This past week we launched the Australian section of Bomb It 2. I was especially excited to go to Australia to meet graffiti and street artists because I had been a fan for years and it was economics that prevented us from including the country in the first Bomb It. I was also excited because it meant that Bomb It had now covered our sixth continent of global graffiti and street art (next stop Antarctica!)
First stop was the remote city of Perth (making it about a 22 hour plane flight from Los Angeles). I had the pleasure of meeting Stormie Mills whose work is some of the most incredible I have seen in 5 years of filmming – but he is also one of the nicest people I have met on my travels (and I have had the great fortune of meeting a ton of wonderful people.) Stormie is very eloquent about his work (why he works primarily in black, white, gray and silver) as well as the city of Perth.
Next stop was Melbourne – big shout out to Andy Mac from Untilnever who hooked me up with Phibs from Everfresh. I shot Phibs in the rain – on my last day – the last piece for Bomb It 2. Everfresh is a seminal, prolific and wonderfully stylish crew – check out their new book. I also had a chance to interview crew members Reka which will be a future piece and film a piece by Makatron (which made it into the Phibs piece). I love how Phibs incorporates so many influences into his work – which as he says reflects himself “being somewhat of a mutt.”
Two One is a Japanese expat working in Melbourne – I was able to catch him grinding a piece of wood into the shape of an elephant as well as painting a few other pieces. In the episode he speaks to why his subjects are mostly animals – animals that have been given power by humans – interesting how his Japanese tradition influences his street work – which was really given birth in Melbourne.
Last but not least is Ash Keating (and big thanks to Phibs for introducing me to Ash and Two One). This is one of the longest pieces in Bomb It 2 – partly due to the wide ranging nature of the interview that I was able to do – covering a good portion of his career, but also because Ash opened up his archive to us – so that you can see never before seen footage of him in action, spraying with punctured cans and fire extinguishers, throwing and dumping paint on surfaces, as well as repurposing vinyl sign waste into art performances. Ash Keating is also one of the most eloquent people I interviewed on the relationship of public unsanctioned art to the question of who controls public space. Further how this public work can actually create a sense of community where it takes place.
It was a pretty crazy trip – due to family and work obligations I was only able to go to Australia for 11 days. I spent 8 days teaching four Think Outside the Box Office workshops in four cities: Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. This left 3 days not teaching – I spent 2 days shooting all of the pieces and one day sick. I hope to return to Australia to be able to see a bit of the country and meet more filmmakers and artists.
Some acknowledgements: Thank you to Kathleen Drum and Mike Cowap and everyone from Screen Australia, Jack Sargeant and the Perth Revelation Film Festival, Defrim Isai from the South Australian Film Corporation for making the trip possible. Thanks to Pedro T Pinto for the fabulous camera work – a rare pleasure to work with a DP. Andy Mac and Phibs for the introductions. All of the artists for their generosity. I was also able to film Vexta and Andy Mac who will be the subjects of future pieces.