© Darren Tynan 2014.
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Words and photography by Darren TYNAN
In the words of Andrew Frazer, a contributing artist and driving force behind Bunbury’s Re.Discover project, art can translate and express ideas and yearnings where the ‘poverty of human language’ falls short.
Along with Mr Frazer, Bunbury welcomed five Western Australian artists who created murals around the CBD from 15-18 January 2014. Jodee Knowles, Anya Brock, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Stormie Mills and Tim Howe painted their poetic visions throughout the streets.
Knowles, a practicing artist for nine years, works with Klimt-like patterns that accent the vivid, glazed eyes of her subjects – there’s something beautiful but discomforting about her work. Enter My Void, currently on show at Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, depicts a contorted human body morphing into an animal-like contraption; the use of pattern in this work is particularly symbolic for Knowles.
Observe her mural long enough, and the distance between you and the artwork dissolves – the faces Ms Knowles paints become haunting portraits of self-recognition.
Ms Knowles states that she applies a great deal of research to her creative process, and that her themes are based around the human condition; she is involved in ‘thematically dealing with the feeling of being torn between addiction and satisfaction, between excess and boredom’. She explores how the dichotomies of joy and sadness manifest as beauty in her subjects – her goal is to ‘try to get some of that essence into the face’. It’s relatable, and completely palpable, precisely because it’s so human.
‘We all know sadness, we all know joy’, she said.
Discovering her love for painting while working in the fashion industry in London, Anya Brock has surely created one of the most vibrant and colourful walls in Bunbury.
Subtly muted primary colours and geometric shapes are striking against bold black lines. Ms Brock doesn’t become too excessive or garish with her use of colour; her tones are thoughtfully chosen and complimentary while also being simply inviting. There’s a somewhat ‘care free’ vibe to her mural that also adds to its fun appeal.
Ms Brock explained that she uses courage to paint expressively, and that she doesn’t like to plan murals because it takes the fun out of it. She elaborated that she is careful not to overthink or become too clinical with her creative process.
‘It’s about a multi stage process, being quite messy and rough and painting with a lot of courage’, she said.
Ms Brock mentioned that she was very pleased to be a part of the Re.Discover project, and that her Bunbury mural is the work that she is happiest with from her murals so far.
Complimenting Anya’s colourful palette, local tattoo artist Tim Howe painted an equally vibrant mural that was chosen to compliment the Good Earth Surf Shop that the wall is next to. Growing up surfing, Mr Howe explained that his ‘main interpretation was something colourful and natural’. Howe’s colours literally jump out of the wall; a swirling blue mass of hair is informed by tribal-like line work, which draws the eye down to the excellent use of reflections and shadows in the subject’s face.
Mr Howe’s work, which is currently on display at BRAG, reflects his diversity as a truly talented tattooist and artist–his memento mori sculptures and paintings offer a different approach to his art that explores the macabre side of nature.
‘I don’t really limit myself to anything’.
Mr Howe said that that public reception has been favourable and the contributing artists have been a pleasure to work with throughout the project.
‘It’s probably the coolest thing I’ve been a part of’, he said.