It comes as no surprise that this review pops up on the blog, if you’ve been looking over this space for the passed 2 or so weeks you would know that yours truly has been spending some time with the Gent. But I didn’t always know him and for the time I didn’t, I was a fan of this travelling artists work, the large scale characters have been a welcomed addition to Melbourne’s streets. So while this review may sound biased, I can remove myself from the passed couple of months and tell you, this is one seriously talented artist and not one that should be ignored during his visit.
Walking into this show, I had an idea of what to expect, a lot of characters mixed with some killer graffiti style. I ran into one of the artists friends and he pointed something out to me that really is one of the most unique things about Gent, he said to me: “How many other shows have you been to, where the artist was known for characters? Not to mention be able to belt out a piece at the same standard?”. While a few spring to mind, such as: Reka, Shida and Itch, for someone who is just dropping by, its quite a feat. But its clear to see why, its very distinct and despite having spent a bit of time with the artist recently, I still can’t pin point what this work reminds me of, its uniquely his own. Part graffiti, part fluid/clean Disney, part Ren & Stimpy, Gent’s work is a mixture of the grotesque, mashed together with instantly recognisable silhouettes, all in a mix that works. Whether its his large detailed characters or his flat collage pieces, they each have their own distinctive touch of Gent in them, making the show blend together as a whole.
I guess the best way to review this show is by sharing what people were telling me on the night, whether its those familiar or new to his work, there was certainly a lot to be said from fans old and new. As I said before, someone on the night pointed out how one of the key reasons for Gents appeal in Melbourne is the fact that he can paint characters and piece. While a lot of writers can do this, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as good as this at both and that in no way means that I’m settling, he’s really good at both. Mayo with his tattoo style and calligraphy comes to mind, Itch with psychedelic hyper realistic characters along with some real tough pieces to boot and even Kid Zoom has been known to dip his hands in both, to devastating effect. If you ask me, those are some pretty big names to put aside an artist such as Gent, but the level of quality is there and it still baffles me as to why I hadn’t heard of him before his tour of our city. Seeing his work up close really shows the level of quality and talent this guy possess, the layering, the shading, the images themselves, its nothing short of amazing. Whether its his small Disneyesque high detailed characters, large scale [spray painted] pieces, collage breakdowns, graffiti pieces or his sketches, there isn’t a piece here that doesn’t impress. This is a really strong show and you’re not doing yourself a favour by missing out on it.
I’ve said it already, but its been a pleasure hangin’ out, interviewing and general getting to know Gent, everyone else I’ve met has said nothing but nice things about this guy, but that doesn’t matter when its comes to his art, its just really, really good. He himself has said that he doesn’t necessarily have a subject matter for his work, he just paints what he feels like, making this a show to appreciate for what it simply is, just some really nice art what he did. Congrats to Gent and the team at The Vic Bar on putting on a great show and while the show had almost sold out on the night, there were still a handful of pieces left when I left on the night, at ridiculously cheap prices. But either way, the show is on for another 3 weeks, so if you’re in the area or keen on this work, head on down for a drink at the Vic and have a look for yourself.
For those new to the Arty Graffarti or Gent experience, make sure you check out the finished products of some awesome hang outs below, all by yours truly.
Interview took from artygraffarty.com