Tag Archives: Perth CBD

More strong colours and psychedelic faces – just what I like

Street art mural by Vans the Omega and Beastman at 140 at the Wellington Street end

Mural by Beastman and Vans the Omega at 140 on Wellington Street in Perth

Omega and Beastman

mural by Beastman and Vans the Omega and skyscraper at 140 in Perth

blue and green view from the Wellington Street end of one40william in Perth

Last time I checked this new collaborative artwork by Vans the Omega from Adelaide and Beastman from Sydney was mostly obscured by construction in progress. In keeping with their established style which can be viewed in their earlier mural in a Murray Street carpark, there are plenty of faces and colours and swirly-whirly bits in this new piece. Love it.








A friendly face in a pile of rubbish

A child noticed this during a visit to Wolf Lane in the city to look at street art murals:

A section of a discarded box looks like a smiling face

a smiling face in a pile of rubbish



I must look, my fusiform gyrus tells me so

Street art by Beastman and Vans the Omega

a section of a wall mural by Vans the Omega and Beastman in Perth

We had the pleasure of watching street art being created for the Public street art festival in Perth, Western Australia by Form last weekend. The smell of spraycan paint wasn’t so great but it was a feast for the eyes and the ears, with a boom-box blasting away in the carpark on Murray Street. While we weren’t there in time to see the piece of art partly shown in the photo below, which is I believe the creation of the Sydney artist Beastman and Adelaide-based artist Vans the Omega, I found it hard to take my eyes away from the mural. I’m a sucker for colour, I just can’t get enough of it, and nothing commands attention like saturated colours outlined in black. I suspect that the pleasure that I get from colour could be explained by the blessings of normal colour vision in the eye (cone cells in the eye normal and working) and a well-developed and well-connected fusiform gyrus, which is the area of the brain that processes faces and numbers and letters and colours and other wonderful visual experiences. This artwork certainly gave my fusiform gyrus a few things to think about, because in addition to colour perception it triggered a bit of visual recognition, because I am sure I’ve seen an image quite similar to the section photographed in some other artwork, perhaps something from the Fin de siècle? In my time I’ve looked at a lot of Symbolist and decadent art and the other art movements from the late 1800s. Of course, the other brain phenomenon triggered by this art is pareidolia, and I can see that this is an aspect of visual perception that Beastman loves to play around with, eyes and hidden faces and symmetrical designs being recurring themes in his work. On top of that my brain is also prompted to some recognition of facial expressions, because that nearly-hidden face is a grumpy one, if I’ve read it right. There’s a lot to just looking, when the art is designed to appeal to human psychology.

A super-recognizer moment

I’ve been looking at stuff from the WA Museum and Lost Perth on Facebook, and there was a photo of the Perth fashion designer Aurelio Costarella taken with a department store Santa Claus when Mr Costarella was seven years old. The instant I saw the photo I recognized the santa (or the Father Christmas as we would have said back then) as the same one who was in a old Santa’s knee shot taken of me when I was around ten years old. I always thought of this santa as looking a bit too much like the character Zachary Smith in the 1960s TV show Lost in Space. I think that is what we might call a super-recognizer moment. Lost Perth also featured a photo of the old Bairds department store which was in the Perth CBD. I can still remember the interior of that store like I was there yesterday, and I think that might be related to the fact that it is one of the many memories of scenes that I experience as synaesthesia concurrents evoked by thinking about specific concepts. There’s nothing like an old photo, and a sometimes-photographic memory, to bring the past alive.



Grow Your Own by James Angus – another sculpture in Perth that looks like a personified thing

Grow Your Own by James Angus, sculpture in Forrest Place, Perth, Western Australia

Grow Your Own by James Angus, sculpture in Forrest Place, Perth, Western Australia

Grow Your Own by James Angus, sculpture in Forrest Place, Perth, Western Australia

Grow Your Own by James Angus, sculpture in Forrest Place, Perth, Western Australia

Perth Train Station lego sculpture at Claremont Showgrounds exhibition 2012

Lego sculpture of Perth Train Station and surrounds at Claremont Showgrounds exhibition 2012

I’ve heard this prominent sculpture in the centre of Perth at Forrest Place unofficially described as a “dancing cactus”, but when was the last time that you saw a cactus dance? This seems to be the personification of an inanimate object, a phenomenon of the mind which could be the result of a range of causes: a well-cultivated imagination, hallucinatory drug usage, illness affecting the mind or perhaps a type of synaesthesia which involves thinking about concepts or objects as though they have personal attributes, attitudes, expressions or movements. The classic example of this is the involuntary association of letters of the alphabet and/or numbers with personal characteristics such as genders and ages and personalities, which is known as ordinal-linguistic personification, but all kinds of other things can be personified. The official title of the large green cactus-like sculpture in the Perth CBD suggests some kind of link with an illicit mind-bending drug, so it seems reasonable to speculate that this was the inspiration for this design. I don’t do drugs but I do experience ordinal-linguistic personification and I can certainly see what is “cactus” about this sculpture and also what is “dancing” about it, but I guess this could be an interpretation or perception which is assessable to just about anyone. When I look at the thing I see a group of cactus dancers with their heels rather awkwardly sticking out in mid-air. Do you see that? In an article about this sculpture which was published in The West last year, the great green thing was described as lively, playful and off-balance, which is generally what you are when you are dancing. It is the cactus that dances.

Some press articles about the dancing cactus:

Great green giant graces city. by Stephen Bevis The West Australian. August 18, 2011. http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/a/-/entertainment/10062165/great-green-giant-graces-city/

Exclusive interview with the Perth Cactus. by Jimmy The Exploder PerthNow. September 20, 2011. http://www.perthnow.com.au/exclusive-interview-with-the-perth-cactus/story-fn6cmyjj-1226142075082