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GALLERY // Lush ‘Another Shithouse Art Show’ at Backwoods Gallery

So here we are, for me this was one of the most anticipated shows for this year, last year Lush created one of the most interesting, funny and surprisingly good shows at Backwoods. Since that debut solo show, he has travelled far and wide, showing the highs and lows of the street art and graffiti world, whilst reaping the benefits of them. Girls? Money? Fame? Lush seems to have had them all in his quick rise to fame as of late, why and how do you ask? Through the one thing we’re all glued to, the internet and whether he or others want to admit it or not, a whole bunch of talent. This isn’t your average gallery show, black and white comics don the walls along with only a handful of original pieces. That’s not to say its bare bones, in fact its probably one of the biggest shows I’ve been to collectively, it will take you awhile to read every comic on the walls, but its an easy and funny read, making the show enjoyable and some what educational to some.

Walking into the show on opening night, gallery goers were greeted with two things, a mini ramp and a steal cage, the ramp was being heshed pretty hard by a handful of great skaters, whereas the cage was expecting a death match at 8pm, but we’ll get to that later. Aside the cage, the main room was wall to wall covered with Lush comics, you may have seen some of these from his Tumblr page, but there are definately a stack that was only on display at the show, all together, I’d say there was between 30-40 comics for you to read through, quite a large task. But if you stick to it, you’ll have learned something about graffiti history, the good, the bad and the ugly in one sitting. Despite Lush’s somewhat negative attitude toward the graffiti scene, I can’t help but think its more of a love/hate relationship and in most cases I tend to agree with him. When I ‘announced’ that I was starting this blog, one of my friends who has a history in graffiti, immediately let me know that my interest in graffiti wasn’t good enough and I needed to go to the “dirtiest and grimiest of places”. These are the type of people I think Lush is aiming most of his attitudes towards with some of these comics, why do these types of attitudes exist in graffiti? I can understand, its an illegal act and people are protective, but people are very aggressive and at times, intimidating for no apparent reason. I’ve seen grown men call out young kids on the street and on the internet, its a bit pathetic really. When I saw Writer’s Bench last month, the beginnings of Melbourne graffiti seemed to be very positive and there was sense of unity within the scene, I personally, don’t see this as much anymore and its a shame. Throughout the series of comics, you’ll find Lush addressing situations people may have put him in in the past: police, writers and street art fans are all in the firing line in this show. Not everybody that does graffiti has to listen to hip hop, not everybody has to do everything that was done in the passed, not all street art is that good, all these topics are addressed by the end of your read.

Apart from the comics, Lush’s “art” pieces were on display and despite what he usually claims about his skills, he is quite the artist in his own right. It’s strange, his style is very simplistic, but instantly recognisable, small touches of detail accompanying thick bold black lines. His “subject matter” is usually very humorous and  this show is no exception, you really have to let your hair down, male or female, when looking at this work and just laugh. Like the comics the original pieces are also simply drawn in plain black and white, but these are grander pieces with more detail and a keen sense of graphic design, his style suits it to a T. My personal favourite is definately the TRAINS TRAINS FUCKING TRAINS piece, an obvious reference to the Jisoe documentary, this looks great from afar but go a little closer and you find incredible attention to detail. While there is detail in each word and letters, it never becomes to cluttered and its very clear and intricate, I would really like to own this piece, thats all I can say.

Now, back to that steal cage sticking in the middle of the gallery, this is why you need to come to opening nights. At 8pm, as you’d expect, there was a wrestling match, yes a wrestling match in the middle of a gallery that’s had shows by Kami & Sasu, Petro, Meggs, Rone, the list goes on, it was incredible and I mean that, incredible. As a wrestling fan in my youth, this was very exciting and god damn it was violent, I’ve never seen a wrestling match in person, this was my first, and it couldn’t have been better. Also the fact that it was Jesus vs. Satan [I forgot to mention that…?], just added to the crazyness of the whole situation. I’ve told people about this show a few times already and I still get a bit of a buzz about seeing it, it was just mayhem, I don’t really know what else to say… What did this have to do with the show? Probably nothing, but it was just mad cap fun, thumb tacks, cheese graters, pizza slicers, glass and one hell of an ending. I captured the whole thing as best I could on my phone, its real scrappy, but you can tell what’s going on, enjoy. Check out Round 1 here first.

Round 2 here

The aftermath

Once again, I can’t recommend this show enough, we’re very spoilt here in Melbourne, if you missed the opening night though, I feel for you, but this is still a very solid show, one of the best this year in my opinion. While you can’t buy any of the comics, a zine is available along with a print from the show, snatch these up while you still can, the Lush buzz will only grow bigger and bigger after this show. I have no idea when this closes, but I’d give it ’til the 23rd of December.


Backwoods Gallery

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