RONE as he is known on the streets has been an icon of the active graffiti culture in Melbourne’s art scene since it exploded onto brick walls, garage doors and abandoned buildings almost a decade ago.
While most graffiti “is screaming monsters or sexy ladies”, RONE’s signature style has an inimitable softness to it. His closely cropped stencil portraits of enigmatic women with a wealth of secrets to hide, break through the noise of other more aggressive art works. With a femme fatale quality, RONE’s women are the powerful overlords of their respective neighbourhoods, ensnaring an audience with the gentlest of looks.
“There is a lot of pre production that goes into each work. coming up with a concept, finding the right model, photographing them for reference images, then organising the access logistics such as scissor lifts, then you need the right type of paint for the surface… and a dozen smaller things even before you start painting.
“Although once I start painting in never goes to plan so I have to be flexible enough to deal with each issue you can’t plan for. Most works take two or three days to paint,” he says.
“The women I paint start from reference photographs I have taken,” reveals RONE. “They are representative of the delicate nature of street art and graffiti. [They demonstrate] the fine balance of this aesthetically fragile movement – the rough and raw textures of the walls overlayed with these giant calming beauties.”
His latest project at Robina train station on Queensland’s Gold Coast (above) is reminiscent of vintage wallpaper with velvety branches of fruit and lashings of pastels between his beautiful trademark muses. The work is a ‘subtle hint’ to what’s going on behind the huge dividing wall at the station and is noticably less haunting than his other creations.
“This mural is more energised and upbeat than some of my previous work,” RONE says, adding it was a conscious decision to “truly reflect the spirit of the Gold Coast.”
His works have proven to have universal appeal, appearing in cities including New York, Paris, Tokyo, London, Christchurch and Santo Domingo. So, where will we next spot the RONE’s work?
“I’m about to head over to Detroit and Milan, which requires a lot of planning before I get there.”
All images courtesy of RONE. Find out more about the artist and his work here: r-o-n-e.com/