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Getting Graphic at the Supergraph art fair

Daniel Driscoll

Fri Feb 21 2014


THE inaugural Supergraph was held over the weekend and Daniel Driscoll went along to see whether the event is worth penciling into your diary for next year. 

Put on in the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton between 14-16 February, the inaugural Supergraph graphic art fair celebrated design, print and illustration with something for everyone, from the art-educated to those that can’t tell their Picasso from their Pissaro.

Walking in, the first thing I saw was the art work displayed on wire fencing. This visually separated the room, creating the feeling of different sections in what was otherwise one massive space. It worked well and there was a more ordered feeling to the open area.

Artworks included prints, paintings, illustrations, screen printed t-shirts, retro posters and a few installations. The front half of the exhibition contained sections where each artist or gallery was represented and the artists were available to discuss their pieces.

The circus meets monster nightmare in Supergraph's art centrepiece. Photo: Daniel Driscoll

The circus meets monster nightmare in Supergraph’s art centrepiece. Photo: Daniel Driscoll

The back half of the fair was separated by a large artwork made from what I would guess was plasticine. This display was made up of a number of different pieces that mostly resembled advertising signs, each one with their own slogan. The centrepiece looked like those circus machines you hit to test your strength. The top of it looked like the mouth of some hideous monster from a nightmare.

Alongside this artwork was a DJ spinning retro tunes and The Mass Drawing Table, made up of cardboard tables where adults and children could compete to design the best hipster for a Supergraph carry bag. Heading outside you found Melbourne’s most popular new obsession, the food trick. The food was as expensive as expected and it’s probably a good idea to eat before you attend.

Attendees shared their secrets with the mountains in this art display. Photo: Daniel Driscoll

Attendees shared their secrets with the mountains in this art display. Photo: Daniel Driscoll

The fair offered some activities. I liked the Go Tell It To The Mountain section, which involved writing down a secret on a large square of paper, folding it into a triangle and placing it onto a paper mountain. I also enjoyed writing down a dream at the Flyway Print Exchange stand, hosted by artist Kate Gorringe-Smith. Each dream was attached to a board above a pair of large black wings.

One of the highlights of Supergraph was the art on sale. You could buy pieces that cost anywhere from $20 to $9,500. I bought a great piece of Doctor Who fan art for only $20. It was drawn by artist and booth exhibitor Lesley Vamos, owner of Striped Designs, who also had plenty of fantasy and fan art pieces on offer at her booth. Among other stores were street style canvasses that sat around the $800 mark and printed T-shirts available in various designs for about $40. The choice on offer was quite large from what felt like a relatively small offering when I entered the building.

The queen of Melbourne fantasy and fan art, Leslie Vamos sells her wares. Photo: Daniel Driscoll

The queen of Melbourne fantasy and fan art, Leslie Vamos sells her wares. Photo: Daniel Driscoll

Since this was the inaugural Supergraph, the relatively small number of exhibitors seems expected. I do hope for a larger turnout next year as this looks like a promising future event. The event was worth attending, especially if you’re into this style of art as there are definitely affordable pieces to be found.

Pricing for the opening night was a little on the high side at $30, but it included a drink of your choice, a snack and $5 off a Supergraph Salon artwork. I’m not sure if people were reluctant to attend opening night because of the ticket price or because it was Valentine’s Day. I can’t imagine this is many people’s idea of a date night. Perhaps next year they could do away with the extras and price tickets similarly across all three days. I would definitely go again, if only to see whether this event takes off.

To find out more about this year’s event head to the Supergraph website, and keep an eye out for it in 2015!