress and decay has come from growing up in Ukraine, "in the big Soviet blocks on the outskirts of Kharkov. It's strange how much I still miss it and how much my last trip there really influenced my drawings and thoughts."
Miso, 23, has lived in Melbourne for 10 years and works from a home studio, overlooking Elizabeth Street, that she shares with her partner and collaborator, Ghostpatrol. "It's big and tidy, and relaxed enough to have a great time drawing and talking all day, having friends come around to draw." Together with artists Skeleton Suit and Acorn, they've founded the collective Mitten Fortress, working together on gallery shows as well as street art. "For street work, we go out late at night, and only on weeknights when there aren't too many people about. I almost always need help - because the works are so big or detailed. Most of the help is just watching, a few metres away, for police or trouble makers while I paste."
In her gallery work, Miso uses pencil, watercolour and pigmented inks. "They're much more meticulous and careful," she says, "I really like having one body of work running across two quite different practices."
Beastman (aka Brad Eastman) is back. I’m always fond of the Sydney artist’s work spontaneously popping up in my life, and was pleasantly surprised when I went to see a mate’s band gig last week and noticed his trademark screaming monster crisply adorning the walls of Oxford Art Factory. It was so new, the smell of fresh paint lingered through our favourite basement venue with every guitar chord.