Abyss. 607

Profile of an aerosol artist: Abyss .607

Abyss .607 originally hails from Merimbula on the NSW South Coast and moved to Canberra around six years ago. His street name is a visual form that reflects and expressive his own thoughts: ‘sometimes dark, but not evil; bright but not to burn, and endless with a destination only you can give yourself’1.

He is a prolific aerosol artist in Canberra, and is best known for unusual pieces based on creatures called ‘seers’. I have shown examples of his work at:

He started out by defacing faces on billboards and other advertising with red eyes. He quickly moved on to graffiti and paste-ups of extremely detailed seers. In interviews, Abyss stated that seers were profits who could read the past and see into the future.

His pieces show up in some difficult to reach locations, such as on top of suburban supermarkets and city banks, and on the sides of high rise buildings.

In one article, Abyss was quoted as saying, ‘Leaning out isn’t scary at all. It’s getting up there. We scaled a pole, crept across a rotting roof full of holes, and this time we didn’t have a rope, so we had to use an extension cord.2

Abyss’s street art can be identified by:

  • tags (an image of an eye under a triangle)
  • throw-ups (a large lettered ‘ABYS’ in two colours)
  • stickers (seers)
  • blockbusters (huge ‘ABYSS’)
  • pieces (seers and other creatures, often accompanied by his name and/or a tag)
  • heaven (pieces in difficult to reach locations).

So what motivates this prolific creator who has plastered every main thoroughfare in Canberra?

‘What I want to try and bring across is an image or form that when someone sees it, it makes them think a little different or view there surroundings in new light. There are so many blank minds out there. If I can spark someones imagination and spirit by what they see, I’m happy.’3

After only a few years on the streets of Canberra, Abyss has become recognised as a credible artist. He has been featured in public and solo exhibitions, such as Pastemodernism #3 at Sydney’s Cockatoo Island in 2011 and Index Fossils at Canberra’s Hippo bar in 2012. He was an artist-in-residence for MAY’S: The May Lane Street Art Project exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre. And he was commissioned to produce large paste-ups for the Canberra Museum and Gallery’s ‘You are here’ festival in 2012.  He has even produced his own line of merchandise, including jackets and t-shirts.

In an interview, Abyss said that doing art on the street was a natural progression for an avid skater, who was always searching for new places in Canberra to skate. He never studied art but he had been drawing since he was a child.

‘I was really influenced by the street art I’d seen in photos from around the world and Canberra was really lacking so it really gave me the drive to open peoples eyes to this amazing movement.’4

Abyss prefers to work with spraypaint, and uses acrylic paint, markers and brushes for his paste-ups, which are frequently on brown wrapping paper for optimal impact on bland urban walls.

While Abyss tries to support others local artists, and has mentioned HOUL, SWERFK, SANCHO, BYRD and ELK in the past, he is more influenced by ancient art from other cultures, as well as Brazilian street art. Closer to home he has cited the Everfresh crew in Melbourne as an influence.

Speaking about his artistic process gives insight into graffiti as a true art form.

‘A lot of the time I see a spot.  I think first of what would be best suited for it: ie. paste up if it’s a busy spot where I’d like to put something nice, or spray paint if I have got the time to cover and do something big. Paste-ups can be really effective on different coloured/textured walls, so sometimes I will make something (specific) for the wall.  My paste-ups are hand painted mostly with acrylic and do take some time to make, depending upon the size. Pretty much all of my street work is done at night.  I think I’ve only done one outside wall in Canberra where I was commissioned.’5

Abyss says that his art form has been an evolutionary process.

‘I’ve always been drawing monsters and strange entities. The main character I do I call “Seers”. They are watchers of time and space, on the walls they guide the heart and the spirit with strength for those who view them with unchained minds. They also stand as glyphs symbolising our demise, depicting nostalgic ancient art and abstraction warning us of a bleak future if we don’t change for the better.’6

You can find Abyss .607 on Facebook or follow his blog at http://abyss607.blogspot.com.au.


FOOTNOTES

  1. janie2095 (2013). 5 questions with Abyss .607, Street Art blog. Accessed by the author 24 August 2013 http://2095-streetart.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/5-questions-with-abyss607.html
  2. James Fahy and Kayla Martin (2012). Drawn skyward. BMA Magazine. Accessed by the author 13 August 2013 http://www.bmamag.com/articles/exhibitionist/20120703-abyss-607/
  3. Grandscene (2012). Art from the depths, GrandScene blog. Accessed by the author 24 August 2013 http://grandscene.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/vast-and-endless-abyss-607/
  4. Tkalcevic, L. (2012). Artist feature: Abyss .607, Daddy Issues blog. Accessed by the author 24 August 2013 http://daddyissues.com.au/artist-feature-abyss-607/
  5. janie2095 (2013). 5 questions with Abyss .607, Street Art blog. Accessed by the author 24 August 2013 http://2095-streetart.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/5-questions-with-abyss607.html
  6. janie2095 (2013). 5 questions with Abyss .607, Street Art blog. Accessed by the author 24 August 2013 http://2095-streetart.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/5-questions-with-abyss607.html

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