Overview and a warning. (photo © Spencer Elzey)
Cockatoo Island is the Governor’s Island of Sydney. The ferry leaves Circular Quay, motors beside the shimmering tiles of the Sydney Opera House, sweeps underneath the arching Harbor Bridge and the tourist who pay $200 for a chance to climb the upper deck above. Twenty minutes later, a large “No Trespassing” sign begins to become in focus. We have arrived at the Outpost Project.
Anthony Lister. (photo © Spencer Elzey)
The island, who’s past includes an old Imperial prison and one of Australia’s largest shipyards, welcomes each street art enthusiast with a detailed information brochure. The inner cover contains a fairly easy to follow map of what lies ahead. Right away three large inflatables (imagine a small grounded hot air balloon) greet you adorned with Anthony Lister’s iconic caricatures. The info packet says it best when describing the images; the “superheroes are never indomitable conquerors or unequivocal villains.” Straddled by two of these is a large piece by Belgium artist, and frequent Brooklyn talent, ROA.
ROA. (photo © Spencer Elzey)
Follow the art around the corner through a mural-lined alley between two buildings and some familiar styles present themselves including the stick-figure arms by Perth Street Artist Creepy.
Creepy and Daek. (photo © Spencer Elzey)
The second floor of one of these buildings is the current home to a large private collection of work by Banksy. The OI YOU! Collection had an interesting start, but where it currently stands is 22 pieces by Banksy. Intermixed are items by Faile, Swoon and others. The husband and wife team collecting behind OI YOU!, George Shaw and his wife Shannon Webster, sold both of their cars and re-directed a home improvement loan to feed their need for owning more street art.
Kid Zoom…and documentation of the destruction of three Holden Commodores. (photo © Spencer Elzey)
Inside the main building, known as the Industrial Precinct, MOX (Mark Cawood) is hard at work. After over 120 hours of intricate stencil cutting, his diligence is well on its way toward a completed final product. At the end of the hall, behind the small traffic jam of mangled cars, is a life size recreation of the childhood home of Street Artist and fine artist Kid Zoom.
Kid Zoom. “Home” The artist recreate a scale reproduction of his childhood home from early adolescent memory… (photo © Spencer Elzey)
Located deeper within the hall of the Industrial Precinct are two other impressive arrays; NEXT by T-World and Pastemodernism 3. Both of these installations, while serious in their scope, were whimsical at heart. The NEXT collection, overseen by “Melbourne-born T-shirt messiah Eddie Zammit,” asks 20 artists to assemble over 1,500 T-shirts to display. Local shout-outs included Barcade in Williamsburg and Katz’s Deli on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Pastemodernism 3, now in it’s third year at OUTPOST, is the self-proclaimed “largest celebration of ‘paste-ups’ in Australia.” Over 100 artists had a part in this collaboration.
A view of the T Shirt installation. (photo © Spencer Elzey)
Traversing the Artery, a limestone lined subterranean tunnel, one passes by a “rogue gallery of 30 hand picked Australian street artists” including HA HA, Ghostpatrol, Numskull, Dmote and Yok, just to name a few.
The Art Gallery in the Tunnel. (photo © Spencer Elzey)
Upon exiting, you end up back at the beginning, next to the “No Trespassing” sign and amongst a collection by Will Coles. His concrete cast items, usually adorned with a word or two, are lifelike enough even the Seagulls seemed a bit confused.