In Conversation With: KIRPY

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With our lastest exhibition ‘Outside In’ up on the walls this month, we’d like to revisit our ‘In Conversation’ interview with Kirpy. Kirpy’s works are included in the exhibition and his interview articulately expresses the conceptual thrust of ‘Outside In’: asserting the value of street art in the realm of contemporary printmaking.

In Conversation With: Kirpy

by Laura Kirkham

Kirpy is a contemporary artist whose work testifies that stencil art has a place beyond the street. Although drawing from the same urban influences as the street art genre, Kirpy’s work deviates in its intricate re-imagining of the possibilities of stencil art. His work layers a minimum of six finely-cut stencils to create photo-realistic snapshots of the urban landscape and its inhabitants. Typically sprayed on cardboard, Kirpy’s works progresses not only the medium of stencil art, but the printmaking industry itself. His work embodies a paradox of stylistic sophistication and fresh perspective that offers the print making world something truly contemporary. I talked to Kirpy recently about the release of new works at PJP.

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Your last show was heavily influenced by your time in Berlin and the urban landscape, what are your current inspirations?

My inspirations are closer to home, definitely. I was heavily inspired by Berlin, as it was my first time living away from Melbourne for an extended period of time. Before I left, I found Melbourne quite stagnant, but having distanced myself from it for a while, I’m seeing it with a new energy and freshness. This is inspiring me at the moment; I live and work around Fitzroy, so those areas are feeding into my recent ideas.

The new works we have at PJP are a part of a series following ‘Cardboard Buffer’, a piece that was very popular and sold out in your November 2015 show Kunst; can you tell us a bit more about these works and how they relate to your progressing style?

The re-invigorated passion I have for Melbourne has followed through with how I approach painting onto cardboard; I want to play around with the possibilities of the medium as a surface, whether that be sculptural, or using the cardboard as a part of the narrative of the work. In the new works; ‘You Buff, We Paint’ and ‘You Paint, We Buff’ the printed figure interacts with the cardboard it’s stenciled on.

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Can you give a brief description of your stenciling process?

All works start with a sketch or photograph, which I then use to create a digital mock up. I then divide the work into at least six stencils, using each to introduce shadow, texture and line. I also use mark-making processes like painting to give works extra visual dimensions and added texture.

People tend to view stencil art as street art, or ‘outsider’ art in a dialogue that undermines it as a legitimate form of making art? How actively does your work seek to realign stencil art with notions of fine art?

I’m a contemporary artist working in fine art and I don’t define myself as a street artist, so I like to think that my work automatically defines itself in the same way. In terms of comparison between street art, my art re-contextualises stencil art to a gallery context, but outside of that stencil art is simply my medium. If my art requires me to do stencil art in a street art setting, I approach it from a fine art perspective that puts the work within a cultural or historic context. For example, in Berlin I was commissioned to do some street art on a piece of the Berlin Wall; it was street art, but it was supported by a context and approach that was conceptually driven and artistic.

How would you describe your work to somebody who had never seen it?

Photo realistic, detailed street scenes done via stencils and paint on found materials.

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All works by Kirpy are available to view both in the gallery and online (link provided below)

KIRPY ARTIST PAGE