By 2050, the global community could see an added 2.5 billion people entering already densely-built environments. In this mess of concrete, steel and glass, it can sometimes be true that these environments could be seen as bereft of true life force and an imagination, becoming simply lonely wind tunnels with disconnected communities extended up into the sky. In recent years, and with pride here in Melbourne, like a radical dandelion sprouting from a crack in this black of the asphalt, street artists have turned these once black streets into places of political protest, social commentary and complete whim. Drasko Boljevic is an urban Melbourne artist whose name is hot on the lips of many. Infamously causing controversy not so long ago,, one of his works was removed from an inner city location.
Coming soon to Off The Kerb is Bolfevic’s latest exhibition. He spoke with The Melbourne Critique about impermanency, future desire, and how his approach and appeal transcend artistic genre.
Introduce us to your work. Can you tell us what was inspiration and what drew you toward street art?
I started working with 3D anamorphic projections a few years back when I was undertaking my Masters at VCA. I felt the move to working on the floor freed me from gallery walls and it was a great medium to use on the street. Being a trained sculptor, this approach was liberating in the sense that I could keep the illusion of objects in their three-dimensionality. It was like theatre on a tight budget; it pushes your lateral thinking!
Talk to us about what the impermanency of street art and what this means to you.
These ephemeral or short-lived works suited me perfectly. As I started working with paper cut-outs, which would only last a day or two, people would peel them off or they would quickly be worn out by the elements. To extend the life of the work a bit longer, I started making stencils from these original cut outs, and I moved to liquid chalk, which is also meant to disappear. It was like playing with the seasons.
You have an exhibition coming up at Off The Kerb Gallery. What was the inspiration behind this exhibition? Are there any themes or concepts you touch upon?
I was introduced to the “Legion Of Ninjas- kidding, we make art” group by photographer Lorraine Ellis, and I started going out with them to the streets and collaborating in monthly outings in the allies of Melbourne. Here, I met the other three Ninjas who will be at Off The Kerb Gallery this Friday. I will be showing HARD BOILED WONDERLAND & THE END OF THE WORLD with Akemi Ito. I took on the challenge to translate street art for a gallery space, and I reapplied the concept of cut outs I started with. My work tends to include a commentary on current issues, without leaving out a sense of play and humour.
Could you imagine a world without art, and as we move forward to increasingly threatening times, what role do you feel that art – in particular street art – can play in pushing positive messages?
I can certainly not imagine a world without art. I have spent my whole life doing what an artist does: observing, participating, and creating. Street art has a particular potential to bring about positive messages. As it is not dictated by academia or curatorial decisions, everyone is invited to create. I pursue having my own style while using the outdoors exposure opportunities to engage with the community and their sincere responses.