INTERVIEW: MEL STRINGER

We caught up with local art angel, Mel Stringer to chat girly facts and the inspiration behind her artwork for upcoming fem first exhibition, Praise You (launching Thursday August 22 at Lightspace, Fortitude Valley). Anyone familiar with Brisbane art who know that Mel Stringer is an absolute veteran. As a women who inspires many with her creations and encourages pride and diversity across all body shapes and sizes, Mel Stringer is an artist we’re absolutely head over heels for.

WHO IS MEL STRINGER? I'm a 32 year old Australian artist based in Missouri.

YOU'VE SEEN INCREDIBLE SUCCESS IN THE LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ART AND DESIGN SCENES FOR SUCH A LONG TIME! HOW DID YOUR CAREER KICK OFF? I have been creative from an early age, having a cartoonist father helped with that. After I finished high school I worked for a year then convinced my parents to let me move to Brisbane to study art. They let me! I started making and distributing zines like Girlie Pains and involving myself in group shows. Livejournal and Deviantart were a great way to meet other likeminded artists, some of whom I've finally met since moving to the US!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE IN ONE SENTENCE? Equal parts sweet and sour, cute and tough curvy girls.

TELL US ABOUT THE ARTWORK YOU CREATED FOR PRIASE YOU. It was inspired from a recent trip to Joshua Tree and other desert-like places in the USA. It's a cute witch hanging out with an armadillo as the sun goes down.

WHAT DOES THIS ARTWORK AND THE CONTEXT OF THE EXHIBITION MEAN TO YOU? I wanted to create something peaceful with a little edge and a little bit of cute while showing off some curves. Also, I spent a lot of time painting it. It went through many transformations. It finally revealed itself to me and I had to stop putting down paint and know it was finished.

YOUR WORK REPRESENTS WHAT WE SEE AS AN ULTIMATE CREATIVE EXPRESSION OF BODY POSITIVITY, SHOWING THE BEAUTY OF PEOPLE ALL SHAPES AND SIZES AS WELL AS THE QUIRKS OF THEIR PERSONALITY THROUGH YOUR CUSTOMISED CHARACTERS! HOW DOES IT FEEL TO CREATE CHARACTERS, AND BE SUCH A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL FOR THE INDUSTRY AND WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE THIS WAY? First and foremost I create for myself and am inspired by my own body and other body types similar to mine. To know I inspire or encourage people who may look similar is really encouraging. I wanted to create art that I wanted to see in magazine pages and hanging on walls.

IF YOU COULD LEAVE ONE LASTING MARK ON THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE, AND WHY? Just be kind to people.

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INTERVIEW: MOSESSA (PRAISE YOU)

With Brisbane’s annual exhibition, Praise You just around the corner, our eyeballs are getting excited for the visions of this year’s all female showcase, featuring 40 artworks from renowned women from across the globe to raise awareness and funding for body positivity and female empowerment.

Curated by one of our very own, Lusid Art and presented by our friends at UNE PIECE, this exhibition was created to raise awareness for body positivity and female empowerment. It’s a body of work with the power to make a difference.

We caught up with Praise You feature artist, MOSESSA (who you may recognise from our recent Brisbane Outdoor galleries project!) to chat about her creation for the show. See below her INCREDIBLE original artwork ‘Ode to Femme’ which will be available for purchase at the exhibition launch of Thursday 22nd August.

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MOSESSA, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE STYLE IN ONE SENTENCE?
Feminine and surrealist-inspired portraits of women and animals featuring floral imagery

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE ARTWORK YOU CREATED FOR PRAISE YOU? This piece is very personal and the initial idea came to me when I was going through a transitional phase in my life. I was in a position where I had to rely heavily on the people around me, and needed a lot of support. It’s titled ‘Ode to Femme’ and is dedicated to my sister, mother, and girlfriends. It’s a tribute piece to all the loving women who’ve supported me. Upon completing the piece I also feel now that it is about self-love, patience and that everything will be ok in the end. I feel that Praise You is all about women supporting women which is why I wanted to especially submit this piece for this years show.

WHAT’S THE BEST AND WORST THING ABOUT BEING A WOMEN IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY? I am lucky that I have not experienced much negativity being a female creative. One of the best things I feel is that it is easier to reach out and connect with female artists. It is like we share the same spirit and are working towards the same thing so we are naturally drawn to each other.

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOUR PIECES? I grew up in the Gold Coast hinterland and was surrounded by nature. I paint a lot of floral work as I feel it takes me back to that time. My work is inspired by a mixture of nature, folklore, surrealism and art deco. I also have an interest in art therapy, so I aim to create soft, soothing imagery in my work.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINES FOR MOSESSA? I have something exciting coming up with the Brisbane City Council, Griffith University and The Culprit Club! It’s an outdoor gallery that will be showcasing throughout the city. I am also planning to move to a new studio next year that is 10x as big as the workspace I have now, which means I will be painting bigger works.

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Since 2017, Praise You has raised over $13,000 for The Butterfly Foundation with donations going towards much needed resources, along with immeasurable awareness for the work and message of Butterfly.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PRAISE YOU EXHIBITION VIST WWW.PRAISEYOU.CO

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MOSESSA VIST WWW.MOSESSA.COM.AU

Muchos - Stacked: Launch Recap

Ey yo! Here's few pics from the 'Stacked' launch party shot by very talented human, Markus Ravik. You can check out the full photo set from the show on our Facebook.  If you missed out and were wanting to snap up one of this happy-fun-time artworks, there are a very small amount of MUCHOS originals still available in store and online store so suss that before they're gone!

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NEW IN STORE: Jordan Debney Giclee Prints

We're very excited to have a number of limited edition prints and zines by Jordan Debney now available in store and online! We have a few sneaky side projects coming up with super soon with this legend, so keep an eye out on socials for JD updates comin' at ya!

In the mean time - peep your eyes on his limited edition zine - MESMER ( there's only two left in existence & we've got them) PLUS these gorgeous Giclee prints. In the art world “Giclee” (or zhee-clay, if ya fancy) is a fine art printing method of the highest quality standard using a combination of specialty software and hardware. It’s direct translation means, 'the thing that got sprayed' - referring to the inks application process to the paper.  We can't rave enough about the quality of these bad boys - super excited!

Alphabet Soup Exhibition - Recap

For anyone who missed out on the launch of our Alphabet Soup Exhibition on Friday, check out this photo recap - shot by angel, Aimee Ravik.

We still have a number of artworks available in out online store,www.theculpritclub.com/onlinestore click the links below to peep them up close.

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NO SUCH LUCK: FRIDAY 13th

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for NO SUCH LUCK last night, what a bloody turn out! To anyone who missed it, here's a little flick through some of the piece we had on display from:

ART BY DALE, MUCHOS, SINDY SINN, MIKE WATT, SHIDA, IROK, DIZZY LITTLE DOTTY, MAD CROOK, MAID, MICKY HORA, MASONRIE, TORI-JAYE MORDEY, CRISIS, ZOO KEEPER, LUSID ART, HARLEY AND HANDEN, INK BOY, LACEY, JOEL MCDONALD, BILLIE SCHNEIDER, SHVMVN, ADAM AVERY, TUCKS ONE, JOE O'TOOLE,, ERIC BRUCKNER, MATTE & LUCKS.

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INTERVIEW: MIKE WATT - NO SUCH LUCK

With impending misfortune looming in the next month's trajectory, we're getting very excited to revel in all that is dark and dreary with an absolute banger of a group show, No Such Luck launching on Friday 13th of October.

FULL LINE UP: ART BY DALE, MUCHOS, SINDY SINN, MIKE WATT, SHIDA, IROK, DIZZY LITTLE DOTTY, MAD CROOK, MAID, MICKY HORA, MASONRIE, TORI-JAYE MORDEY, CRISIS, ZOO KEEPER, LUSID ART, HARLEY AND HANDEN, INK BOY, LACEY, MARK RICHARDSON, JOEL MCDONALD, BILLIE SCHNEIDER, QUINCY MIKE, SHVMVN, ADAM AVERY, TUCKS ONE, JOE O'TOOLE, ERIC BRUCKNER, MATTE & LUCKS.

We catch up with one of the feature artist's from the show, and a new comer to the gallery walls - Sydney based illustrator / creepy character creator, Mike Watt. 

CC: Tell us about the piece you’re creating for No Such Luck - what’s the story behind it?

MW: I was a massive horror movie nerd when I was younger and Jason from Friday the 13th was my favourite character. When I got the brief all I could think of was Jason, I think he's probably already a sign of bad luck but I covered him with bits of broken mirror just to be sure.

CC: What materials did you use to create it? 

MW: Mostly acrylic on water colour paper, there's a tiny bit of whiteout and biro in there too. 

CC: Are you superstitious, if so - what of? 

MW: I'm not that superstitious, but at the same time I'm really paranoid, so I avoid opening umbrellas inside and every thing I can just in case. 

CC: What should you be afraid of on Friday 13th? 

MW: Jason.

CC: What’s the most unlucky thing that’s ever happened to you?

MW: I think it's really unlucky to drop food. It sucks on so many levels, you loose your meal and then you have to clean up. It's the worst.

 

Check out the facebook event for more artist interviews, artwork previews and spooky stories in the lead up to Friday 13th!!

INTERVIEW: MAID & RETRO - SOMNAMBULISTS

"Somnambulists is a six part film series that follows the actions of MAID and RETRO on their recent Italian adventure. The series takes a fresh approach to filming, editing and track selection which results in high-end filming, drone footage, slow cuts, and bleeding edge bass music taking you on a journey so intimate you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the tracks eating spaghetti bolognese."

With the 3rd edition of Somnambulists, 'Greetings from Genoa ' fresh on our screens, we catch up with the infamous Aussie duo, MAID and RETRO to talk through the Somnambulists series, and their shared 'sleepwalker' experiences across Italy.

CC:  Tell us about how did the Somnambulists concept come about?

RETRO: I guess always watching graffiti movies with gangsta rap on real fast pace never really gave me the feeling that I was there, as I've experienced it first hand. So I tried looking for songs and found it was the slow pace video editing that made me feel like I was there in the moment.

MAID: Retro was the ideas man behind it all. I think he did an awesome job giving it the right feel. Spots can be very stressful, but painting is a very quiet activity. We returned from the US and were a bit sad we couldn't create something to share of our travels and painting so next trip we locked in Tom Rolfe to come and shoot it all.

CC: You’ve gone into the definition of the word in the video descriptions (Noun: A condition that is characterised by walking while asleep or in a hypnotic trance.) Is this how painting feels to you?

RETRO: Feeling calm in these experiences is important most of the time....

MAID: Mostly, yeah. Painting can be another world. I feel completely free to roam around and do what I feel. It’s a nice peaceful trance.

CC: What was your favourite model and why?

RETRO: for me, Rome... we met with great people. We painted a model in a spot that I've tried several times over the years, so to get that done felt really good!

MAID: The Northern line - model and colour!

CC: What was your favourite destination and why?

RETRO: Napoli for the Pizza and metro.

MAID: It’s a hard one. I loved travelling through all the cities and seeing all different ways of life and architecture. Although, Napoli did have beach of cats and Mt. Vesuvius!!

CC: How did it compare to painting at home?

RETRO: At home I’m chill.. I work plenty to feed my addiction of travelling and painted a few times every year. I still love painting here, but there seems to always be problems and too many politics that come with it...

MAID: Yes, I agree. I wish we painted more at home, but at the moment we are just focusing on working at home.

CC: Do you always paint as a pair?

RETRO: Umm yeah. For the last couple of years it has been a consistent doing. It works well because we are both pretty relaxed in these moments. We are both motivated to travel and consistently try paint while away.

MAID: Mostly. Even if one of us has planned to paint, the other will come for the drive but then most likely do something too.

CC: If we were to trawl through your travel bags, what would we find?

RETRO: SD cards, cameras, a few t-shirts and shorts.

MAID: Lots of random shit. Good jeans, sneakers and goretex. Drawing supplies, a crystal, shells, a good book and oils.

CC: Can you tell us something that happened along that way that we won’t see in the clips? 

RETRO: A whole lot of driving was done over that 3 weeks... not a whole lot of relaxing though.

MAID: Some close calls and weird conversations with police. Then there was all the rad people who made me coffee, and Tom’s Rolfe sleep deprivation.

CC: What were the major highlights?

RETRO: Pizza, gelato and overall just doing galves.

MAID: A line, B line, Margaritas in Napoli. 

CC: What’s next for MAID and RETRO?

RETRO: Well the plan is hopefully to do another trip by the end of the year, but it's hard to leave an Australian summer for an international winter....

MAID: More travel and more painting. And hopefully release some artwork pieces together!

Keep an eye on @liquidpastels and @blogtheif instagram accounts for updates, and catch the next episode coming soon via the @ironlak youtube channel. 

Joe O'Toole - Nervous Wreck Launching at The Culprit Club

The Culprit Club is proud to announce, NERVOUS WRECK - a debut solo exhibition by JOE O’TOOLE.

RSVP HERE: https://www.facebook.com/events/343415562758493

Working with both enamel and acrylic paint to produce his traditional sign writing/ hand lettering style, the focus of Joe’s work to date is the mechanics of creating letters by hand, both on a small and large scale.

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NERVOUS WRECK will showcase a series of Joe’s hand painted porcelain plates, expressing a collection of honest, brave and touchingly bold statements to form a self-portrait of his personal anxiety. 

“My grandmother loved kitsch decorations. The decorations which were most fascinating to her were the plates. Not only the bizarre nature of the plates, but the sheer quantity she owned made me realise their significance to her. They were symbolic of the manifestation of an overcompensation of having something ‘nice’, to distract herself from being dull.”

“The painted truisms are a personal reflection of my patterns of anxiety. The four stages are perceived conflict, victimhood, pity and resolution -each stage being characterised by the painted letters.”

“The works I have created are a reflection of my personal realisation that I have an irrational anxiety of abandonment, and a habit of making the same mistakes over and over again. Always recognising the patterns of conflict, but failing to break them. The decorative plates are representative of my unreasonable perceived fragility of human connections.”

LAUNCHING: Friday, August 4, 6PM

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INTERVIEW / COURTNEY BRIMS / BUSH FABLES

The Culprit Club is proud to announce, BUSH FABLES – a solo exhibition of new works by Brisbane-based artist and illustrator, Courtney Brims launching Friday 09 June, 6pm in Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley. 

Inspired by the beauty of the Australian landscape, Courtney Brim's incredible new series of work, promotes appreciation and awareness of our unique biodiversity, while exploring ideas of destruction, displacement, rebirth, and the delicate connectedness of nature.

We catch up with the lovely lady herself to talk through the concepts and ideas of the show, and well as her inspirations and experiences as an artist. 

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How would you describe your style in one sentence?

CB: Loaded with tiny details and always a touch of macabre.

What’s the premise behind the Bush Fables show?

CB: The whole idea behind this collection of work was to bring attention to our beautiful endangered wildlife and plant species.

How do Australian fairytales and Picnic at Hanging Rock come together in contrast in your work?

CB: I wanted to mesh together the sweetness of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie with the surrealism of The Magic Pudding and the eeriness of Picnic at Hanging Rock. I feel like the Australian bush has all three of those qualities.

It's the idea of nature being this beautiful, cruel beast that's mysterious and dangerous yet vulnerable and fragile. There's this line from The Witches of Eastwick that says 'nature absorbs all', which kind of sums up my this collection perfectly.

With Picnic at Hanging Rock, I guess, in a slightly disturbing way, I've always liked the idea of these three ethereal girls walking off into the bush and vanishing, like the wilderness just gobbled them up.

In my narratives I'm not necessarily representing humans as the baddie. We're definitely not blameless for the state these species find themselves in and a lot of my pieces touch on the issues of feral predators and land clearing, but I wanted to focus the attention on how wonderful and unique our species are, rather than focusing on the blame.

Whether the bone fragments are humans that have perished because of how they treated the earth, or whether like Miranda and co, they have been absorbed into the bush, I like to keep it fairly open for interpretation.

The vibe of the show really remind us of Fern Gully! It’s like you’re whispering Magi’s words of wisdom! What do you want audiences to take away from seeing the show?

CB: To go home and watch Fern Gully!! Not to take what we have for granted, be a responsible pet owner and familiarise yourself with the awesome work of conservation groups like Bush Heritage, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Arid Recovery.

How much time do you spend creating each piece?

CB: Anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

What materials do you use to create them?

CB: I use of combo of Polychromos and Prismacolour pencils on paper.

What's you favourite thing about Australia’s native species and why?

CB: The diversity! Mountains, deserts, beaches, woodlands, reefs, rainforests. It gives us the most amazing biodiversity.

If we were to rummage through your backpack, what would we find?

CB: Crackers. I rarely leave the house without snacks.

What would you be lost without in the world?

CB: I guess it would be really inconvenient if I lost my right hand.

If you could be any native creature / critter, what would you be and why?

CB: A quokka! They seem so damn happy with life!

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PROCREATIV X CULPRIT CLUB IN STORE MURAL

This week our friend ProCreativ gave the gallery wall some flavour! Completed entirely with brush and acrylics, it's safe to say he went well past the extra mile on this one. Pop into Winn Lane and check it out before out next show in June!

Check back to our last interview with the legend here.

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For mural enquiries for your business, contact Steve at http://www.procreativ.com.au/

Having spent many years travelling, ProCreativ cut his teeth early in the streets of Brisbane. Now working from his studio at Jugglers Art Space in Fortitude Valley, he spends the bulk of his time working on murals and large-scale projects in the area. With his hunger for new challenges, proficiency in aerosol, brush and digital mediums and 20+ years of experience, ProCreativ splashes dedication and talent through each piece he creates. His style is as commendable as his kind, creative soul.