Style Melbourne

Suit Up Custom Playing Card Exhibition Opening

I recently overheard a precocious five year old boy confidently explain to his mother why graffiti was good even though she had just advised him that ‘people are not supposed to do it.’ It’s colourful and makes the city more interesting to look at, he reasoned to his now lost-for-words mum. Over the last few years Melbourne has embraced street art with the City Council allocating funds for projects such as the Laneway Commission, allowing artists to use spaces safely, legally and with wide public acceptance. SUIT UP! is a collaborative exhibition of 19 Australian artists from Street Art, Comic Art and Illustration persuasions who have come together to design a deck of playing cards. Four artists worked on each suit- tackling the King, Queen, Jack and Ace (as well as Jokers) with some kicking results making your Bicycle Brand $2 a pack cards look, well, boring as bat shit.

Opening night was standing room only; lifting a beer to the mouth without elbowing a young electro vinyl collector was no easy feat. A dj on the mezzanine level kept the mood and noise level at O-Week party mode with gamine girls in black crochet dresses sidling by their consciously dressed counterparts. NO VACANCY Gallery is a bit of a newie for me, a largish ex-shop that is accessible both for its location (QV mall) and for straddling the fine art and commercial worlds.  Many of the artists themselves dabble in a variety of studio, fashion and street art. The resulting Suit Up! prints are polished yet playful. Playing card designs in the past have carried political statements so it is no surprise our collaborators chose this medium. One card depicts a grotesquely fat drummer, fork and spoon in place of drum sticks, sloppy burgers on the cymbals. Manga girls, anime Japanese cutesiness, a dash of violence and comic craziness are also on the cards at this exhibition, along with a reference to the lyrical style and monsters of early 19th Century artist, William Blake. Prints can be purchased for a reasonable price or you can update that dog-eared card pack for 20 bucks with something you’ll be proud of.

The Suit Up exhibition runs from Friday 13th to Sunday 22nd February at No Vacancy Gallery, 27 Red Cape Lane, QV, Melbourne. Featuring the works of artists Kid Zoom, Simon Childerhouse, TwoOne, Itch, Dylan McCrae, Karl Kwansy, Sam McKenzy, Sheldon Vella, Yok, Noir, Drew, Claudio Mantuano, Reka, Phibs, Meggs, Sync, Sean kelly and LoungeKat.

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Words – Varia Karipoff

Photography – Anthony Licuria

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