You need to check out Sofles at White Night

White Night is enveloping the CBD in just over 24 hours and there’s one work in particular you definitely need to see.

Brisbane-born and world-renown graffiti artist Sofles is working with Juddy Roller studios, animator Grant Osborne, video director Selina Miles, and Opiuo to create an artwork combing 3D mapping and graffiti.

You might have seen or heard about the concept of 3D mapped graffiti, but Sofles and his creative partners have taken a different approach to what has been done before.

“With this mural, unlike a lot of the other projects which are mapping a 3D surface, this is mapping out the different parts of the mural,” he says. “I’m obviously the mural artist, so that’s my part of it, and then I’ve come up with a story to animate the piece. I work with the animator Grant Osborne and we choose different shapes in the piece. I don’t understand the computer stuff as well, but he basically maps out the different shapes of the piece and he can render certain parts of it or make different bits come to life, or different parts pop out or disappear. We’ve worked on that together and come up with a 7-minute animation.”

The interactive mural will play seven minutes on, seven minutes off, and repeat itself from 7pm to 7pm. For those seven minutes the carpark will also be “a bit of a party” with Opiuo in charge of the accompanying track. “It’s a really good team we’ve got together.  I’ve been listening to the track over and over and it’s really good,” says Sofles.

The location of Sofles’ work was meant to be a secret until tomorrow night, allowing people to search for the work or stumble across it by accident, but when you’re painting a storey or more high it tends to catch people’s notice. You’ll be able to find the work in the carpark on Mackenzie Street, between La Trobe and Victoria Streets.

“I think at first they wanted to keep it as more of a surprise,” Sofles says. “But after the mural was painted a lot of people came down and were like ‘What’s this for? What’s this for?’ So they were trying to keep it a bit secret but it didn’t last too long.”

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Creative Director of White Night, Andrew Walsh, described the commissioned piece as a type of homecoming for Sofles, descibing him as “pretty much unknown in Australia, but he’s a guy who’s really [the equal of] Banksy.” Sofles isn’t so sure, but he does think it’s an important work for him and for the Australian graffiti scene.

“I think it’s always good to do big projects in Australia, whether it’s in my hometown Brisbane or definitely Melbourne, I always seem to have a lot of fun painting down there, he says. “But I think it came at the perfect time, it’s a really big opportunity, and I think it’s a really good twist for White Night to be doing this sort of stuff. I feel pretty special to be doing it in Australia.”

The piece is an ambitious project in film and paint, but not Sofles’ first. Working with his long time collaborative partner, Selina Miles, the two of them have continually pushed the boundaries of paint and film.

“My strong point has always been in painting but I think there’s only so much that you can do with just one visual – like painting a wall and taking a photo, there’s only so much you can do with it,” he says. “Whereas when you introduce the film to it you can bring it to life so much more, you can show people a lot more with a video clip than you can with a single image.”

He and Selina started their collaborations in video and graffiti young, “just doing some really simple graffiti video stuff.” From there it’s evolved into an ever-reaching creative pursuit, several of their videos getting millions of views on YouTube.

“Over the years, [we’ve] both been getting better at our craft and starting to do some more experimental projects like ‘Limitless’, the ‘Infinite’ one. They’re the two videos that went pretty well for us. I think it’s a great way to just show people something different and that they haven’t really seen before. A lot of the time people don’t see graffiti getting done, so it’s good if you can show someone how it gets done or in a really cool way like a timelapse in some sort of crazy edit. Selina’s really good at what she’s done, so it’s always good working with her.”

Letting people see how it’s done and having the opportunity to change people’s minds about graffiti by reaching a wider audience is part of what drives him in these kinds of works as well.

“I don’t think many people look at the stuff that we do and go ‘oh that’s really bad’. It’s not malicious, it’s not doing anything to hurt people, it’s actually quite the opposite, we just want to make and create cool artwork, and show people a bit of colour really. That’s always good and important. A lot of what we’re doing is transforming a lot of old abandoned spaces into something that is new, or making these old decrepit places a bit brighter, or using the landscape we live in for something a bit different.

“Anyone who really doesn’t like graffiti, I think they’re usually more confused about graffiti writing in the first place. I understand if they’ve had their fence tagged they might not be too happy but there’s a different side to every story. A lot of graffiti writers, they just want to paint a wall.”

Originally published 20 February 2015 on TheVine.com.au

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