Damien is a Designer from Victoria, but turns out he’s also a seriously passionate Street Artist. We love uncovering different sides to our awesome candidates, so we dug a little deeper into what he gets up to when he’s not designing through us!
Tell us what you get up to outside your design work.
Outside of being a designer I’m usually being creative in some other form. All of my friends are involved in creative fields, so catching up with buddies often turns into a painting session in a quiet spot in the city or sketching ideas for any projects that might be in the works.
What sparked your passion for street art?
I’ve always been interested in art and tried to replicate whatever I saw. As a kid it was cartoons, then comic books, then graffiti. Graffiti and street art held such a mystique over my friends and I as young teenagers and we wanted to be involved. Eventually (10 years later) it stuck and I was able to be involved in a huge subculture of artists. Turning a hobby into something personal and more meaningful by creating artworks for the public to enjoy straight away, without having to visit a gallery or search online. I guess now I am lucky enough to have the means to do something I love at a professional level.
What sorts of street art projects have you been involved in before?
I've been involved in everything from helping create whole decor installations at massive music and arts festivals (above), to live painting for business launches. I've been commissioned by restaurants, home owners and more, all looking for something to bounce off their walls.
I recently participated in the Melbourne Meeting of Styles (below), where hundreds of artists spent three whole days painting as much as they could in certain places in Melbourne made famous by the street art.
I’ve also worked for councils and been involved in workshops for youths and in schools, teaching about street art and educating kids on the hard work that goes into being a successful street artist.
Which of your street art pieces are you most proud of and why?
I actually find it hard to pick one piece. Making art this way is all about having a strong relationship with the people I do it with. Almost every project I work on is thought about and discussed with my best mates and I’m always proud to work on a piece with them. This has helped me hone my abilities as a solo artist too, so there is always credit to those guys when I make art, and that's what I am most proud of by far.
That said, there are probably two or three works that I could say I was most proud of, such as the work I completed with my aforementioned buddies at the Melbourne Meeting of Styles. I also have to pick this one (below) which was painted in Rio De Janeiro back in 2014. I worked on it with someone who I followed and looked up to as an artist years before getting to paint with him. It was right in the middle of a long adventure far away from home, and painting this piece and a few more in the coming days really helped me settle myself as a person. Not to mention ticking off painting with one of my favourite artists and doing it overseas, which has been something I’d wanted to do for a long time. Being a part of the vibrant community of the area and leaving them with something nice to look at was a great feeling too.
Are there any street artists you really admire, and if so who are they and why?
Marcelo Eco is the artist who I painted with in Rio. He’s one of the most sincere and genuine street artists I've ever met and his work speaks for itself.
‘Sofles’ is an Australian graffiti artist who in now world renowned. I’ve always been a great admirer of his and anyone that knows his work, knows that he is clearly in his own league as far as technical and creative talent goes. Another artist that goes by the name of ‘Style’ has been a great influence and inspiration to me and many up and coming artists in Melbourne. In the last four or so years he has really changed the culture for the better, not to mention painting incredible pieces all over town.
I also have to give a special mention to my best mates, they’re another two of the artists I most admire.
Do you have any events or brands you’d love to create street art for?
I really only create for myself and the culture around me, I’m happy to lend my talents to anyone that can appreciate creativity.
What is it that you love about street art?
What's not to love? The scale of work is limitless, I’ve seen 10 story buildings with full sized artworks painted on them. Working big and bold is a really fun way to express an idea. Usually this leads to using striking colours and working outside too. What more could you ask for as an artist?
I guess I also love the fact that it's all in my own hands. If I have an idea, a space and the means to execute, there really isn't much else to get in the way.
Where’s your favourite street art spot in Australia?
I would have to say Blender Laneway, which is a small laneway just off Franklin Street in the city. It’s connected to a studio which houses heaps of awesome artists, including some of my favourite street artists. I’ve been painting in Blender Laneway for close to seven or eight years now. There are also a few secret locations in the outer suburbs which I love to spend lazy days practising or playing with new ideas.
Is street art becoming more respected as a legitimate art form and does it bother you either way?
It doesn't really bother me either way. The sub-culture is so strong that it will continue to develop regardless of what the broader public think. This comes from the fact that street art has evolved from graffiti, which in theory is an illegal act. Graffiti was created by graffiti writers for graffiti writers, and to a large extent that hasn't changed. Graffiti and Street Art are really different things and I think that it's really important they stay separate.
I can definitely appreciate both art forms. The fact I can paint on the streets and call it street art without it carrying any sort of negative connotations has really helped the progression of artists and the whole movement, as long as graffiti isn't changed and is recognised as a legitimate art form too (albeit illegal).
What advice would you give to someone looking to become a street artist?
Just do it! Melbourne especially is going through an entire movement right now, so there is no better time to get out and make some art on the street. Of course practice makes perfect and a clear idea should be considered before going berserk with a spray can on someone's wall. If you need somewhere to start, there are a few graffiti, stencil and street art workshops held around Melbourne, workshops serve as a great introduction to using spray paint and learning how to go about finding and figuring out projects to get involved in.
Do you love Damien's amazing work as much as we do? Head over to his website to see more of it.
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