Two-hundred-and-fifty hours to paint a wall? We’re pretty confident Michelangelo didn’t put that much time into the Sistine Chapel. Okay, it took the artist-come-ninja turtle four years but it’s rare you’d associate the same commitment to a modern day graffiti artist.
But Josh Smith, owner of Adelaide’s Espionage Gallery, and inaugural Red Bull Curates the Fringe artist is here to tell us that stencil graffiti art ain’t just fun and games.
“I can spend anywhere between 10 and 250 hours just cutting stencils and then painting it might take me anywhere from 20 minutes to five or six hours depending on the layers,” said Josh, who painted three sections of wall at Hindley Street’s Cuckoo Bar on Friday.
“It’s a thought-out process. Generally the free-hand stuff is four-to-six hours to do, so there’s a lot of time and effort.”
By the sounds of it, it’s a punish. And let us not forget the six hours of fumes that could leave that can dissolve, or enhance, the creative process – depending which way you look at it.
Josh’s work on Friday was the first instalment of six pieces which will grace the walls of selected, cult venues throughout Adelaide during the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Each wall is painted by a different artist and is a chapter in a six-wall story, detailing what the 24-day Fringe arts festival means to the respective artists.
“And it just happens to be the biggest, busiest time in Adelaide of the year,” Josh says, “On opening night alone, you could combine all the of the major festivals and New Years Eve, and you still wouldn’t get the same atmosphere. It’s very daunting given what Fringe means to this city. And it means a lot of different things to different people.”
And the brief?
“The only brief I had was it was about that every wall tells a story and we got background information on Fringe,” said Josh, a graffiti artist of 12 years and member of the Toy Soldiers Army.
“But it’s really up to the artists. It’s amazing and it wasn’t until I committed myself to it that I realised I was the first person to have the opportunity to paint one of six walls, not only for Red Bull but for Fringe as well.
“It’s a packed house everywhere and there might be a few people gassed out from the aerosol fumes. Haha!”
The remaining five chapters of the story will be brought to life from tonight and continue over the next three weeks.
CHAPTER 1 - JOSHUA SMITH – CUCKOO BAR – FRIDAY 24th FEBRUARY, 6PM
CHAPTER 2 -TARNS – ELECTRIC CIRCUS – SATURDAY 25th FEBRUARY, 10AM
CHAPTER 3 –TS & guest, Ndec (Japan) – DOG & DUCK – SUNDAY 4th MARCH, 3PM
CHAPTER 4 - SMILES & ANKLES – DUKE OF YORK – THURSDAY 8th MARCH, 3PM
FINAL CHAPTER – TS & guest, Ndec (Japan) – ED CASTLE - FRIDAY 16th MARCH, 4PM