Are Graffiti artists social commentators, propaganda artists or vandals?
There is a very fine line between street art being art or vandalism. Personally I feel like it counts as vandalism when you see the random tags on fences and at the back of buildings or in abandoned places but when you see some actual effort put into it then it counts as art whether they’re getting commissioned or not. Overall I feel like they’re social commentators and they have the power to impact a mass group of people. But when it comes to artists like Phibs, I feel like he’s trying to get rid of the stigma that all street art is vandalism by creating amazing art pieces.
When it comes to street art/graffiti, Phibs is among the most renowned and respected names in Australia. His public art is creative and eye-catching in places such as Melbourne and Sydney. In Melbourne he has painted on walls around Fitzroy, an inner suburb within the city, which soon became known as “Phibsroy” by the locals. Phibs was originally from Sydney and came from a strong graffiti background as he was very active in community programs, which intentionally sparked his artistic potential of this now popular art form. Whilst in Sydney he also got commissioned to decorate a number of buildings such as Max Brenner’s in Paddington, the glow café in Newton and a number of alleyways.
In 2001 he moved to Melbourne, which exposed him to an ever-evolving Melbourne street art scene and joined the Ever fresh Studio collective along side with street artists, Rone and Mike Makka. It was also here where he made a name within the fine arts world and very quickly became one of the cities most respected and renowned artists – both on and off the streets.
Phibs works signifies the symbiotic. Engaging the urban with the organic. His works comes across in many different mediums and always consistently reflects his own unique realms of mythology, symbolism and multiculturalism. His works incorporate interwoven and overlapping letters and characters. Also largely inspired by nature his works also feature many animals such as fish, foxes and birds in a bright and vibrant mix of complimentary colours. He also explores an interest in shapes by fragmenting and breaking up these subjects. Another theme that can be found in his works is the use of indigenous and tribal motifs, particularly koru style curls.