INTERVIEW : Melissa Grisancich

Melbourne Based Artist Melissa Grisancich is gearing up for her show ” When you Sleep” which opens this friday at RVCA gallery in Melbourne. We caught up to shoot the breeze real quick.

MD: Hey Melissa, how are you?

MELL G: Exhausted but very well thanks!


MD:Tell me a little bit about what you have been cooking up for your show “ when you sleep”?

MELL G: The show will consist of a body of work that I’ve been working on in the RVCA Gallery since January. I’ve been painting, making sculptures, sewing and pushing myself with my work more than I usually would.

MD:There seems to be a subtle nod to religious iconography within the works, If the characters had a religion what would there guidelines be?

MELL G:That’s something I like to carry throughout the themes of my work, iconography and religious iconography are consistent throughout my work but I like to change the story every time I make a new set of work. It comes from my Italian background and what I grew up with, I’m not religious at all but I have basically created my own interpretation on Saints and what they could stand for in my own world. A lot of my characters symbolise strength, anxiety, life and death, happiness and sadness. The bright colours represent the beauty in all of those aspects. I don’t like to use much black or grey at all for that reason.

MD: Is there a definite vision before starting work on a blank canvas or does it evolve with the stokes?

MELL G:This is when I start to think I’m a bit of a strange human being, I can’t use a sketchbook, I have an idea and I may scribble it on some paper so I don’t forget but in most cases it goes straight onto canvas. I get impatient and I know I’ll come up with ideas along the way as I’m painting. I think of ideas when I’m listening to music or simply walking down the street, it’s all very random.

MD:What is your favourite hour of the day and why?

MELL G:Hmm, I’m going to go with 12pm, it’s halfway through the day, lunchtime is soon and that’s when I’m finally awake and ready to be productive.

MD:What are the essentials you need around while creating works, coffee? music? old movies playing in the background?

MELL G:I definitely need no distractions and some music playing. I’ve settled with podcasts now. Other than that a mug of fresh coffee and a few books to look at for ideas.

MD:If you could curate a group show with anyone you wanted dead or alive, who else would you choose? and what would you call it?

MELL G: If I could have Picasso, Frida, and Charles Schulz all come back from the dead to do a show about their childhood in paintings I’d be happy. I wouldn’t be in the show but I’d love to watch and learn from them. I’d let Charles Schulz draw the flyer and name the show with Frida and Pablo as peanuts characters.

MD:Are any of these characters based on stories or characters you have heard/read about? if so tell me about one.

MELL G: One of the saints that I have painted is a homage to Santa Lucia. Lucia is my “saint name” given to me as a child. She is a form of a protector and has a crown of candles and eyes on a platter. She’s also a card that’s stuck to my Nonna’s front door to protect the house. I find that kind of thing beautiful.

MD:whats next?

MELL G: I want to start working on prints and maybe some zines too.

“When You Sleep” opens on Friday Night 5-8

RVCA GALLERY  82 Stanley Street Collingwood


TWO ONE from Michael Danischewski on Vimeo.

With the introduction of Perspex and fluorescent light in this series, TWOONE has again discovered a new process by which to define his subjects. His treatment of paint on the Perspex surface is in stark contrast to that on his canvases. Working in reverse, TWOONE builds up the paint before pushing, pulling and wiping it away to reveal the image. It has required him to be more physically instinctive and responsive than ever before. It has also left a lot to chance, particularly the tonal range left by a smudge or a scrape that could never be completely controlled and is only revealed in full under the fluorescent lighting. As they glow beyond the outer edges of the frame, these paintings appear to not only to mimic an x-ray in their skeletal framework, but to again fortify the ties to sun gods of light and warmth as radiating beings.

Be it through his large-scale wall works, his deftly crafted ceramic busts or his prolific painting practice, TWOONE’s distinctive take on humanity and the animal kingdom is profound. It is conceivable that TWOONE is intentionally recording these figures as creatures to be worshipped, much like the deities of ancient civilisations. It is also possible that these works are in fact a subconscious, spiritual belief played out through his art practice. Whatever the case may be, TWOONE is an artist resisting categorisation.

More details via

Opens The 10th of October 6-10  at BACKWOODS GALLERY

Exhibition : Across the Top : MARCUS DIXON

A new exhibition and first solo show from Newcastle native Marcus Dixon. The show is an illustrative exploration into the untold story of the true characters and creatures of Australia.

Previously having completed projects with Slam Magazine, Passport, Converse and Grand scheme and a member of the 615 collective. Marcus has been carving his unique style into what promises to be a stellar solo show.

Opens Tomorrow  ( Wednesday night) from 6-9pm   10-9-2014

At The Tate Gallery,

345 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, New South Wales 2037


FUZI UV TPK from RC x MD on Vimeo.

Melbourne based photographers Ryan Cookson and Michael Danischewski have teamed up to produce a new video portrait – FUZI UV TPK.

Throughout the 1990’s, French artist FUZI grew up in the suburbs of Paris on a diet of graffiti and gang culture as part of the prolific crew UV TPK. In the mid 90’s, he pioneered a childlike yet brutal style of graffiti known as ‘Ignorant Style’. In the last few years, he has transitioned from graffiti to tattooing and developed an international following. With clients such as Os Gemeos, Diplo, Justice and Scarlett Johansson, he continues to travel around the globe, making his mark and exhibiting his work.

Documented on a recent trip to Australia, FUZI gives an insight into his current working practice and an uncompromising look at his time in France during the mid 90’s.

INTERVIEW: Patrick Martinez

Patrick Martinez has been steady walking the path of street life in LA and producing gallery based works that reflect that. I caught up with him briefly to have a chat about all things rap, street violence and shiny lights

This is how it went down at Carbon Festival 2014

MD- So you live in LA what’s that like and how does it affected your work?

PM-  All my inspiration in terms of my artwork is taken from my surroundings and the people in the landscape. Its everything like all the little in-between nooks and cranny’s. All the places you don’t really hear about inspires the work. It could be objects, people, places and the physical landscape I mean its great i love living there. I love travelling but i always look forward to going home and hanging out with friends and family.

MD- So you have a history with graffiti and hip hop. Is that something that you value and think is important within your artistic career?

PM- Yeah the graffiti and rap and hip hop that kinda subculture is, its kind of embedded you know. Its just something i find in my tool box and i use it sometimes because it familiar and its part of me so i take it out and i use it as ammo for  some of the work. I can speak honestly with it because its always been around and i know the  culture, I follow it still and i do listen to other music i do obviously look at other art but its still kinda resonates and its creeps out often in my work.

I don’t physically do graffiti anymore  but i went through that in my early teens and it was kind of where i started. I picked up a spray can before a paint brush, that was kinda strange to me now looking back. Those are some deep roots so i cant deny that and i cant deny the soundtrack to my upbringing with rap music and understanding the hip hop culture and the subcultures and shit.

MD- Yeah in Australia we are so far detached from the world that those cultures were such an external inspiration for us. Its something that if you grew up here you had to really hunt for it if you were into it, was it something that you were always into from the start?

PM- You know its just what everyone was listening too, My brother would be bumping it in his car like spice one, too short and that gangster rap shit and from then i was like submerged. All the kids in my neighbourhood were listening to that you know what i mean. Those guys were older and already driving and so they would pick me up from school and i would be always surrounded by it. Then i got into graffiti and i started getting into other sub genres of rap and that underground shit like freestyle fellowship from Los angeles. I was just trying to get a good range of rap music, it was always around so it made more sense when i started applying it to the graffiti, then i figured about  shit like wild style, style wars and it kinda just clicked but it was a different version on the west coast.

MD- We got that a little bit later, so when we saw it the music was kinda about but the visual side came after it.

PM- Yeah the visuals were different, on the west coast it wasn’t like people were burning on trains and shit they were doing freeways and walls and yards and you know there was a mixture of gang graffiti and like gang culture. A lot of my friends started with graffiti, i started going to yards with them and doing buses and writing and then they became gang members and then ended up in  prison and what ever. I continued on and now some of them are also gallery artists so its a different dynamic i guess.

MD- A lot of your phrases and images are related to LA street life, whats the craziest thing you have witnessed on the streets of LA?

PM- I used to live in Lincoln heights, its the east side of Los Angeles and i had a loft studio and it was off a main street. At like 230 am on a saturday i heard gun shots further back, looked outside and i saw somebody shooting at some else. I don’t know if he shot him but he unloaded the whole clip on somebody or something. I just ducked because i though he was going to start shooting up at my studio but the never did and it was a crazy night. i was so tripped out i couldn’t sleep. wasn’t a good thing.

MD- whoa

PM- yeah

MD- Alright on a lighter note, where did the use of neon light start as an outlet, why do you think its important?

PM- I’m not trying to use it as an aesthetic to grab people attention, I use it more as a concept of like being inspired by Los Angeles as a whole, and the objects in its city. The signs already exist in the east side of Los Angeles. Divorces, Income Tax, Open, Closed those types of neon’s that already exist, I took that format and i’m remixing it to where i’m connecting with people with messages and phrases in that format. thats where the concept kinda originated from, you know the weird thing about Los Angeles is that in the day time its so congested and the afternoon there is so much traffic and the night time is so dead and desolate you can get anywhere in like 15 minutes. So night times real still and those are when the neons start shinning and that was the inspiration, driving around and seeing them. they are almost like dialogue like someone trying to speak, so i took that and remixed it and i been doing it since 2008 just putting out different phrases and trying to connect with people.

MD- yeah run me through that, how do you come up with the phrasing that your going to use?

PM- The first one was “selling out is the new keeping it real” and that was like just something i said  and it just kinda came from the gut. If you were in the 70’s or 80’s and you had a collaboration with nike you would be a sell out but now its like “oh thats the shit, oh your doing a collaboration with somebody thats dope”. Especially a corporate brand its not looked down on as  a bad thing now its a positive thing. A lot of my artist friends are doing that and i never judged it. I just said thats just where we are at. These brands and the people that are working for them are understanding what the arts about and just kinda wanting to work with different artists in certain situations.

Its was just a phrase i kept on saying so i decided to put it neon, just direct. That’s how it is, its just something when me and my friends are talking shit and you find that there is something with guts to it and your like fuck that hits the chest and rips your guts out or it makes you think a little bit. you gotta investigate it. so i put it together, let it sit for a couple weeks and if it keeps resonating with me i will use it and put it out.

MD-Your paintings are detailed and well executed. How do you feel about creating your neon work compared to your paintings?

PM- I work with a lady in Los Angeles and we kind of create it together, i design it and if theres a painting involved i have to sit with her and kind of run through it and help her with the process and bends and stuff like that.

Its kind of like a two part process i have my studio and she has her place of business and i’m always back and forth. I’m there sitting with her doing the design and drawing it out and making sure its right because were they are coming from is like there just hammering out neon signs for businesses, there not use to anything different even though i’ve been working with them for years. 

The reason i started doing it is i wanted it raw and direct. I want that neon to be just popping onto my artwork, its not about finessing it so much or making it look likes its finessed it needs to be more direct like you just ripped it out of the f#ckin front window of a shop and you just f#cking threw it on top. its not about “oh that looks great and that looks beautiful”  its like damn what the fuck is that? is that an advertisement or is that a sign or something. they work really well with me and they are were i want to be in terms of the aesthetic of the pieces im turning out.

MD- so we are called the opening hours  and we ask this to everyone, what is your favourite hour of the day?

PM-  I would have to say right now its the night time like i like to go out when its about to hit sunset. ill go for a hike and kind of hang out and watch the sun go down until the night. Go home shower up and and attack the night. go to the studio or go out with friends.

Video: TWO ONE – Cast A Shadow

TWO ONE – Cast A Shadow from Michael Danischewski on Vimeo.

Earlier this year i got to produce a short film with artist TWO ONE before he left the shores to start a new journey over in Berlin. I tried to dive in a little deeper than i usually do. i needed to come up with something that tried to explain the depth and multidisciplinary skill that TWO ONE has within. This was a pleasure to work on. I also got to work with close friend and absolute lense guru Andrew Johnson on this project. A huge shout out to Two One who also helped create the sounds track and for letting me in to his world for a little bit.  hope you enjoy


INTERVIEW: Jeff Soto at Carbon Festival (interview)

Over the weekend of the 29th -30th of April the Carbon festival was in Melbourne, The Opening hours had the chance to pick the brains of a few of the key speakers at the festival. The weekend was full of art based and brand based lectures, It was extremely insightful dive into the world of the creative process. Over the next few days we will be launching some interviews that happened from the following speakers Levi Ramsey from Ironlak, Patrick Martinez, Janette Beckman and Stephen Malbon.

Today we have the pleasure of publishing an interview with Jeff Soto.

Jeff Soto really needs no introduction he has always been at the forefront of the illustrative arts since i was in artschool. Its easy to get lost in his magical worlds and vivid character portrayals. Here is a look at what went down when we sent Mike D to go have a chat with the the man himself.

MD- So you have been interested and involved in art from a young age, what influence of your family or surroundings do you bring to a painting?  

JS- You know my parents are both very artistic, my mom studied interior design and my dad did fish taxidermy. They were very interested in art and provided me with a lot of art books. I had a lot of weird shit to look at when i was a kid.  All kinds of weird science fiction art, books of weird artists.  I didn’t get to see a lot of museums as a kid because we were kinda poor, we didn’t live anywhere where there we museums so it was a lot of weird science fiction stuff. it defiantly made a large impact on my art and i think it still does.

Art2012BikeRideMD- So what was your favourite science fiction film growing up and how do you think you have taken that influence and put it into your work?

JS- I think my favourite film would have to be Star Wars. I was a child of the seventies. I was a little too young when it first came out, but they defiantly had a huge impact on me. Later on it was cartoons like Robotech and Voltron. i really got into that stuff as a kid.Art2012WomanMD-  You have had a pretty solid college education, do you think that education has had a major effect on your career as a painter?

JS- I know a lot of artists that college didn’t really help them that much, but i think for me because i went to art college a little bit later at 25, So i did a lot of my learning before i got in there so that really helped me out. I had a better idea of what i wanted to do. So for me college really helped. i wouldn’t be doing what i am doing with out it.  I went to community college for a number of years, like 7 years or something before that and that really helped me out too, I was in college for like 10 years all together and i have a bachelors degree, it was worth itArt2013WC2

MD- I’m pretty much the same right there, it took me so long to finish because i kept leaving and  after a while wanted to come back to study different aspects of photography.

JS- I was kinda that way, I started out studying illustration and then i was going to be a fine artist and my work was really conceptual, i did a lot of abstract work.  I did performance art for a while and i  ended up settling on things i that i loved from when i was younger.   The illustration work was really big the fine art, the graffiti, skateboard graphics, it all kinda came together when i went to college. I found a way to bring it all together and make it fun, thats my thing i wanna keep it fun and i only work on what i want to work on.

MD- Graffiti was a major part of your early career, are you still active with that and do you follow the scene? what are your thoughts about where its currently at?

JS- Graffiti is really different from when i started out, I’m not like an OG I’m not from New York i wasn’t painting in the 70’s or anything. I started painting graffiti in 89, so it was a while ago. I think what has changed a lot is the internet, we didn’t really know what graffiti was meant to look like back then, we had a few magazines that where really hard to get and there were some books we could find at the library that might have a couple of pictures of graffiti.  We were looking at those books in the 90’s and these books where made in the late 70’s early 80’s,  so we were looking at really old stuff. There wasn’t really a way to find out what was going on. Our graffiti community was just our little city and there was something really rad about that. I mean there is something rad about it now, everything is so global. i have met some really rad graffiti artists from around the world and I’ve gotten to paint with some also. There is something to be said about the old days when it was just your homies at high school and everything was really small and intimate. We really didn’t know what graffiti was meant to look like so we were doing really weird shit and i wonder if that how graffiti evolved all these different pockets of kids doing graffiti all over the globe, who didn’t really know what graffiti was supposed to look like and then it evolved into the street art we have now where anything goes and its like a creative explosion of different styles  and different ways of working. its a really cool time to be painting walls.Art2013Luxembourg1MD- You have a very distinct colour palette, is that something you think evolved naturally?

JS- My palette evolves i guess by what I’m doing in my life. I went through a phase of putting a lot of rainbow stuff in and a lot of people thought it was a gay pride thing and its not because I’m not gay. It was more a reaction to my kids toys, i had babies and all the toys were rainbow. I think i just react to whats going on in my life and i don’t totally know why i go through like a pink period or a blue period, right now I’m going through a a phase of painting a lot of purple and greens and i don’t know what ever is interest to me at the time i tend to use those colours a lot.Art2011SkullsMD- We really enjoy the translation of your detailed oil paintings to small/large scale murals and walls. Which one do you enjoy more?

JS-  Working on an exhibition and painting in the studio is a world of difference to painting on a wall because, painting a wall your dealing with problems of scale and nice people coming up and talking your ear off and aggressive people that might be pissed off about what your painting,  you have limitations as far as the time you have to finish it and you don’t really have that when your working in the studio. In the studio the work tends to be smaller so you take a bit more time, you can experiment. I mean i have experimented on a wall, usually i don’t have it totally planned out but its not the easiest environment to experiment. they are both rad for different reasons.art2009_MiamiMD- Where do you get the inspiration for your characters and the worlds you create?

JS-  A lot of it comes form childhood influences, a lot of cartoons a lot of pop culture, the graffiti world, the old science fiction comic books i used to look at, heavy metal, the artist Moebius, a lot of the star wars concept art, I’m not trying to copy that stuff I’m just trying to make it my own. Nowadays i get inspired by seeing the shows my kids are watching like adventure time and uncle grandpa and all these whacky shows on the cartoon network and you know things pop into your mind sometimes and you think that could be kinda cool you know.artRAM_UnstoppableMD- We always ask this…What’s your favourite hour of the day and why?

JS- My favourite hour of the day…you know what OK i know what it is i like to be up really late. I don’t get to be up late often because i have kids and i got get up early  to get them to school but i enjoy like 2-4 in the morning, the quietness and being alone in my studio painting after the podcast ended or whatever music i had playing ended. Its silent and i can hear a distant train or a coyote. i live in California and we got coyotes out there, thats when its really peaceful, I tend to get my best ideas when I’m starting to get really tired so the wee hours of the night!

more info about Carbon and Jeff can be found at


VIDEO: Sam Octigan – What You Can’t Forget

SAM OCTIGAN – What You Cant Forget from Michael Danischewski on Vimeo.

This Video is an insight into the creative practice of Sam Octigan, Melbourne visual artist and frontman of the hardcore punk band Iron Mind.

Detail about his upcoming solo exhibition ‘WHAT YOU CAN’T FORGET’ opening on the 10th of April at the Just Another Project Space, 6-9pm. 153 Greville St. Prahran, Melbourne.

Video produced by Michael Danischewski.

Twitter/Instagram: @samoctigan