Joel Veness: Renegades of Funk

Tucked away in the back streets of Paddington in Sydney, Joel Veness’ latest creation awaits residents, passers-by and inner-city explorers to discover a composition of bold lines and shapes that form an abstract and encrypted narrative. The 70-foot mural, painted in the artist’s signature, and timeless, black and white palette, can be found on the corner of Sutherland Avenue and Cecil Lane. It displays numerous head-like figures inspired by the giant sculptures of Easter Island, all facing the same direction, except one – the “renegade”; his antithetical actions upheld by the painting’s title, ‘Renegades of Funk’, taken from a track on Rage Against the Machine’s 2000 album release. Heavily-fused with references to “renegades” of history from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King to recent street artists, the song weighs on the need for similar renegades today – “everyday people like you and me”. Yet Veness steers away from the political protest and turns inward. ‘Renegades of Funk’ is a graphic conversational piece about solitude, isolation and self-reflection; as an artist and as a human being especially during these challenging times.

Joel Veness, Renegades of Funk, Paddington, Sydney 2020

The figure, in his act of rebellion – and the link to the remote Moai statues of Easter Island – is intended to mirror Veness; an Outsider artist whose work is raw and unmarked by the conventions of the mainstream art world through both aesthetic and physical proximity. His artmaking too is void of restraints. While starting with preliminary drawings, Veness’ murals are refined with each paint stroke, free to resolve issues with space and redesign. The outcome is both striking and enlightening.

Joel Veness, Renegades of Funk, Paddington, Sydney 2020

 

www.joelveness.com