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Empty Nursery Blue, 2013

Empty Nursery Blue, 2013, Rudledge Lane, Melbourne

Artists who have used colour in a representative way.

Colour and space emphasise a variety of concepts. Colour and tone has always been an important way for me to communicate space, emotions, and isolate locations such as the vivid blue skies that capture the intensity of the Australian summer. The symbols chosen in my art are influenced by my past experiences and will be refined down to specific generic representations of dark moments that exist in suburbia. I began looking at artists who had used colour to represent events or emotions through their art. I started with Picasso’s blue period. Melancholy and resignation best characterize Picasso’s blue period. When Picasso’s close friend Carlos Casagemas committed suicide, Picasso’s grief found expression in a series of deeply sentimental paintings, which comprise his blue period. Picasso communicated his experience through his colour and imagery. His blue period pushed how colour can be used as a vehicle to communicate emotions. Yves Kline’s use of one colour over an entire canvas pushed the idea of colour as the singular communicative tool. Klein likened monochrome painting to an “open window to freedom.” He worked with a chemist to develop his own particular brand of blue. Made from pure colour pigment and a binding medium, it is called International Klein Blue. Klein adopted this hue as a means of evoking the immateriality and boundlessness of his own experiences and vision of the world.

My own colour.

So I decided to come up with my own colour. I named it: Empty-Nursery Blue The way I decided to create Empty-Nursery Blue was by sitting in the studio and creating hundreds of different blues until I found the one that expressed my experiences the most. It was a baby blue that had hints of mauve in it. It’s a beautiful colour, a bright pastel. This colour expresses the feeling that something has been disturbed. All is not quite right. I took my disturbing yet beautiful colour to a paint lab and worked out its recipe. But what good was Empty-Nursery Blue, if it was without a context. I needed to find something to paint to physicalise the concept of the colour. As mentioned above, after losing their house, m y parents moved to an island in the Gippsland Lakes. It’s a significant removal from the realities of suburban Frankston. Their house is alone in the landscape, only bushes and trees to keep it company. Not even a bridge links the island to the nearest shop. This physical removal from the past does not automatically come with emotional removal.

This is why I decided to paint my parents’ new house Empty-Nursery Blue.

Empty-Nursery Blue once placed in context became a symbol of a collective past. Surrounding the new house with the memory and emotions of an experience that ruptured my family’s suburban dream.

The Hosier lane Project: A Proposal.

In recent years I have spent much of my time lost deep in the Melbourne Street Art world. Street art has become a major part of my life and the lane-ways have become my world. I have lived and breathed art all my life. My art, however, is conceived of and formed from my past experiences. I cannot exist today without recognizing my roots in the past.

Thus, I would like to incorporate my past and my present in a Street Art piece using the colour Empty-Nursery Blue, and only this colour. By using Empty-Nursery Blue to cover Rutledge Lane, I am symbolically ‘coating’ my present with my past, it is reminder to me and anyone who is living, that you are a product of your former experiences, and you should be reminded of them as you work your way through your present and into your future. By doing this, I am claiming that a colour in its pure form can be street art or graffiti. This is a great conceptual link from fine art to street art, a link that is often lacking in the Melbourne Street Art scene. By bridging this gap, I hope to expose more people not only to Street Art, but also to the importance of art in general.

Physically, this ‘coating’ of the past will occur through the use of spray guns early in the morning (permission of all involved parties has been given). It will be a project supported by both the Melbourne city council and RMIT.

Finally, this project will help in the rejuvenation of the precinct because we will be able to have a clean slate in which to monitor the artwork. Combined with the workshops, it will also help monitor who is using the space.

This will be a major art work for me. I believe that this is a major move forward in my art and research.


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