Paint the Polytechnic

Prahran’s new look gallery

Artwork by Sofles, 2016  

You might have noticed that our Prahran campus is looking a lot more colourful these days. Leading Melbourne artists, Reka ONE, Guido van Helten  and Sofles, have created large-scale artworks specifically for our Paint the Polytechnic project.

Produced and curated by Juddy Roller  (specialists in street art and graffiti management), with support from the City of Stonnington and Chapel Street Precinct, the works continue the legacy of the street art tradition in Melbourne.

“It’s great to see our educational institutes taking such a forward thinking approach to the visual regeneration of their facilities,” says Shaun Hossack curator at Juddy Roller.

“Street art is quickly becoming the fastest growing art movement in Australia and by supporting works of this scale, Melbourne Polytechnic is at the forefront of the movement.”

Street art culture

Street art emerged in the late 1990s, as a cultural practice in many cities around the world. Melbourne in particular has been prominent in producing global street and graffiti artists, who often start out in laneways, alleyways and train lines.

The looming monochromatic nature of Sofles’ stylised image of a young woman dominates the side of the otherwise grey non-descript Building H. The vertical form stretches your gaze upwards in a field of abstraction. The young women looks like she could be an anime character, and Sofles technical skill is evident in the sense of control he has in creating such a dynamic image with thick black Lichtenstein strokes. Beginning as a graffiti artist in Brisbane, he has worked collaboratively with the likes of Anthony Lister, Ben Frost and Revok.

Artwork by Guido van Helten, 2016

Artist Guido van Helten took an entirely different approach. His process began with taking photos and working with the profoundly deaf contemporary dancer Anna Seymour. Over the course of five days, Guido transferred the image to the seven-storey wall creating a photo realist portrait of the dancer. With her hair falling down, but eyes raised to the sky full of possibilities, the humanism of the image interacts with the architecture of the building. Guido’s exceptional work can be seen around the world, in cities such as Florida in the United States, Avdiivka in Ukraine, Helsinki in Finland and beyond. Check out The Age article.  

Well known for his iconic clean flat aesthetic, Reka ONE (James Reka) is a self-taught Australian artist based in Berlin. The painting he created for Paint the Polytechnic creates a conversation against the green of the trees with large birds and flowers in a glowing evergreen colour field. His style has been described as surrealist, typified through a bold palette. His work has also captured the attention of the National Gallery of Australia where they acquired his work for their permanent collection.

Artwork by Reka ONE, 2016

Be part of Prahran's creative campus

Prahran campus offers a range of exciting creative courses, including Music Production, Music Performance, Photography, Photo Imaging, Interior Decoration, Visual Art, Jewellery, Object Design, Live Production, Theatre Studies, Screen and Media and Architecture. Find the course  that’s right for you.

Find out a bit about the history of the Prahran campus. Do you know the two significant Australian artists who studied on this campus in the 1930s?