26 June 2019

2018 art prize winner – Kirpy

Melbourne-based stencil artist Kirpy creates highly detailed stencils of street scenes. His work ‘Night Lines’ was the winner of the 2018 Hall & Wilcox Art Prize. Here he shares some of his thoughts about art, his inspiration and what he has coming up next.

Tell us about your work Night Lines. What inspired you to make this piece?

I had wanted to trial a large-scale night scene for a while. I had some technical ideas about how I wanted to capture and create atmosphere through the colours and tones I used. The tram running down Brunswick Street in Fitzroy turned out to be a perfect subject.

You are described as a stencil artist. Can you explain what that means?

My practice involves the layering of hand-cut stencils to build up tonal levels. Each layer is painted with a certain tone, or opacity of spray paint, and, as the stencils are layered, the image is built.

What project are you working on now?

I have entered a portrait into the Archibald Prize [a portrait of Paralympic gold medallist and disability ambassador Dylan Alcott, which was selected as a finalist] and I have begun research for my next exhibition in September.

Where can we see more of your work?

You can see more of my work on Instagram @kirpy_ or on the Port Jackson Press website.

What is the earliest art work you remember creating?

I can’t quite remember the earliest. I always used to draw a lot as a child and then, as soon as I first got into stencils and spray paint, I used to spend my weekends in the shed painting. I definitely didn’t make anything good or memorable though!

Banksy: love him or hate him or just indifferent?

I think he’s had lots of great ideas, and his social and political commentary is always quite smart and well executed. But as soon as an artist enters the auction house art market and works are selling for millions of dollars, their work always gets convoluted and it’s hard to view their work separate from the price tag and the hype.