‘Transparence’ street art exhibition

WHAT: Free exhibition featuring the work of talented street artist Vincent de Mestral and collaborators.

WHERE: Le Petit Bateau Gallery, 301 Bondi Road, Bondi.

WHEN: Opening night Friday August 21, 6-9pm. Exhibition runs until September 25.

I was super excited to find out that the next exhibition at Bondi gallery Le Petit Bateau will feature the work of French artist in residence Vincent de Mestral (aka street artist V2M) and his collaborations with well-known Sydney artist Skulk and Italian Judy Rhum.

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Vincent and Judy showcasing one of the collaborations they’re working on for the exhibition – currently featuring the base work created by Judy with Vincent still to add his touch.

I dropped by this morning to check out the work in progress and have a chat with Vincent and Judy to find out how the collaboration came about.

Brought together by pizza…

It turns out that Vincent is seriously fresh off the boat. Having arrived in Australia only a couple of months ago, he spent some time in Melbourne before the lure of Sydney’s sunshine brought him up the coast.

It wasn’t long before he decided to visit one of Sydney’s street art meccas, Newtown. Walking around one day admiring the walls, he came across Gigi Pizza, a favourite haunt and canvas for Sydney street artists, and decided that he had to make his mark. After showing some of his work to the owner, Vincent was granted permission to create a piece, requiring him to paint over the existing work by Skulk.

The next afternoon he turned up to paint the wall only to bump into Skulk. A testament to the brotherhood of street artists, Skulk was so impressed with Vincent’s work that he asked for his details and a collaboration was duly organised.

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V2M’s piece on the wall outside Newtown’s Gigi Pizza

Later that night Vincent was outside spraying the wall when fellow artist and Gigi Pizza waitress Judy Rhum came out for a quick break. While Judy stopped to admire Vincent’s work, the two struck up an immediate friendship and the third part of this colourful collaboration fell into place.

Just what is ‘Transparence’?

Vincent is the current artist in residence at Le Petit Bateau and Transparence is about sharing his journey and current inspirations with us, while collaborating with like-minded artists.

“Since he has been travelling around Australia, Vincent has immersed himself into the different cultures and stories he has discovered,” explains gallery owner Anne-Sophie Ridelaire. “All of these things have given him a new wave of inspiration.”

“Transparence could be an invitation to play ‘hide and seek’ with Vincent and his child-like soul. It could also be about him taking a break in his life to show you the truth.”

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Vincent de Mestral (V2M) and gallery owner Anne-Sophie

About the artists:

Vincent de Mestral (V2M) grew up in Lyon, France.

Back in 2011, he created an art movement named RMF (Ready Made France) with his friend Adrien. Based on their observation that the urban landscape was grey and depressive, they set out on a mission to cheer people up with art.

“We decided to spray colour and happiness everywhere,” says Vincent. “Creating surprise and intrigue in the urban landscape through artwork that would allow people’s imagination to escape out of their daily life.”

Vincent is not only a graphic artist, but a trained cabinet-maker who uses his carpentry skills to create eclectic 3D sculptures, some of which you will see (and be able to purchase) at this exhibition.

I’m a huge fan of pop art and the playful postmodernist work of the Memphis group artists, whose work was characterised by bright, child-like patterns and simplistic forms. It’s obvious to me that the work of this period is reflected in the vibrant colours and playful graphics of Vincent’s pieces.

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Vincent lists his inspiration as ‘the city, pop art, surrealism, texture, wood and patterns’. Not content with using the colour palettes available to him, he creates his own colours by mixing and layering.

I asked him to further explain the meaning of the name Transparence:

“This is a really intimate exhibition – more than just a visual display, transparence could be a way to see inside of me,” he explains. “It’s also about layers. I love the fact that you can see a third colour under two colours superimposed, or see a second layer under a first layer and create something different by playing with both.”

You can view more of his work on his Facebook page.

Collaborator JUDY RHUM grew up in Italy.

She discovered her love of art at a young age and says that drawing and creating have been the focus of her life ever since.

“Sometimes people ask me when I started to draw,” reflects Judy. “I never know what to answer – drawing is the first thing that I can remember learning as a child. They give you a pencil and a piece of paper and you just do it. Some people stop over the years, some of us just keep on drawing.”

Judy lists her inspirations as ‘surrealism, nature, Australia and the colours from the natural light’.

A surrealist piece by Judy on a wall in Newcastle

A surrealist piece by Judy on a wall in Newcastle

One of the things that Judy loves best about Australia is the amazing blends and endless variations of colour created by our sunsets and sunrises.

Also a fashion designer, she loves to integrate the patterns from her vintage fabric finds within her artwork.

You can see more of Judy’s work on her Facebook page.

Collaborator SKULK is a Sydney-based artist.

He specialises in painting, illustration and printmaking.

According to Skulk’s bio, “Stemming from his drawing practice and graffiti background, Skulk’s paintings are filled with authentic energy, abstracted figures, and spontaneity. Skulk’s gestural mark-making and intensive physical process is a direct result of urban culture, and graffiti.”
“Bold, unrestrained emotionality and technical execution create a rich physicality in Skulk’s paintings, bridging his distinct style built over the years, into an evolution that pushes the work against boundaries and convention.”

One of Skulk's piece for the Transparence exhibition

One of Skulk’s piece for the Transparence exhibition

See more of Skulk’s work on his website or Instagram feed.

The end of a creative era for this little boat

Don’t miss out on this exhibition as sadly it will be the last at this venue – Le Petit Bateau will then be moving to another venue due to the redevelopment of the current space.

Head to the Le Petit Bateau Facebook event page for updates and more information.

Tracey @ What’s New Bondi xx

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