secret wars.

Artist: Ken Taylor

welcome to secret wars – the biggest live art battle in melbourne – or the world for that matter.

indie, backstreet culture at its best, chances are you will only hear the hype through word of mouth.  it’s where the banskies of today come to play: graffiti, wheatpasting, tagging, unsanctioned sketching, brick stenciling, postering, stamping.  call the technique what you will but the only weapon used in this war is artistic talent.
what started in the UK as a promotion of street art in 2006 has quickly transformed into a trend that has hit every cultural hub in the world.  from new york to melmo to london to melbourne, the premise of secret wars is simple: “a global mission to turn live art into a recognized sport.” 
and the rules are even simpler:  artists can only use black paint or ink.  no sketches are allowed but the concept is open to any subject or theme.  the artists only have 90 minutes to make their statement and ultimately dis their opponent.  with an eclectic crowd cheering them on and a local dj scratching on vinyl, the scene is a brilliant mix of hip hop and underground culture.  
however, what makes this war that much more enticing is knowing one of the combatants.  i work with ken taylor in the warehouse studio where i work out of.  one of melbourne’s most in-demand illustrators and designers, taylor has made a name for himself in the music industry, an edgy curator whose work boasts rock posters for eddie vedder, grinderman and queens of the stone age as well as album cover art for the likes of mammal and liz stringer.  voted the 2011 people’s choice award, watching taylor’s talent unfold live is like watching gothic revival in a slow dance.  freakin’ unbelievable.
so why write about this?  in an effort to chronicle more of the experiences that are developing my self (in addition to the majority of posts that are just thoughts and reflections) following secret wars has been a really fun thing to be a fan of.  upon first stepping foot in the back lot of 1000 £ bend (melbourne venue) i had an immediate flashback to my first couple of months in toronto where i curiously scoured the side streets of queen west and the annex, intrigued by the artwork that a spray can could create.  it was during these walking tours that i would find inspiration to write – whether it came from a collage that was offensively profound or a cryptic message translated into a tag, it was incredibly fascinating what artists could create on a simple public space such as a brick wall.  anonymous art all around you, how could you not get lost in imagination?
i think what appealed to me most about secret wars was that it has allowed me to delve back into a creative haven that would otherwise have remained lost.  
yet on the other hand, the campaign is just that damn cool. 

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