Hungry Beast | The Tiger Mural

St. Kilda, Irwell St. VIC

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The City Of Port Phillip was kind enough to provide Conrad Bizjak and myself with the opportunity to paint this mural. I selected this wall for a few reasons; it's located in the heart of St. Kilda in the carpark on Irwell Street just off Acland Street. It's a flat, large space with no windows. The colour and texture of the brick surface was so nice I thought we could leave some of it showing as part of the mural. We were handed a few simple guidelines but were basically given Carte Blanche when coming up with the design.
The concept of the design grew naturally from humble beginnings.

I wanted to create a large shape that had power and movement.

I roughly sketched out a tidal wave made up of graffiti elements; chrome arrows, splashes and drips. Conrad thought to add a tiger jumping with the flow of the water, parts of the body and head repeated to denote movement. We decided that one clear tiger would have more impact visually. Especially if we gave it a dark edge to pop it off the chrome moon. The chrome shapes have been a recurring motif in many of my recent murals. Using shiny chrome and incorporating arrows and other elements from the graffiti world into my mural artworks is basically paying homage to the art-form that impassioned and shaped the trajectory of my life.

I don’t want to forget the culture that has taught me so much but I also no longer wish to stay moored to its conventions.

Graffiti seems to have many parameters. I hope to push through these barriers while still retaining a glimmer of my artistic origins and graffiti style. Once we had the composition mapped out we started to add more meaning to the image. 

We mused that perhaps the tiger could represent the modern media pouncing on a story keen to sink its teeth in.

Conrad replaced the tigers head with a camera (a motif that often appears in his canvas work). This created an interesting dynamic of old and new. What had been a natural scene of a tiger running through crashing waves, was now more sinister. An image that could have been from a Japanese woodcut but with a twist of technology - albeit out dated.

This retro camera highlighting the fact that television media companies are sprinting to keep up with reporting the “news” but are somewhat slipping into obscurity as people look elsewhere to stay informed.

We started painting early June 14th. Conrad is good to paint with; a hard worker who understands what needs to be done and gets to it. We both worked simultaneously on sections of the wall stopping occasionally to discuss the progress. Thanks to the generosity of The City of Port Philip we had access to a scissor lift, which made the painting process far easier than it would have been without.

All up, the mural took the two of us three days to paint.

It wasn’t until the final evening that we came up with the painting’s protagonist. We were spraying a beam from the front of the video camera/head. As we stood back to admire our handiwork Conrad thought it looked like a beam of light. I thought it might be nice to aim this spotlight at something. A small fishing boat caught in a tumultuous tide. The irony that the beam of light normally emanating from a light house that would lead a sailor to safety, in this instance shone from the hungry features of a giant beast wanting nothing more than to feast on the story. Whipping its viewers into frenzy about a tiny boat, adrift in a sea of ignorance. The passengers aboard this meagre vessel are not shown, as unlike the media. we will leave it to the viewer’s discretion to decide what the story is.