Fred Negro is St Kilda’s undisputed king of rock’n’roll. Having enjoyed a career in the music and visual art world for close to 40 years, Negro is a living legend in his own right. More than any other musician, he has helped put St Kilda on the map as a thriving live music scene. Focusing on this individuals illustrious career, from the 1970’s when St Kilda was in full swing, drawing heaving crowds to any number of late night dens of adultery, sweat and entertainment, to now in 2017 where attempts are being made to resurrect St Kilda from it’s dormant state. ‘St Kilda’s Alright: The Fred Negro Experience’ is a new exhibition coming to Brightspace Gallery, which will not only look at the man behind the legend but also showcase both his musical legacy and visual history. The Melbourne Critique spoke with this fascinating artist on the exhibition, locale and inspiration.
Talk to us about your practice. What defines your work, and what inspires it?
For this exhibition I am creating a never-before-seen series of paintings and illustrations using acrylics, paint textas and pencil. Instead of my usual cartoon style which has a lot of text, these works have more of a visual narrative and tell the stories of what I reckon is Kilda: the characters, the venues, and the secret places that only I see.
What should we expect from this new exhibition at Brightspace?
An exciting and fun exhibition consisting of paintings, drawings, memorabilia, photos, history, film and music – pretty much a Fred Negro Fest. It’s a celebration of my music and art career over the past 30 plus years.
What does your art and creative practice offer within the context of discourse and identity?
My cartoons, satire and music are not only artistically and consistently shocking and absurd but they are also highly entertaining and make people laugh.
What role does art play in the here and now, and could you imagine a future without art?
Art is fucking grouse! Art is everywhere you look and that is what I am showing in this exhibition; art is part of the here and now and part of my history, and since I basically am art, I couldn’t imagine a future without one.
Photo credit: Gary Hallenan