For us it all began with stenciling. After such a conservative variety of art forms over the years, a ripple of something new in the art world in 2002 -03 was enough for Jen and I to have a raised curiosity, to say the least! Moving to Melbourne in that period was amazing; I was suddenly exposed to art everywhere! Graffiti in council approved areas, sculptures free standing in the middle of the city and of course stenciling! It was like a permanent outdoor gallery set up for everyone to enjoy.
After witnessing my first Melbourne Stencil Graffiti Exhibition… this truly inspiring and mind blowing exhibition, I ran home and called Jen saying “We NEED to start stenciling!” From that moment on we were stenciling like demons in two separate cities, spray painting stencils onto what ever we could find! Here is an example of some of Jen’s early work –
Spray painted on butchers paper always gave a true impression on how it would paint up.
Jen photographing a stencil wall in Melbourne city (this wall was actually the side of a photography store!) 04
It was an exciting time to be entering into an art based business! The creative side of the business world in that period just blew up. Graphics and illustrations of all types were being professionally recognised, very raw and organic methods were being applied to very traditional methods – the creative buzz was undeniable and we found ourselves fitting in perfectly! After stenciling nearly everything in our homes, it was a natural next step to put the stencils onto T-shirts! This was without a doubt the very important seed being planted into what would soon become IMOK.
By furthering our creative desires and not limiting our artistic pallet to one medium, these stencils we had created found new ways to be used and heavily within our style of work. This can be seen in graphics that were created from the above stencils –
Original graphic of "Through the Cities" Created in Photoshop 06
Original graphic of "Tattooed in Black" Created in Photoshop 06
These graphics and ones like them were created when we introduced another element to the IMOK portfolio – our character illustrations and water colour washes. Once we have created a collection of graphics, they can then appear on things that range from T shirts right through to canvases. The following are examples of both -
Catalogue image of “Through the cities” graphic on a deep V T-shirt 07
Tattooed in Black – 36x36 inch canvas Acrylic and watercolour 07
“Through the Cities” 18x18 in canvas Acrylic and watercolour 07
After featuring stencils in our work from the early stages of the stenciling movement, we have watched it pass from political, to street, to pop culture. No matter where the IMOK path is headed, we know that will never be able shake the street edge and influence that began this entire IMOK expedition…. And for that we are eternally grateful!
All images copyright IMOK 2010