Friday, December 28, 2012

Painting The Roses Red

At first glance, inner city Perth is not the most inviting or aesthetically pleasing location in the world; especially in summer, when it goes above 40°C in the shade and burning heat radiates off every surface.

Along the train line is often the worst, with all the wires and power poles and cement everywhere. Yet this is also where some of my favourite street art lives.

This huge mural, for instance, faces the tracks and can be seen through the left-hand windows of the train as you head into the city.

I've loved this since I was a child - but this was actually the first time I've gone to have a proper close look. (Click to enlarge.)

In many ways it reminds me of the angels and demons depicted in the Vatican Museums.

(See more pics here)

The use of colour is similar, although the angel figure is dark skinned in the mural.

The combatants are also on an equal footing. Neither is above the other, neither has the strategic (or moral?) advantage.

The contrast between cave paintings on the demonic side and a more classical art style on the angelic side suggests a battle between the 'primitive' and the 'civilised.' Yet both ride vampiric steeds, and both have their faces obscured. So interesting.

Of course, this painting is not housed in a controlled space. It isn't surrounded by guards and security cameras. It is exposed to the weather, and there are no opening hours. People can come along and do whatever they like to it at any time.

Despite the odd contribution from the public, the painting has remained bright and relatively unmolested, given the location.

So good. If anyone ever tries to paint over it (as happened to another of my favourites recently. Why replace an awesome image with a blank wall? Ever?) I will be getting a little bit shirty.

There is quite a lot of brilliant street art near the tracks in this area, including this amazing Alice in Wonderland themed mural, which runs along the outer wall of the Perth City Farm

I love the way this painting merges the urban with the fantastical - incorporating graffiti style script into the landscape.

Uh-oh. I think the Tweedles have been out tagging.

Maybe not a good idea to have a bunny guarding the seedlings!

But wait - there's more...

These remind me of the Wormouths in Commander Keen:

Nice work, DeeJo.

And last but not least, in a nearby car-park:.


People pass these paintings all day without even looking, like they're nothing special. (Although they do start paying attention once someone starts taking photos - funny that, how the camera bestows 'value' on its lowly subjects...)

If anyone has names for/links to more of the artists, please let me know and I'll add them.

P.S. Happy New Year - thanks for visiting, I appreciate ya.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Technicolour Dreams


In Paris, the Grande galerie de l'évolution (Great Gallery of Evolution) is part of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, and sits close by the Galerie de paléontologie et d’anatomie comparé (which I posted about here).

On the outside, the Great Gallery is a large, stately building with a lovely facade - as befits an institution whose origins can be traced back to the 17th century.

On the inside, however... it's party time.

The huge hall is kept darkened, while the walls are aglow with vivid red light and the ceiling is a constantly shifting rainbow of reds, pinks, purples and blues.

This photograph shows what the space looks like with the lights turned off.

When the lights are on, the psychedelic ecstasy of the roof offers a surreal contrast with the displays of taxidermy in each gallery. (It's a bit like a taxidermy disco really. Except, unlike a real nightclub, you don't get groped all the time and it's actually fun.)

The ceiling reminds me of a dream I had once,* where I was standing overlooking this path down into a huge dark forest. The forest was really savage looking, full of sharp black spikes and brambles, but the sky above was the most brilliantly intense rainbow of colours I've ever seen.

(*Yes I realise that describing your dreams is one of the most socially awkward things a person can do with their clothes on. Whatever man, it's my blog. I do what I want.)

Anyway, that is what this space reminds me of - it's a technicolor dreamscape.

My favourite were the insects:

Some of the best beetles I've ever seen.

I want these so bad.

I did have a few questions after my visit.

For instance, why does the croc in the Australian section have a turd on it?

I'm struggling to think of any creature gutsy enough to get comfortable pooping near that snout.

Unless it wasn't a part of the original exhibit. Oh dear.

In any case, I'm hoping to visit the Museum of Natural History again, because I missed seeing the Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology this time around. The Jardin des Plantes was closing by the time I got to it, so I want to visit there as well.

Time to start saving again...