Sunday 27 March 2016

The 2nd Benalla Wall to Wall Street Art Festival - 2016

The 2nd Benalla Wall to Wall Street Art Festival was a huge success last week-end with walls being transformed by internationally renowned artists. Many of these artists travel the world painting, and as a result, Benalla has been the recipient of some world class art works. 

One of last years walls was named the 8th best in the world in the International Top Murals of Our Time competition - a stunning photo-portraiture style work of a Burmese girl, painted by Adnate. See this wall in my next post which will look at last year's festival walls, photos one year on.

The streets have been alive with excitement since last week-end as crowds travel from afar to see the street art. Being able to watch the artists at work, and to talk to them, was a huge draw-card. 

Benalla has created another great tourist attraction and yet another reason why travellers should come off the freeway and check out Benalla.

The wall that is causing the most excitement is this huge work by Smug. It is nearly impossible to believe that this can be done with aerosol spray cans.

Lucy Lucy is a French artist now living in Melbourne. She works with shapes, patterns, curves and form, usually with women.

Dvate is a Melbourne artist who has travelled the world extensively painting commissioned work and murals. This is his cattle dog.

Following his Ned Kelly theme from last year, Sirum's wall depicts Ned with his helmet and also the green sash he was given when he was eleven years old, for saving a boy from drowning. The sash is part of the Kelly collection in the Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum.

23rd Key is a stencil artist who won the world stencil art prize in 2014. Her melting ice-cream shows her attention to detail in stencil cutting.

Maid is a multi skilled street artist who works in bold colours and displays many graffiti characteristics.

Goodie is a multi-disciplinary artist who has turned this narrow lane way into a focal point.

French born Choq is one of my favourites. I love this bright real street art feel wall.

This, apparently, is Loretta Lizzio's first wall art project. It was quite challenging for her as it all had to be done from a scissor lift.

This wall by Buttons is eye catching, colourful and fun  - I really like it.

Kaff-eine has painted around Australia, Europe and the U.S. Depicted on this wall are some of her darker sensual human animal creatures, one of her style preferences.

Adnate started as a graffiti artist and has become one of the world's foremost large portrait artists. As mentioned above, his 2015 wall in Benalla was named 8th best in the world and prior to that he became the first street artist to be commissioned by an art gallery. Having painted a Wall in the Benalla gallery, the success of which led to that commission. A copy now hangs on the outside of the Benalla Art Gallery as well. See my next post on the 2015 Wall to Wall Festival. His attention to detail makes Adnate is another of my favourites. 

Phibs and George Rose collaborated on this work which joins his collection of signature animals with her desire to make everything prettier.

Guido Van Helten has recently made headlines with his painting of the Brim wheat silos. Last year in Benalla his portrait of Ned Kelly's nephew was one of the three huge portraits that caught the imagination of the crowd. 
In Wall to Wall 2016 he has painted three portraits on an old water tank in the Winton Wetlands, just out of Benalla. These portraits are of three local fire fighters, this work being a tribute to all firefighters in the area.

A competition allowed two locals to do their first wall art projects.
Gemma Keating won the Benalla Youth Mural Art Prize and painted this work, an expression of her two loves; art and music.

Tim Bowtell won the Benalla Mural Art Prize and his depiction of Gandhi has been greatly admired.

Finally there was a 'paint by numbers' wall where local young people could contribute. This clever community wall was pulled together by Kit Bennett.

The crowds are loving the art and Benalla is loving the crowds. Well done Juddy Roller and the Benalla Street Art Committee.

The 1st Benalla Wall to Wall Street Art Festival - 2015

You have to admire a small group who come up with a new idea to benefit the community and make it big. The Benalla Wall to Wall Street Art Festival is one great success story.

Last year fourteen graffiti and street artists were invited to paint on some of the larger blank walls around town. The result was a crowd pleasing and tourist attracting outdoor gallery to compliment the already excellent Benalla Regional Art Gallery.

This collection of photos shows how last years Wall to Wall art works have settled into their new environment.

Artist: Dvate  - The sugar glider was a crowd pleaser in 2015, and still is.

Artist: Shawn Lu

Artist: Rone - the girl from the bakery.

Artist: Adnate - a Burmese girl, judged the 8th best street art mural in the                                world.

Artist: Guido Van Helten - Ned Kelly's nephew.

Artist: Slicer

Artist: Askew

Artists: Choq and Putos

Artist: Ears

Artist: Askew

Artist: Sirum - Ned Kelly wrote that every-one looked at him like he was a black snake.

Artist: 23rd Key

Artist: Deams - at the Skate Park.

Last of all, the copy of Adnate's mural as painted on the wall inside the gallery.

Thursday 17 March 2016

Gli Italiani

Back in about 1995 I read the 1964 classic work by Luigi Barzini called 'The Italians'. Luigi Barzini jnr. was a journalist, writer and politician. In this work Barzini  'delves deeply into the Italian national character' and produces a most fascinating book for any-one with a passion for all things Italian. Religion, family, history, honour, art and life are covered. Virtues and vices are given equal credence. He isn't afraid to say it as it is!

Since then I have read almost anything I can get my hands on regarding Italy. My book shelves are full, the public library has been a good source, and now the Kindle has a collection. Any book with any degree of sociological research always defers to Barzini. I am pleased that his was one of the first books I read on the deeper issues of Italian life and the Italian people.

Last year at CIS I saw Dianne Hales 2009 release entitled 'La Bella Lingua - My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language'.  To make the point stated earlier, in praise of La Bella Lingua in the frontispiece, one writer says: 'The best book on Italy since Barzini's classic The Italians'.

Hales concentrates on the language, the source of words and the changes over the ages, but to do this she has studied the Italian culture through its history.
She gives detailed accounts of politics, art, writing, music, film, food, family and the Italian persona ... all divulging the development of the Italian language.

In this excellent book we see how her own language skills have developed and the years she has put into trying to master this fascinating and tantalizing language.

To finish: SMS or text messaging is a new form of communication and therefore requires a word which cannot be found in ancient Italian languages. 
Messaggiata is the word for the sending of a text message, but can you read this message?

dv 6?    or    Dm c sent

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Sorrentino and Fellini

With the temperature over 35 degrees C. every day for weeks, we were searching for a little solace. Other than spending a long time in the supermarket, the movie theatre was the option.

'Youth', starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, was the mid afternoon showing so we settled in for a cool couple of hours. What a pleasant surprise to see one of our favourite directors named. Paolo Sorrentino, director and screen play writer, has made a movie with gorgeous filming and gentle relationships.

Caine, a retired composer and conductor and Kietel, a last ditch screen play writer are spending time at a Swiss spa. There they reminisce and come to see that some good things can come in the last years of one's life.

This meditation on art and aging was met with very mixed reviews at Cannes - from boo to bravo! We really enjoyed it as the acting was very good and the Sorrentino effect pleases us.

It was a pleasant coincidence because only the week before we had watched 'La Dolce Vita', the quintessential 1960 Italian movie best known for Anita Ekberg's romp in the Trevi Fountain. Starring Marcello Mastroianni and directed by Federico Fellini, this story of the hedonistic life in Rome was also met with mixed reactions when it was released.

The term 'paparazzi' (journalists) and also 'la dolce vita' (the good life) sprung to world recognition from this movie. Watching this movie we could see what we had not appreciated before, the solid link between Fellini's movie and our very most favourite movie 'La Grande Bellezza' - The Great Beauty.

Paolo Sorrentino won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2013 for 'La Grande Bellezza', a movie we own and have watched several times. And that is what you must do!  Described as a 'compelling tragicomedy of Italy's leisure classes'.... ' a sensual overload of richness, strangeness and sadness'.

Jed, the hero is played by Toni Servillo with great charm and conviction. As a writer he had one successful novel in his 20's and now at age 65 he has not repeated that success. He knows all the right people so his life is one giant party but does that lead to happiness?

This movie is enthralling, beautifully filmed and portrays Rome in all its magnificence. It may be seen as a modern take on 'La Dolce Vita' but it is more, and for me it is the most wondrous movie I have seen. I will watch it many more times, I am sure.