Curated by UNBELIEVABLY BAD regular Glenn Smith, the inaugural show will be held at M2 Gallery, Surry Hills Sydney from October 2-4 and will feature the work of fifteen artists, including former UB cover artistes Ray Ahn, Ben Brown, Mongo Cohen, Reverend Kriss Hades and Marty Schneider.
“I am unaware of any other sort of exhibition peculiar to this country that has attempted to shine an infernal light onto the ‘secret’ work of many of the assembled artists,” says Glenno. “Most are well-known artists within the tight metal and punk communities – some esoteric, some heavy-handed and some dealing in humour, but all directing their energies into art that celebrates the sonic, multi-limbed family tree that finds its roots in archaic ceremony where music wove hypnotic portals to infinite possibility.”
Glenno hopes Arte Diabolica will become an annual event for showcasing the work of artists who have “slogged away for decades, sapping the ink from thousands of pens and visually propelling albums, posters and T-shirts into the minds and collections of heavy music enthusiasts”.
Utopia Records presents the inaugural Arte Diabolica. Opening Friday, October 2 from 6pm at M2 Gallery, 4/450 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills.
Arte Diabolica featured artists:
GILESY – A stalwart punk scene enthusiast and one of the tightest illustrative forces to have come out of it. His time-consuming lines and stippling give you some idea of the passion and sacrifice he considers paramount in anything worthy of the name Hardcore Punk. His work has graced the sleeves of such bands as Toe to Toe, Poison Idea, AVO, Vae Victis, Mindsnare, Deathraid, Downtime and Darkhorse.
FRENCH – Real name Richard Sayer, from the U.K., he is a true internationalist, touring the globe on a heavy metal/skate crusade, mixing up old school metal imagery in some of the hippest new school galleries, all the while pursuing his love of skateboarding and its own visual sub-cultures.
GLENNO – Or Glenn Smith, is an art mercenary with a love of illustration and punk/metal imagery, having done work for hundreds of bands and festivals like Slaughterfest, Obscene Extreme, Doomsday Festival, Bloodduster, Pod People, Levitation hex, King Parrot, The Meanies, Napalm Death, Acid King, Cough, The Bronx, Propagandhi, Hammerlord, Conquest for Death etc….has also made noise with his old band Lawnsmell, The Splatterheads and current band Chinese Burns Unit. This is one of dozens of shows he has curated. He is a sucker for punishment.
RAY AHN – Current Utopia staff member, bassplayer of such incredible bands as The Hard-Ons, Nunchukka Superfly and many other noisy projects has been mutating pop-culture iconography into his own unique illustrative vocabulary of symbols, concepts and narratives. He is unashamedly a music fan and takes music very seriously. When it comes to art he has admitted he can take or leave it but he has garnered a loyal fanbase of folk who take his art as seriously as he takes his music. Never scared to slaughter sacred cows or use humour where it is not normally welcomed, Ray’s art is testament to his staunch devotion to the truth, shit-stirring and music that moves you.
KEEPSAKE – An illustration and design studio with a love for screen-printed artwork, Keepsake Design brings together Sydney illustrator Annie Walter and Melbourne Art Director Mark Van De Beek to combine their shared design passion and music industry experience. They have carved out a niche for themselves in the ltd-ed gig poster having created customised artwork for the likes of Soundgarden, Slipknot, Tame Impala and Mastodon, amongst others.
BEN BROWN – Draws skulls, metric tonnes of them, and has for decades. The vocalist of well-loved northern beaches band The Hellmenn inked art for his band as well as hardcore monsters Massappeal. He has consistently created art for bands as well as keeping his love affair with surfin’ front and centre.
ROHAN CARTER – Draws with a strength of emotion and mood like no other obsessed with the darker corners of life. His label – For Whom the Bell Tolls – demonstrates from design to design his skilled and deliberate re-interpretations of heavy metal imagery in ways that are usually heavy-handed and meaningless. No mean feat in a genre of art (that we celebrate in this exhibition) that is accused of stereotypes, over-used symbolism and shallow conceptualism.
MIKE FOXALL – Also known as Fox Trotsky is another Utopia Records Alumnist. He has played in such bands as Nancy Vandal, Musk and recently in the stoner-vibes wizard-lovin’ band Neptune Power Federation. Not scared to rub caustic humour into the weeping sores of heavy metal, Fox has a reputation as a drawing/painting juggernaut. His big concept animations, albums, comics and gallery pieces are testament to his love of big “R” rock and the many satirical contradictions of this worshipful culture.
REV KRISS HADES – An enigma wrapped in a riddle flushed down an abyss of infinite evil and re-assembled daily as a flesh and bone creature often seen walking about Sydney wearing a black top hat. Hades has played in many bands, including the kvlt as fvck Sadistik Exekution and Nazxul, as well as his many diabolic solo ventures of diabolical guitar virtuosity. His visual art is dark, impressive and sinister. Intensely detailed and dealing in the sort of symbolic esotericism that fosters fear and loathing in some viewers. I am sure that this is exactly the sort of bad vibes Kriss feeds upon. His hunger for this is insatiable and talents obvious, even to the plebs he’d like to obliterate.
ART OF NERDGORE – Or Rich Sampson, is an artist nerd with a tendency for gore. Case closed. His festering creations balance nicely the grotesque gore themes of metal with the tongue-in-cheek evil that keeps fundamentalist ministers from good night sleepage. He hails from the not-that-evil (or maybe the very-secretly-evil) town of Coffs Harbour.
MARTY SCHNEIDER – A musician and illustrator from the northern beaches of Sydney, his bands Mergatroid and Chroma mine a sonic vein of Aussie punk rock much loved here and overseas. Marty draws mad monsters and has done art for such monster-loving bands as Clowns, Frank Rizzo, Michael Crafter, Rust, Sumeru, Los Hombre Del Diablo
MURDOCH STAFFORD – A Brisbane-based illustrator who has done work for bands like Teargas, Dick Nasty, Tragedy, Kromosom, Forward, Earthless, as well as his own band Last Chaos and brand Witchcraft.
STEVE ‘MONGO’ COHEN – Has played in some rip-snorting bands including Cut Sick and Flour, and is no slouch when it comes to illustration or screen-printing stuff for bands (which he does to make a crust). He has designed stuff for bands like Poison Idea, D.R.I., The Shrine, I Exist, Batpiss, and is inspired and respectfully tips his hat to some of the great artists that have worked within the heavy metal and punk underground.
YEAP – Before migrating to Australia, Yep played in Malaysian hardcore bands Mass Seperation and Kamakaze 45. In Australia he has played in Pisschrist, Bloody Hammer, Whitehorse and Kromosom. As an animator he goes by the art name of Human Warhead, has a label called Hardcore Victim, and designs brilliant punk images.