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Stupid Krap's latest artist interviews, news and releases.

'The Return of Vampire Jesus' An Exhibition by 1337

Aaron Craig

So tell us about your exhibition, the themes and the meaning behind 'The Return of Vampire Jesus'.
This body of work is made up of stenciled pieces and works created with traditional printmaking techniques. Some of the themes that run throughout the exhibition are playful, while others are in a more serious vein, and perhaps a little confronting.  The title stems from my love of classic horror movies, and an inside joke about Jesus being mythical creature, not unlike some sort of Dungeons & Dragons monster.

How do some of these themes reflect your views of the state of contemporary society?
I think that in a lot of my work there is a cynicism that stems from the world we live in today, and comments on the things that we can’t seem to avoid like religion, consumerism and stereotypes. With things like social media bombarding us with imagery and opinions every day I feel like the important messages can be lost unless there is an element that makes you sit up and pay attention. Some of my imagery may make people uncomfortable, but I also hope that that is the hook that makes people discuss the things that matter.   

You've been a finalist in the Stencil Art Prize here in Sydney several times, tell us about your passion for stencils and what you enjoy about the process.
I began using stencils because I used to be frustrated that my hand drawn or hand painted works weren’t realistic enough. Stencils allowed me to incorporate photo realistic imagery into my work. Over the years my style has evolved to something a little less photo-like, and the focus has become more about use of colour. The Stencil Art Prize is always a diverse showcase of stencil talent, and a great place to meet other artists and network. I’ve been lucky to have been involved.

Who are some of the artists that have most influenced and inspired you?
I am often drawn to artists who comment on society and pop culture. Australian artists like Ben Frost and Anthony Lister, or international artists like Ron English and Robert Williams. In regards to my stencil and print work, I draw a lot of influence from psychedelic rock posters from the 60’s and artists such as Victor Moscoso. I like the way they would create works with colours that vibrated against each other.

Tell us about the art scene in Brisbane and the studio space that you work out of.
I work out of a studio and gallery space called LoveLove located in Milton on the edge of the CBD. It’s an artist run space, and has some fantastic artists working from there. The gallery scene in Brisbane is healthy, but the scene on the street leaves a lot to be desired. The council in Brisbane has been focused on eradicating any work on the street for several years. There is still a lot of work to be seen, but you have to keep your ear to the ground to find out where to look.

What do you think of the Sydney art scene and your past experiences with the local community here including Blank Space?
I have always been welcomed when I’ve shown work here in Sydney, and now have a network of solid friends to help me when I make the trip down. Compared to Brisbane, Sydney runs at 100 miles an hour and it can take a day or two to get acclimatised. I’ve seen some fantastic exhibitions at Blank Space in the past, and it’s a privilege to be able to exhibit here.

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What events or projects do you have coming up soon?
After the exhibition here in Sydney I’m looking to curate a small group show in Brisbane later in the year, and then just knuckle down and get busy with university. I’m in my 2nd year of Fine Art, and there’s always a lot of opportunities in the form of art prizes and group shows that i’m sure will pop up. The key for me is to just stay busy.