In preparation for the RAW Uprising exhibition held at the Belconnen Arts Centre this Friday, I have done a series of artworks that focuses on minimalist portraiture. I have looked at how I can use space, colour and expression to embody an atmosphere.
Tell me a little bit about yourself
My name is Faith Kerehona and I’m a 16 year old art student at St Francis Xavier College. I am deeply interested in science, philosophy and music and consider myself to be a bit of an enthusiast for pop culture and art in every possible form. Through art, I hope to show the world something no one else can. My perspective. My vision. I have always been inspired by the beauty in nature and my surroundings, and my artworks explore emotion, life, human beauty and technology in what I hope to be a beautiful and sometimes unnerving combination. I specialise in both small and large scale works, ranging from drawings and acrylic paintings to large spray paint murals.
How long have you been practicing street art?
I gained an interest in street art in 2014, the atmosphere, attitude and culture of it fascinated me. I dappled in spray-painting last year, where I began using aerosol as a background for paintings and from there gained enough confidence to do walls September last year. I’ve been doing walls seriously for the better part of this year and I’m hooked. The speed, colour and intensity of spray paint keeps up with my obsession with progress and fresh content and I love every aspect of it.
How did you get into street art?
I have been drawing and painting all my life, but I distinctly remember when I developed an interest in street art. It was around last year and I bought a few Ironlak cans, made a stencil and borrowed some markers. Instead of tagging or graffing, I felt myself drawn to portraiture.
I hit up the legal walls so I could spend hours, not minutes, on my pieces. After doing a few things here and there, the ‘Art, not Apart’ festival this year is when I began to become heavily involved with street art, and I gained attention from various street artists including Geoff Filmer, who owns the commercial muralist company Graffik Paint. After doing a private commission with him, he took me under his wing and I began to become more set in Canberra street art scene. I have now done private commissions, live art, been involved in street art events and done murals for various businesses and companies as well as still getting small and large scale artworks in various group exhibitions.
What is your style?
As soon as I decided to be an artist, I originally focused on fine arts, but as my style progressed and I began to explore mediums, I found spray paint and by extension, street art. My creative process incorporates fine arts into street art, merging the two and breaking the classical histories of both of them. I’m obsessed with exploration. I’ve always wanted to try so many things in art making, and I find it beneficial to experiment and be diverse in mediums and process. My style is usually distinguished by colour and detail. I typically specialise in portraiture because it demonstrates emotion in a way most people can connect with.
Do you feel that Canberra has become more accepting of street art in recent times?
Oh definitely. I think Canberra is trying to move away from its uptight political and public servant reputation to something that embodies a culture similar to that of Sydney and Melbourne. Street art brings culture and vibrancy to places that nothing else does. Ever since a graffiti management coordinator has been put in place, I feel as though Canberra has really stepped up its game and is making an effort to being more accepting of street art. Because of the association between street art and graffiti, and graffiti with vandalism, most people immediately assume that street art is bad; however this is not the case. Street art is unbelievably beautiful and brings forth an appreciation for art that everyone can recognise and connect with.
How do you think street art contributes to the Canberra culture?
Street art contributes the Canberra culture immensely. I believe street art can single-handedly bring forth an influx of tourism, events and culture to Canberra that nothing else can. This has begun to be recognised by the government, and steps have been taken to increase the amount of public murals in Canberra.
What artwork of yours has gained the most traction?
I personally think that my portrait of Poison Ivy in Tocumwal Lane in Civic has gained the most attention. Articles have been written about it and photos posted by the likes of Canberra 100, Canberra Times, In The City Canberra, ABC Radio 666 and photos were posted on other social media networks. I think this is because it was a part of the Tocumwal lane ‘Street art pARTy’, the location of the piece and the photorealistic style it was in.