Hi everyone! It’s been a busy year full of exciting + ambitious art projects; thank you so much for following + supporting me! This will be my last post on the current blog, as I’ve moved my personal website to http://www.kaff-eine.com, + am introducing my exciting new collaborative art organisation ‘Cheeseagle’ to the world on it’s very own site http://www.cheeseagle.com. For updates about my art, travels, projects, exhibitions + ways to become involved, please sign up to the Cheeseagle newsletter, + follow the Kaff-eine.com website!
You are invited to my upcoming exhibition, Phoenix, which opens on 6 November 2015 at James Makin Gallery
It’s been a crazy year full of wonderful experiences and challenges: a visit to two of Manila’s most impoverished slums, Baseco Compound and Aroma, Happyland; meeting and collaborating with the exceptional communities who live there; working with talented new friends to create the Phoenix exhibition; and months of studio lockdown in Melbourne, when I turned the charcoal drawings made by the Baseco and Aroma residents into Phoenix showpieces. After months in almost complete isolation, I am proud to show you the results, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with you at the opening of the Phoenix exhibition, 6-9pm Friday 6 November at James Makin Gallery, Collingwood!
The Phoenix exhibition features:
- 10 collaborative paintings made by the Baseco and Aroma/Happyland residents, and Kaff-eine, using charcoal made in Baseco, compressed charcoal and watercolour;
- 3 watercolour and charcoal paintings by Kaff-eine;
- 2 collaborative watercolour and charcoal paintings by Kaff-eine and Geloy Concepcion;
- 6 limited edition photographs by Geloy Concepcion showcasing Manila’s charismatic street life;
- 6 limited edition photographs by Geric Cruz, which are a requiem for the original charcoal-making community ‘Ulingan’;
- The global launch of the Phoenix mini-documentary, by Geloy, Geric and Marti Salva.
Introducing Geloy and Geric
I am very excited to announce that my two major collaborators Geloy and Geric, who accompanied me into Baseco and Aroma as photographers and film-makers (and also my friends, guides, translators, negotiators and security!) are coming to Australia for the Phoenix exhibition! This will be their first visit to the country, and I am stoked that they will experience the fun of the launch, and see first-hand the entire exhibition. I am grateful for their friendship, talent, skill and genuine love for the Baseco and Aroma communities; I could not have made Phoenix without them, and I could not be happier to have us all together again for the launch.
Thank you for your support during 2015; I look forward to seeing you at the Phoenix exhibition.
James Makin Gallery
67 Cambridge St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Opening 6pm Friday 6 November
Exhibition runs 6-15 November
For sales enquiries contact James Makin Gallery:
T: +613 9416 3966 E: email@example.com
Invitation to Heartcore book launch 25 September 2014
Berry Street invites you to join them at an event to launch HEARTCORE – a collaborative book that combines the unique stories and poems of Berry Street school students with my interpretation of them as street art paintings. I will be joining Berry Street at the launch, + am excited to celebrate the production of such a special publication with the HEARTCORE team, supporters, and YOU!
HEARTCORE books are already available for purchase at the special pre-launch price of $40, from Berry Street, at http://www.heartcorebook.com.au. Books will also be available for purchase on the night.
All proceeds from the sale of the book will support Berry Street’s work with vulnerable children and young people.
Venue: The Mind Room, 5 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood Melbourne
Date + time: Thursday 25 September 2014: 7-9pm (drinks are on Berry Street)
See y’all there!
20 BERRY STREET SCHOOL STUDENTS / 20 STORIES / 20 STREET PAINTINGS / 3 MONTHS / 1 STREET ARTIST / 1 BOOK
After an intense 3 month summer painting session, which saw me paint 20 Heartcore murals + pieces in freezing, driving rain + blistering 45 degree heat (thanks Melbourne weather), all the paintings are now complete, + I am in the process of co-designing the Heartcore book, + planning the launch event. All the proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards Berry Street’s work with children, young people + families.
SAVE THE DATE: BOOK LAUNCH 25 SEPTEMBER, FITZROY.
Stay tuned for more details about the launch, + for information on how you can be involved in an anonymous, creative group ‘thank you’ to the young authors at the launch.
The wonderful Rowena Naylor has shot beautiful, professional images of my walls for the book; here are some of my personal photos of the walls:
After a long blog-absence while I spent the last few months creating 20 street paintings for the Heartcore Berry Street x Kaff-eine collaborative project, I am stoked to be back, + will be bringing you some exciting Heartcore developments + dates very soon.
Stay tuned for a recap of my super summer Heartcore painting sessions, information about the special Heartcore book, + details about the super Heartcore book launch, scheduled for September 2014!
Prior to visiting the Philippines, I’d been in contact with some Filipino street + graffiti artists, getting to know them + organising some neat street painting opportunities. Our focus changed after Super-typhoon Yolanda hit + devastated entire cities in the Visayas.
Only a few hours after I landed in Manila, I made my way to Fully Booked, a super bookstore/event centre in Global City, where I joined a huge gathering of Manila’s most active street + graffiti artists to live paint + raise funds for communities affected by Yolanda. It was a crazy, super-busy day, where I met + painted next to many of my new Filipino friends. It was a brilliant introduction to Manila’s warmth, hospitality, creativity + community spirit +, together, we helped to raise hundreds of thousands of Philippine Pesos for the relief effort.
The next evening, I was the feature live-painter at Art Para Sa Lahat Para Sa Visayas, another urban/street art fundraising project created + organised by the fantastic (+ super talented) artist Geloy Concepcion. Geloy put out the call for artists to donate works for sale, then worked with the PSP + Secret Fresh Gallery at the super RONAC Art Centre to offer this one-night-only event. I loved the chance to again catch up with my new friends, create some artwork in support of a great cause, + see my donated prints (+ Dean Sunshine’s Land of Sunshine Melbourne street art books) on display in great company.
Big Boy (left, below) + the crew put on a super gig, full of rad street art, beats, street food + good times.
Funds raised from the sale of artwork have already been distributed to the affected areas personally, by Geloy + friends:
I used markers to draw/paint a deerhunter, which my new friends then completed, to super effect.
I loved seeing how they transformed the deerhunter into a genuinely Filipino work of street art:
It was a great evening, with art sales contributing more much-needed funds for Typhoon Yolanda victims. I was stoked that my donated prints had all sold, + I was also stoked to be able to buy some great Filipino artworks to take home with me. Thank you Geloy, PSP + Secret Fresh Gallery, for making me feel so welcome in a new land, + for making my first weekend in the Philippines ones which I will never forget. Salamat Po!
Two weeks before I was due for my first visit to the Philippines, Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Typhoon Haiyan) hit the country. It was officially the strongest storm ever recorded on landfall, + the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, devastating entire cities, killing thousands, rendering tens of thousands injured + homeless, + causing unimaginable damage.
Responding to this catastrophe, the Filipino graffiti + street art community (along with many other communities + organisations nationally + worldwide) sprang into action to help their fellow countrymen + women suffering in the aftermath of Yolanda, organising emergency relief + fundraising events across Manila. I had been in contact with a few Filipino street artists in the lead-up to my visit, + was invited to become part of their fundraising efforts at a couple of events only hours after I was due to land in the Philippines.
I arrived at midnight, we fought our way through the smoggy, chaotic Manila traffic to the apartment, I slept for a few hours, + awoke at dawn to travel to Fully Booked bookstore + event centre at Global City, the venue for Art for Heart:
The venue was buzzing with many artists all donating resources + time to create works, which were then to be auctioned, + many supporters who had arrived early to buy sketches, artworks + paintings. It was an incredible introduction to the country for me; I made many new friends; learned about art techniques, conventions + culture in the Philippines; heard many horror stories about the typhoon + many heartwarming stories of strength + generosity; + painted alongside a collection of the most active + high profile graffiti + street artists in the Philippines, including members of the CVTY Crew + PSP (Pilipinas street Plan):
My piece was created with a variety of media including charcoal, latex paint, ink + marker pen; the charcoal I brought over with me, the rest of the materials were kindly donated by Geloy Concepcion, Jood, Koo Koo + Rai Cruz. It was a fantastic event to be a part of, + it was super to witness the energy, enthusiasm, laughter + goodwill of the Filipino graffiti + street art community, while they created a range of super artworks for the upcoming auction.
The successful event raised $787,000 pesos on the day, with around $300,000 pesos coming from direct art sales, even prior to the street + graffiti artworks being auctioned.
See footage of the event here, along with a small cameo jetlagged appearance by me:
Thank you to Fully Booked, PSP, Geloy, Jood , Carrot Bombing, Rai + the Filipino Street Art Project, for informing me about the event + allowing me to take part. I look forward to following your work online, + seeing you all again in the future for more graffiti + street art adventures.
Rai Cruz is a university art + design lecturer, who is also a respected, high profile contemporary + street artist practising throughout the Philippines. I had been chatting with Rai before arriving in the Philippines, to learn more about the local street culture + organise some painting opportunities. I met Rai (along with most of Manila’s super street art community) the morning after I landed, at the ‘Art With Heart’ Typhoon Yolanda fundraising event (more about this in a later post).
Rai very generously arranged for us to paint a collab wall together in Las Pinas, a city in Manila, in the week that I arrived. I was super-keen to paint some street pieces with Rai + some of the local artists, + stoked to be visiting a different part of Manila.
The location was fantastic; a smooth wall on a neat house, at a large intersection with plenty of character. After a quick chat about images, we hit the wall:
After sketching up a design we began to paint, me with aerosol + Rai with latex paint:
Thank you Rai, your students + crew, for making my day with you superfun! Thank you for organising this wall in such a great place, + for taking time out from your busy work + family life to paint such a rad collab with me. I loved painting in the crazy sunshine + heat, loved meeting the local folk, + loved collaborating with you.
I look forward to street painting with Rai again on my return to the Philippines in future.
I recently visited the Philippines, + was fortunate to be able to paint a special mural on the wall of (+ with children from) the headquarters of Bahay Tuluyan (BT), a Non-Government Organisation which aims to prevent + respond to the abuse + exploitation of children in the Philippines. The headquarters is located in the heart of Malate, a super-busy shanty town in Manila.
Despite being home to many restaurants, bars + attractions, the Malate population includes many families living below the poverty line + on the streets. In order to support children in the community, BT offers an emergency + residential shelter for children in need of special protection; reintegration + after care; an independent living skills program; a drop-in centre; a classroom; alternative education; community organising; children’s rights education; participatory action research, + local/national/international advocacy.
BT Malate is constantly buzzing with many children, staff (comprising volunteers, managers, + young people in training who first came to BT in need of shelter, care or protection) + construction workers (the new headquarters are being built in stages, as donated funds arrive). The centre maintains an upbeat, cheery atmosphere, with everyone collaborating to accomplish daily tasks, + make BT (+ surrounding spaces) a fun, supportive place to be. I was excited to start painting, in a context completely different to that in which I had ever painted before…
I had anticipated that the wall would take 2 days to complete. Of course, this underestimated the time it would take me to source paints, commute + complete the work in a huge city such as Manila, in an area with many street children + folk, in a children’s shelter, in tropical weather. Over the course of 4 days, in thick smog, humidity + heat interspersed with torrential rain, amidst the constant fire of small BB guns (considered mandatory by most of the street children), continuous karaoke featuring 80s power ballads, + intense scrutiny from the local community, under the watch of a lovely armed guard (with great taste in music), four BT children + I completed the wall.
I am used to working with aerosol, laying out a range of cans on the floor at my feet + working with 4 or 5 at once. Here in the streets of Malate, that was not possible. I had chosen latex paints (so that the children could paint with me), hoping to mix everything from the primary colours in trays at the wall. However, the hands of curious onlookers + mischievous children ensured that I had to mix colours behind closed doors inside BT, navigate through the children in the shelter to reach the wall with a full paint tray, + paint with one colour at a time, holding the tray + brushes in my spare hand (paint or brushes placed on the ground were quickly put to use elsewhere). For each of the 20+ colours I used, the process had to be repeated. This completely different process, combined with waiting-time during downpours, waiting to be let back into the shelter to mix paints, + chasing little ‘helpers’ who ran off with my brushes (or dipped ammunition in my paint before firing) was time-consuming but hilarious.
It was the hardest painting I’ve completed to date, but also the most satisfying by far.
The young artists, wise beyond their years, were given complete control over the characters’ clothing. Two pairs worked on a character each. They worked hard to choose their colours + make patterns, + refused to stop painting when the weather closed in. The tough, determined, responsible young women created some fantastic clothes for the wall, + were an absolute joy to work with; I wish I’d had more time with them, to paint many more pieces around the neighbourhood.
I was lucky to be fed by BT’s restaurant (a training facility for children in BT care) while painting, enjoying vegetarian pizzas, muffins, brewed coffee + other treats. On the fourth day, exhausted from a cold (or my lungs adapting to Manila’s air), I added the finishing touches to the wall, + attempted to take some clear photos of the finished piece, in context, without the throngs of children in front of the images.
I tried to be discreet with photo-taking (mindful that my camera + phone were hot property to those desperate to make money), but no matter how subtle I was, as soon as I tried, scores of gorgeous, cheeky children would materialise in front of the lens! Posing with their friends + their BB guns, they made it into almost every shot I took. That evening I was recounting my photography attempts to my Filipino friend, exasperated that I couldn’t get a good photo of my work ‘in context’.
My friend reminded me that I had painted amongst scores of children + residents of the shanty-town all week; that they were, absolutely, my context! So here are some photos of my work, in context:
… + some rare ones, with nobody in the frame:
I had an absolutely unforgettable, fantastic week, + I would like to sincerely thank the managers, staff + children of Bahay Tuluyan headquarters, + the residents of Malate, for allowing me to be a part of their lives. I hope that the collaborative mural brings pride + joy to BT + Malate, + inspires the young artists to keep painting + creating in future.
For more information about Bahay Tuluyan, see http://www.bahaytuluyan.org/aboutus_history_2_5_1.html
Two of the images in my new range of limited edition prints have a special story behind them, which I want to share with you here:
CUSHION ME / SHELTER ME No.1 + No.2
On 25 April, during the First World War, Australian soldiers recaptured a small French village called Villers Bretonneux. The battle became a turning point in the War; it prevented the German army from advancing, + destroyed their last hopes of winning the War. Afterwards, Victorian schoolchildren + the Education Department funded the rebuilding of the devastated village school. For their bravery + generosity, the Villers Bretonneux townsfolk vowed to ‘Never Forget Australia’, + almost a century later, they continue to keep that promise. From the ashes of that short, bloody battle arose a unique, heartfelt international friendship. In 2009, after the devastating bushfires destroyed many Victorian communities, schoolchildren from the rebuilt Villers Bretonneux school raised funds to help rebuild one of the Victorian schools incinerated by the fires. They have never forgotten Australia.
I felt honoured to illustrate a children’s book about this special Franco-Australian friendship (the Promise, released by Scholastic Australia in April 2013), + to be invited to paint an aerosol street art mural reflecting the friendship, opposite the Villers Bretonneux Town Hall, in September 2013.
My mural, titled ‘Cushion me / Shelter me’ comprises two images. Both images symbolize the reciprocal friendship between Australia + France; both images are designed to be ambiguous in meaning – Who is supporting whom? Who is comforting whom? This complexity, for me, reflects the real nature of the true friendship between Australia (the kangaroos) + France (the humans). Neither is stronger, + neither is dominant; both have provided support, friendship + comfort, cushioning + sheltering the other when they have most needed it.
The watercolour paintings, which I have released as limited edition prints (Cushion me / Shelter me No. 1 + No. 2) in two different sizes + edition numbers, are based on the same draft images I used to paint the street art mural in Villers Bretonneux, France, in September 2013.
For details about the new prints, including their edition sizes, dimensions + prices, + to purchase either online or in store, see http://signedandnumbered.com.au/limited/kaff-eine?show=prints