For the past few months i've been haphazardly working on a zine entitled autosuggestion (after the joy division song). Owing to cost and other reasons the zine will be limited to 60 copies. At the moment its stalled owing to delays to do with waiting for others to get back pages to me. In other words normal, i guess, collaboration issues. That said it has been great and i love the idea of cutting and pasting and collating and putting together the zine. And love working with and seeing the way in which all these disparate and different pages and people have created something so beautiful. Even more given that the friend who's zine it is is of galavanting through the forests or the beaches of South america. Every time I look at the box or work a little on it I'm left thinking of him and the crazy and wierd and beautiful spaces he is visiting. This is an extract I've written for the zine. It's also the beginnings of another piece I still fantasise about writing. One in which all the buskers and street artists of melbourne are written about. Enjoy the article. If you get the chance check out phelixs site to: www.phelix.com [i wish i could remember the way to link this here detail]
THE STREETS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF ART
A Saturday afternoon in late April outside PSC, he stands cigarette in mouth talking to a passerby. His left hand outstretched pointing at one of his abstract paintings. He's offering an explanation of it to the couple before him. It's an attempt to draw a woman washing the dishes he says. An attempt to draw its beauty without it becoming too erotic, too sensual. I crouch on the ground listening in on this and wait to ask him questions about another one of his works - his blog. I only know of this man by the chalk address on the pavement www.pheelix.com. A couple of minutes pass. I read about the nostalgia of Easter now that he's no longer Catholic. As I read I continue listening in on the conversation. The couple are from Ballarat and want to buy the painting so Pheelix invites them around to his studio tomorrow. They're only down in Melbourne for the day but thank him nevertheless. I sit and continue reading his blog. My mind is filling with questions. What are people's reactions? Was there a struggle when the games were on? What's more important the process or the final product? Does he see the blog medium as a way of breaking down the barriers around the artist? Is there a grander purpose to the blog? I look up and find him standing over me. I freeze momentarily trying to think of the best approach to take to asking him questions. The first query that springs to mind is about the Commonwealth Games. He says he avoided the city whilst the games were on - too many people, too many hassles and not enough room for the street artist to live. He mentions though that people would often express their anger when learning that their rates were being spent on cleaning up graffiti. The conversation shifts and I ask him about peoples reaction. He answers that he's experienced everything from joy and congratulations to outright hatred. I ask him where he thinks the hatred stems from. He doesn't offer an explanation, just annoyance over what he's doing and over his artwork. I glance down at the blog before me, no graphic sexual exploitation or acts of violence, just images of the banality of life. Of the struggle to eat, of riding the tram, of the search for love and the depths of loneliness. I guess people are terrified of the dull reality of their lives and enjoy hiding behind the sensationalist images of the world. The conversation switches again and I ask him about breaking down the barrier around the artist. For him art is a process. The notion of the artist working away for one ot two years to produce some work of art for others to look and theorize over angers him. Art should be open and fluid, it should be continuing everyday. The blog for instance is a year long project with each page eventually being sold to raise funds for a children's organisation. I stand and listen forgetting to mention how much of a good idea that sounds. A friend of his walks over with a coffee and our conversation ends. I grab a pen and paper from my bag and write down his address, I'll be sure to check out the website online on Monday. I put the pen and paper back in my bag, read a couple of pages and then head off to the tram stop to meet up with a friend for dinner.