Thursday 29 September 2016

The Jesus Trolley

Street preaching, an unenviable vocation amidst the secular urban space, bearing both glad tidings to the willing souls and noisome message to the stonehearted. The unordained and unaffiliated status of the preachers is often frowned upon by the denominations and orthodox. Their (sometimes) rowdy voices irritate both common atheists and street traders alike. Their uncompromising call for repentance is often ill received, and their gloomy prediction of death and hell attracts insults and abuses.

Yet some chose to tread along the undesirable path. One of whom is Desmond Hynes, the faithful yet somewhat eccentric man who spent three decades proselytizing at the thoroughfares of Melbourne city. He was a familiar fixture frequently seen in the immediate vicinity of Bourke Street Mall, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Flemington Racecourse. Like a modern day Jeremiah, he sang praises to God and condemned sins at market places and vibrant street walks.

It was difficult not to notice Desmond Hynes and his evangelizing activities. His hand painted placards and signature Jesus trolleys joyously screamed for attention wherever they arrived with an occasional playful “Oh Yeah” inserted alongside the heartwarming and solemn slogans. Utilizing materials gathered from op shops and unwanted objects, the freelance street preacher prolifically created numerous visually stimulating, albeit unrefined, typographic artworks.

Bold, rudimentary uppercase letterings in huge-sized san-serif font were drawn unrestrictedly with enamel and acrylic paint on cardboard, fabric, plastic, canvas and T-shirts. The words conveyed were urgent and imperative. Exclamation mark and single underline were liberally used throughout the brightly coloured final products for emphasis purposes. Desmond Hynes travelled around with his famous shopping trolleys and visibly signs, giving out both impromptu and planned sermons for passersby within earshot.

Describing himself as a former gambler and fornicator, Desmond Hynes is eager to publicly testify to his life changing experience and fulfill a vow well kept since the episode of bowel cancer scare in year 1986. It was a wonderful sight of a passionate sinner turned believer insanely yet zealously professing his love for the Saviour openly with no fear of ridicule. The acts were amateurish and slightly rough-edged, but sincere and utterly moving.


The Jesus Trolley: 30 years of Desmond Hynes pushing art and Jesus on the streets of Melbourne


8 September to 24 December 2016


City Galley, Melbourne Town Hall

Sunday 18 September 2016

Outre Gallery - home for the underground art

Elizabeth Street is a noisy trading hub for the avid motorcyclists, a gadget Mecca for the photography aficionados, and a concentrated venue of robust Asian eateries. Yet amidst the blaring retail stereo and ostentatious electronic devices, sits an oasis of non-conventional arts and an exhibition platform for all things lowbrow and underground. Outre Gallery is the custodian of the eccentric and iconic. It is a podium for the alternative movement and a rigorous advocate of pop surrealism.

Outre Gallery houses a collection of smashing artworks embedded with hidden codes and messages. Some audaciously poke fun at the mainstream cultures and social conventions; some gleefully display their dark humour and sarcasm camouflaged beneath the gorgeous and innocent fa├žade.

The discerning eyes will immediately recognize the inimitable mid-century art style of the prolific Shag. Utilizing highly intensified saturated colours, Shag’s artworks are a manifestation of swankiness belonging to the high-end society: distortedly skinny men in their tight-fitting tuxedo dinner suits, women of curvy shape draped in leopard spot dresses, stylish bouffant hairstyles, sleuth-looking black kittens, sexy stiletto heels and classy martini glasses. The paintings are a series of unashamed and unapologetic scenes of bitchiness, jealousies and scandals.

Next in the unmissable list is Mark Ryden’s twisted fantasy involving incredibly romantic wide-eyed girls, fairytale-like creatures, elaborate Elizabethan era costumes, nostalgic old toys, skeletons, and eerie-looking monsters. The paintings flirt with one’s innocence, spiritual beliefs and inner dark thoughts. Think stunning young girl with ash blond hair wearing outrageous outfit made of bloody red meats, strolling gracefully in surrealistically beautiful garden. Each composition is stunningly pretty and outright ridiculous, quietly yet sinisterly sneers at our assumed simplicity.

Other noteworthy artworks include the dreamlike Utopian community of miniature beings by the husband and wife duo APAK, Horitomo’s tattooed cats, Matte Stephens’s modern cities in flat perspective, playful retro illustrations by Derek Yaniger, and the deafening mysterious worlds created by Andy Kehoe.


249 Elizabeth St, Melbourne


Friday 2 September 2016

ACDC Lane - in a sea of regal purple

Year 2016 is a curious and downhearted year to the universe of Rock and Roll. In April, the world grieved the departure of its music legend Prince while trying to grapple the reshuffling shock of Axl Rose becoming the lead vocalist of AC/DC. Three months later, 66-year-old bass guitarist Cliff Williams announced his intention of leaving AC/DC, a gesture carrying with it the possible ramification of terminating the lifespan of Australia’s favourite and oldest rock band.

ACDC Lane silently mourns the royal loss of Prince and reflects upon the uncertainties surrounding AC/DC by draping its wall in shades of regal purple. The previous kaleidoscopic hue of colours was replaced by street arts of a constant colour theme, transforming a highly neglected alleyway into the most harmoniously soothing gallery in Melbourne.

The lane pays homage to Prince with an enormous mural tribute of lilac backdrop, alongside Augus Young and his white-magenta devil horns. A fearsome gorilla with a massive mulberry nose gazed intently ahead, while a predator-disguised flower in bright violet gluttonously swallows a pink-eyed beetle. Music instruments of distorted shapes, washed over by a sea of lavender, congregated at the entry point of the lane. A grotesque-looking foetus and a mother cow in human form sent a sweep of silent eeriness across the place, adding a touch of mysteriousness to the enigmatic wall of ACDC Lane.

(Photos taken in August 2016) 


Off Flinders Lane, between Exhibition and Russell Street 

See also my previous post on ACDC Lane: