I caught my local king of glue, paste up artist Mike Watt, at this years Sydney Zine fair. His ugly portraits are brilliant and it was a thrill to catch a glimpse of the face behind the paper faces that we meet in the back streets of the city. Big admiration for this guy, I’ve been photographing his pieces for years. He enlivens the deadly dire, loneliness and walls that edge into hubs of us socially minded. I was happy to snap up his contribution at the festival, the superb Pancake Batter. Hard stock, black & white grittiness. Really impressed by the gallery of paste up stars, floss man, matthew, free wifi man, touches of Shu/Monstery & Me (another great street illustrator) but also the way they have been photographed is artful in itself. The backgrounds almost feel wheat paste based, an urban set, but they are real surrounds for his work to blend into. The bonus ‘Paste Recipe’ on the inside back page encourages one to get their hands sticky.
I wonder at the lengths that people go to get a bomb piece high in the sky. The best thing is size is no obstacle, one has the luxury of planning pieces before hijacking the night. The more extension poles you have the better, that’s what makes many pieces amazing. Adrenalin rush is part of the job. It’s not legal, though these days councils and shops are embracing the art and doing call outs for masterpieces. They are ephemeral, I have photographs of paste ups that are now paper mache in the drains, specks of white dandruff between the mortar. If you dig the art form, take a peek of Mike’s work via his website.
Tonight’s indulgence and Mike Watt connection