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Young & Free Opening Sat, 9/10 @941 Geary

Written by Georgia Frances King   
Friday, 09 September 2011 12:27
Young & Free is the biggest Aussie street art exhibition outside Australia, ever, and it is exactly as chaotic as you'd imagine it to be. It features new artwork by Anthony Lister, Kid Zoom, Dabs Myla, Dmote, New2, Ben Frost, Meggs, Ha-Ha, Reka, Rone, Sofles and Vexta.

Having thirteen of not only Australia but the world's best street artists compressed into one city space is the artistic equivalent of a paint-splattered war zone. Tiny multi-coloured flecks of stencil cut outs adorn the floor like creative confetti, half painted canvases are stacked up against walls, dozens and dozens of boxes of spray paint are pilled in corners and the sounds of circle saws and dubstep are floating into the alleys of downtown Tenderloin in San Francisco.

The show opens this Saturday at 941 Geary and will be accompanied by a series of local walls painted by the artists. In-progress shots below. - By Georgia Frances King

The warehouse space as it looks on Day 1.

Meggs adding his own throw-up to the ‘laneway' with the iconic San Franciscan buildings reflecting in the front window of Geary 941.

Around half of the aerosol ordered to paint over five walls in San Francisco.

Young & Free: Class of 2011.

Dabs Myla getting started on their mural.

Some The Shining-esque drip down effects by Vexta.

Some of Vexta's stencils. She uses these to make stunning images of flying people with wings for arms, all in neon colours bright enough to illuminate a football field.

Reka tagging the entrance hallway to the exhibition. All of the artists are collaborating to make a bombed out space that resembles the street art strewn laneways of Melbourne, where over half of the artists are from.

Walk-by Tenderloin junkies adding some local color to a Ha-Ha stencil.

Sketches of the planned collaborative wall, fitting all twelve artists' work on one urban landscape. There are many other walls that are also being divided up between the artists.

Ha-Ha, an Aussie stencil artist by way of New Zealand, getting his spray consistency just right.

Vexta cutting out stencils.

Reka spraying one of his iconic throwies in the entrance hall.

Ha-Ha starting his most famous stencils: Ned Kelly. Ned was Australia's most notorious and lauded bushranger, idolized for rebelling against convention. He has become somewhat of street-art icon.

New2, one of Australia's original graffiti writers, pondering his massive wooden installation that will sit in a corner of the space.

Rone, Melbourne's most prolific poster artist, mapping out his assigned space.

Dabs Myla deciding what to paint on their wall. They are creating an installation similar to that of their incredibly successful LA show last month.

A local stopping to watch Rone finish a wheat-paste wall.

Rone's posters.

Ha-Ha contemplating his massive mound of stencils.

Ha-Ha's stencils in the foreground as Meggs tags a wall in the background.

More in-progress shots of Rone's wall. He uses these posters as a base and then sprays silhouettes of women's faces over the top.

Sketches of their mural.

Meggs' final unfinished canvas that he is completing literally on the wall where it will hang in a few days' time.

Sofles and Lister illegally getting up on the wall of a church. Sacrilegious.

Young & Free: represent.

Dabs Myla’s nearly completed installation, complete with angry dresser drawers and mini hot-dog cans.

Ben Frost helping Vexta hang her work, the only solo female artist in the exhibition.

A selection of Ha-Ha stencils sticky-taped to the walls. As a truly DIY artist he refuses to use art pins to keep the feel of his works.

Lister finishing spraying the face of a giant box that he has painted to look like a man’s head. He has also made baby boxes and is hanging work like earrings and hair clips on the face.

Rone printing out more works at Kinkos. He has been getting up around town more than any other artist and had already run out of posters.

The outline of a piece that Sofles is doing as part of a collaborative wall in the Tenderloin. He is now considered Australia’s best new graffiti artist, and was painting alongside New2 and Dmote, Australia’s original graffiti guys of the 80s, and Reka, who is notorious for his graf characters.

The wall is on Frank Norris St., across from a school. We had teachers and students constantly watching and approving of the mural. Frank Norris St. has had a sketchy past, so the locals are hoping that a massive international mural will help clean the area up.

The rest of the artists working on their pieces. From left to right: New2, Reka, Dmote and Sofles.

Reka’s technicolor characters were definitely the children’s favorites with the kids trying to guess what they were of. Some thoughts included spaceships and businessmen holding bunches of grapes, but really they’re studies of New York caps.

Ha-Ha stenciling the outside of 941 Geary with his iconic Ned Kelly heads. He has also done a series of Maori heads to represent his native New Zealand origins, as well as American Indian figures to pay homage to the area in which the exhibition is taking place.

Reka’s Hawaiian styling while spraying on the Tenderloin.

A passerby stopping to have a chat to Sofles.

Lister took over the sidewall of a restaurant off Polk Street to paint one of his famous rainbow eyed figures.

Meggs finishing up a stencil that will serve as the top tier of a giant cross that he has painted on his feature wall. His work is heavily based in super-heroes and other worldly figures.

Detail of Sofles’ piece, complete with sewerage paint drips.

New2, one of Australia’s original train writers, zoning in on his wall.

Dabs Myla and Justin, White Walls’ owner, finish hanging a few small canvases (which have already nearly sold out) on their installation.

Eight hours later New2 is still adding filler and texture to his futuristic, 3D masterpiece.

Sofles freehand painting on canvases sitting in his exhibition space.

Lister finalizing a box as part of his installation at 2am in the morning.

Young & Free: Australian Contemporary Street Artists
Featuring: ANTHONY LISTER, KID ZOOM, DABS & MYLA, DMOTE, NEW2, BEN FROST, MEGGS, HA-HA, REKA, RONE, SOFLES, and VEXTA
Opening Reception – September 10, 2011, 6-9 pm
On View through October 22, 2011,
@941 Geary
941 Geary St, San Francisco, CA

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