Cam Scalewas painting works for his upcoming show - State of Mind. An exhibition that's an important thread in the fabric of Melbourne's street art culture. The works are portraits of people who play pivotal roles within the scene. Cam has captured the essence and energy of notorious graffiti bombers, famous street artists, tattoo artists, graffiti artists, street art collectors, photographers and graffiti cleaners.This unique take on the scene (turning the lens toward the creators) does not only enthral because of its originality and level of skill, it also has elements of difference in style within each piece. Cam asked each of the artists portrayed to add their own personal touch to their likeness. Many artists including; Anthony Lister, Mayo, Nost and myself have contributed to Cam’s pieces.
Most of the artists’ faces are partially obscured, their art almost acting as a barrier between the viewer and the artists’ true identity. This clever technique highlights the fact that the artists are known for their handiwork and more often than not, their true identity’s remain unknown.
Cam asked me if we could collaborate on a piece for his show. He explained the concept to me and I was more than happy to be involved. We have been painting murals together for years, and have shared art spaces at Blender and Juddy Roller. I no longer have a space there, so I dropped in and he took some photos so he could get painting. He always begins by layering up the background with texture and drips then goes to work on the face. When he'd completed the portrait, he masked off the face and areas he didn’t want me to get paint on then delivered the painting to my place. I had seen a picture of the piece before he masked it all off and it was impressive. I wanted to do it justice so I put in some hours. I think I spent five nights in a row painting in my favourite blue and red on black.
I didn’t want to depict anything, just abstract, surrealist, biomechanical landscapes.
I figured the portrait was ultra-realistic, so I would juxtapose the smooth subtle skin tones against the strange imagined shapes. I thought I'd finished, but staring at the painting I decided that it needed more. As it's a portrait, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a few elements that represent parts of my psyche.
I did these in grey scale to separate them from the abstract forms, as though the strange twisted red and blue shapes were my brain and these were ideas. Elements of graffiti, the city, CCTV surveillance, social media gone crazy, drugs and alcohol being poured out (I had remained five months sober at this point) just a few things that mould the young mind. The exhibition was a success, many people came and Cam sold quite a few paintings. I was in hospital at the time of the opening but Dean Sunshine drove down and helped me make a getaway to check out the paintings before returning to the hospital bed to recover.