Tag Archives: Street art

Not a mattress

Mattresses aren’t the only discards that stir the creative impulses in the Inner west. A friend sent me this photograph, taken in a Stanmore lane. I think this work needs to be preserved for the ages.

Next-door-to-Marrickville mattress poetry

A friend emailed me this photo. It’s not the work of fabulous Marrickville mattress poet C.L. It lacks her (I’m convinced the MMP is a woman) world-weary generosity of spirit and may stray a little into vulgarity, but it’s heartening to see that someone in Newtown is keeping the flame of mattress poetry alive:

A New Year’s sighting of the Marrickville Mattress Poet

I’m not the only one who keeps a weather eye out for new works by ‘C.L’, who turns discarded mattresses around Marrickville into ephemeral works of literary art. Here’s my latest sighting. After a brief foray into politics, she (I think the poet is a woman) is back to more existential subject matter. The calligraphy is less precise than usual – perhaps 2020 has taken its toll.

[Added a bit later: I keep thinking I can’t be the only one uploading images of C.L’s work. A moment with DuckDuckGo led me to the Nothing Really Mattress site, which showcases street mattress art from around the world. One of C.L’s distinctive works, perhaps from a happier time – ‘People fell in love on me’ – appears at this link.]

Beautiful graffiti

I live very close to Enmore Park, a geometrically laid out green space that’s beautiful at this time of year. Here’s a little walk I took, along one of the diagonals, though a sandstone arch that’s a monument to colonial selfhood to the corner of the colonial-named Edinburgh Road and Victoria Road, and a reminder that colonisation is still alive and well and harsh.

The Marrickville Mattress Minimalist Poet strikes again

I’ve occasionally blogged about poetic gems that turn up on discarded mattresses around Marrickville (here’s a link). I’m not the only one – here’s a link to a post by someone called Therese Trouserzoff.

I can report a new sighting on the Enmore edge of Marrickville, this one signed like two of my previous specimens: ‘C.L’. The poet has moved from lyric celebration of life and art to political satire:

The poem is referring to New South Wales Liberal Party Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption that she had been in ‘a close personal relationship’ with a corrupt politician, and had remained close to him after she sacked him from her cabinet. Here’s a link in case you live somewhere completely different.

You might see it as adding to the chorus of prurient outrage, an innerspring vox-pop rubbing salt into the wounds of Gladys’s humiliation. This is the inner west, where Liberal Party supporters aren’t exactly thick on the ground, so you could read it as endorsing the ALP’s opportunistic calls for Gladys’s immediate resignation. But remember, this two-word poem is published on a discarded mattress, as far from a high horse as you can get. In my reading, it offers a finger-wagging sympathy: not, ‘Poor Gladys, you were deceived by a rotter,’ or, ‘Evil Gladys, you turned a blind eye on corruption,’ but, ‘Naughty Gladys, fancy a serious girl like you getting up to something like that!’

We’ll see how it plays out at ICAC over the next couple of days or more. It may be the end of the Berejiklian premiership. And that may be a just and appropriate outcome. But C.L has captured a moment in the saga, and drawn readers’ attention to something so easily lost in this age of political polarisation: our shared human fallibility.

Does anyone know more about C.L? Is there a gallery of their work somewhere? I’d love to know.

MOST mattress

The Marrickville Mattress Poet put in an appearance as part of the Marrickville Open Studio Trail on the weekend. This homage to Magritte was part of the Fairy Alley exhibition.

Mattress

Art theft in Enmore

A little over a month ago, I noticed a suspicious looking object on the pedestrian island just out the front of our house. It looked like a discarded shoe, but not quite. On closer inspection it revealed itself to be a Will Coles sculpture.

IMG_1187In case you can’t quite read it, the text on the sole of this cement shoe is ‘forgotten’, making it an elegant addition to the scattering of cement objects in our suburbs reminding us of our fragility, and the fragility of our environment.

But ‘forgotten’ wasn’t meant to last. To tell the truth I’d forgotten all about it until a car collected the barriers on the island on the weekend. Only then did I notice that all that remained of the sculpture was a stark shoeprint:

shoeprintThe shoe was gone before the barrier was knocked down.The barrier will be replaced in a week or so. The sculpture is now a prized – and prised – possession of a private art collector.

Marrickville’s phantom mattress poet(s), Part 2

It’s 20 months since I posted about Marrickville’s mattress poetry. This morning wandering through the back lanes on my way home from the library, I saw not one but two more examples, these ones initialled by the poet, and I read them as a sequence:

Mattress sprung

Mattress roses

The sequence was made doubly poignant by the meaty smell that filled the lane as I took this photo – a man was hefting carcases from a refrigerated truck with ‘Lamb from the Wiradjuri Country’ emblazoned on its side.

Will Coles

Will Coles’s works are probably seen and enjoyed by more people on a daily basis than those of any other sculptor. It’s not that crowds line up to see them, although he has been exhibited in galleries, but you might happen to look down while waiting for traffic lights or standing at a bus stop, and there will be a donut baring its teeth at you, or a squashed softdrink can inscribed with the word ‘Eternity’ in Arthur Stace script, or a mobile phone labelled ‘Hate’.

If you’re not familiar with his work, have a look at Mr Will on Flickr, and/or visit his web site. What I’ve been noticing is the way his work has been defaced – in Marrickville, Enmore, Newtown and as far afield as Surry Hills. In the video interview from Virtual Press Office below, he talks about this as part of the game, but sometimes it creates interesting new effects. The main damage to his work seems to come from would-be collectors and other street artists (or would-be artists). Could this be saying something more general about art in this society?

IMG_0819

Street Plaque near the Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills. An image of the intact work is here.

IMG_0823

An undefaced Sweet Tooth in the back streets of Marrickville.

IMG_0846 - Version 2

Man-Made at a bus stop in Enmore Road. A would-be collector was defeated by the glue and left us with a relic. There’s a photo of an unmutilated piece here.

Finite1

Finite, outside the Newtown police station. From this angle it looks pretty much untouched, except of course for the tags on its top.

Finite2

But here it is from the other side. Not just the graffitists, but another street artist with a distinctive lettering style have used the sculpture as their canvas. Not so bad really: it just changes the image from white-goods consumerism to tacky laundromat.

Work

Someone tried to acquire this Work, also near the Newtown police station, but the glue defeated them.

laissez faire in situ

Here’s a patch of wall just off Enmore Road that’s been liberally covered with posters and graffiti. Hidden beneath the layers is a Will Coles sculpture.

IMG_0835

Voilà! The piece is entitled Laissez Faire, but its comment on larcenous capitalism is a bit lost when it has been chipped at and buried in red paint.

IMG_0849
The spectacular mural on the corner of Phillip and Gladstone Streets, Enmore. The owner of the wall welcomes street artists, asking them only to avoid the entrance to his place of business. These artists have impressively given due deference to the Will Coles work that was there before them.

IMG_0848

A detail from the mural showing Laissez Faire, and also the damaged smaller Coles work, Tag, to its left.

Here’s the video from Virtual Press Office:

More evanescent street art?

Have I stumbled on a secret art movement? Here’s another carefully posed shoe spotted while walking the dog.

babyslipper