One of the bigger surprises in Melbourne’s gallery scene has been this pop up show by Parisian graffiti writer/contemporary artist Horfee and his animation partner, and fellow artist, Russell Maurice. The two have worked on and released a number of projects over the passed three years, transforming each others loose drawings into short looping pieces of work. Having featured in shows around the work, including New Yorks Klughaus and Topsafe’s space in London, this show is a rarely rare and unexpected insight into two of the alternative art world’s most imaginative painting minds.
I say it a lot, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, the space is small and (from my previous knowledge) these two like to paint outside of regulation canvas standards, by even using the gallery spaces walls as one also. Entering Doomsdays single room, the four walls featured just over 20 pieces of art, along with complimenting bits and pieces to make a full show. Tattoo flashes, animation cels, customised characters made of fabric and drawings, both big and small, are all on display with a similar theme and aesthetics throughout. This current trend of drawing loose stems from each of the artists respectively, with strong influences from the animation stylings of Ralph Bakshi and Paul Fierlinger, along with other graffiti writers such as Gorey. It’s easy to approach and both artists contain enough depth in each of their works to really allow your imagination to search and discover the stories within. From trains, animals and day-to-day dwellings, it’s all on display here, with the fresh take on sloppy artistic ideology providing viewable hold on your senses.
It’s because of this, that I’ve been a fan of Horfee’s in particular, for some time now. I don’t think there’s a definitive name for this art style, other than the inappropriately named ‘Parisian look’, but it is certainly popular across the internet and by those who see it in person. To me, it’s one of the few styles that has transformed the craft of writing letters into a full fledge artform, as anyone who’s a fan will tell you, both artists art quite accomplished in. While the discussion of whether or not a graffiti artists work in the gallery can be defined as graffiti still rages on, I believe that both Horfee and Russell Maurice are one of the few that make this discussion so confusing. Barry MaGee is another name that comes to mind, as his work doesn’t visually represent graffiti, but the thought and execution process seems to come from the mind of one who enjoys painting for themselves instead of the gentrified gallery world. That’s what most of them ask for when dealing with artists like this right? But few are willing to take the financial risk. It’s not trying to be the next Van Gough, but it’s brutally honest, unabashed and charming, containing the energy of the young and the fearlessness of the experienced.
‘Pathetic Bubble’ opened last Friday, but you can still head over to Doomsday Store during opening hours to see the show until June 16.