Now a lot of you guys would have heard about the Outpost Festival but most of you guys reading this wouldn’t have been one of the 20,000 people who flocked to Cockatoo Island to check out Australia’s first major street art festival. So I figured I’d bring the festival to you.
Despite the weather looking like the set of an Apocalypse film, the ferry ride from Circular Quay, through the harbour was an appetiser for what was to come.
Once you hopped off, you were greeted with an industrial landscape full of abandoned buildings and forgotten alleyways. (Here’s a little fun fact: Cockatoo Island was once a prison then home to the largest shipyard) The plan was to turn the gritty space into an explosion of urban art through graffiti, murals, paintings and installations. Hundreds of street artists and collectives from all around the world gathered, seducing art, music and fashion lovers to this free event.
It would be unrealistic of me to talk about each and every one of the exhibitions there, so… I have conveniently composed, Lisa’s Top Five Highlights:
1. As soon as you walk in, you’ll notice a huge skateboarding ramp setup in the middle. Professional skateboarders would teach n00bs how to skate. There was this kid being taught to jump down a ramp for the first time. It was quite cute; his mum was on the side, cheering him on… Unfortunately, he flopped straight onto his back… Yay for trying.? Amongst the Hip-Hop Djs sponsored by Redbull and the pop-up bars, the atmosphere was impressive to say the least.
2. Then as you walk around the hidden alleyways, you come across this hidden gem of a room, where people are encouraged to add their own touch of Art out of scraps of paper and hang it up as part of an installation. They want to stimulate dialogue between the viewer and the artwork without all the fancy resources. Banksy sums it up pretty well by saying “Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing.”
3. Then as you continue exploring, you’ll be overwhelmed by the 300m2 of wall space covered with pasted artworks by over 100 local and international artists, cleverly known as the Paste Modernism room. Building on what I said earlier, this medium is more than just aesthetics but the political and social messages embedded behind them.
4. Just around the corner is every T-Shirt fanatics dream come true! You’ll look up and see thousands of unique T-Shirt designs all colour co-ordinated. And on ground level, there are profiles of renowned and up and coming T-Shirt designers for you to browse, be inspired by and feel a hint of envy towards. For many, T-Shirts were a way for street artists to not only get their messages further out, but also finally make some money doing what they love.
5. And finally, but by no means, the least. You would have seen a line of people waiting to go upstairs to see probably one of the most prolific and well-known street artists, Banksy. While his stencils were flawlessly framed and hung around, diminishing the impact of actual ‘street art’, it’s amazing to see them in the flesh; those famous images that you stumble across on Google Images.
So they’re my top 5 highlights of the Outpost Festival. Writing about it, is nothing compared to actually walking amongst it all but I hope you have at least appreciated Street Art by 15% more.