Our collaboration with Melbourne’s Adelphi Hotel has been a whole bunch of fun. And not just because we’ve been able to take over their pool deck every night for cocktail hour(s). We also got to tag their rooftop.
You don't have to squint to see the words 'Drink Better Gin' scrawled across the wall to the left of the pool. This epic gin mural is the handiwork of Newcastle-born, dirty Martini-loving, bar-managing (and new to the world of parenting) graffiti artist Luke Presto.
Luke has been painting for around 25 years. After getting into graffiti in his high school years, he attended art school where this particular art medium was seriously frowned upon by the establishment at the time. These days, he's being invited to international graffiti art festivals and tagging walls and rooftops across Melbourne.
I think what drew me to this form of art was seeing all the places people got to get something painted. The ingenuity, exploration and knowledge of their environment.
Presto then went on to study Industrial Design, before making the move to Melbourne.
Initially, I was a graffiti writer, these days I see myself as an urban artist. I think there’s a fairly defined line between graffiti and street art - the intentions are completely different. And although many graffiti writers cross over into being street artists and vice versa, the only real similarity between the two is the media used to paint the walls.
In balancing his freestyle labours of love with his commercial jobs, Luke finds two challenges dominate the trade of being a street artist for a living.
The client being able to communicate what it is they are after and me being able to interpret their direction into a coherent finished product is always a challenge. The other major challenge is the weather. The vast amount of this work is done outdoors so you really are at the mercy of the elements. Heatstroke, sunburn, rain destroying your work (most of the materials we use are water based) all part of the fun and games.
All challenges and sunburn aside, Luke’s pretty stoked he gets to make a living from his passion in this bubbling creative cauldron of a city.
I love that an artist like me can make money from what I love. There are plenty of talented artists in this city making a real go of street art and Melbourne has an amazingly active underground scene too. Both ends of the spectrum are world class.
Be sure to take in Luke’s fantastic piece when you’re up at the Adelphi rooftop enjoying a cocktail (and look out for it on our new t-shirts arriving soon).