Published in


Unpacking A Decade Of Artistic Expression With Jordache

Jordache has been painting for more than a decade. He started in graffiti, joined a collective of muralists painting massive walls, and took steps to explore his own style, blending fine art with his graffiti aesthetic.

Deeply immersed in counter cultures from a young age, Jordache and his artistic expression seem to follow an inner compass where art is worth fighting for, and movements require boundaries to be pushed and people to take action.

Flying the flag for creative expression in Brisbane, Jordache brings his decade of experience in all the artforms — graffiti, murals and studio works — to educate, encourage and keep pushing for a world where art is encouraged, diversity is celebrated, and creativity is embraced.

Listen to Jordache on the Street Art Unearthed podcast below, or read on for select excerpts from the chat.

Art in the Early Days

I’ve always been quite a curious kid. I was an only child growing up. I skated, I was into break dancing. My uncle’s a breakdancer, so I got into break dancing when I was really young. Hip Hop’s always been in my life since I was about nine or 10. I remember going to the break dancing gigs, and I remember Tom Thumb, an amazing local guy. I remember meeting him when I was 10, 11, as a kid, when he was still in high school.

I got opened up to the graffiti world quite early. I was doing pieces at school and on the chalkboard in primary school. I was looking at all the graffiti on the train, and my uncle actually did graffiti back in the ’80s, so I got into graffiti young, and that was a good cup of mayhem and loved that. I always say that graffiti was my first love.

I’ve just never felt anything else like how that culture is. You can’t buy what that culture is. You can never feel it unless you’re a person who does it and experiences the graffiti vibe. It’s ruined a lot of people’s lives, and it’s also propelled a lot of people into amazing careers. There are fine artists that have come from graffiti.

That’s really motivating because our college is outside. It was playing. The streets were our canvas, and it was just so free. At the end, people were like, “Oh, that’s amazing.” And it wasn’t paid for. It wasn’t commissioned; it was nothing that was approved.

To stem onto that, I got into the punk rock and just rebellion. And this rebellion, it always comes from a culture where people just fight against the grain, where they’re non-conformers. It can be found in so many different cultures, as well as graffiti.

For me, that was something I found so just profound, that you don’t have to fit into society and it doesn’t mean you’re different. You just have this whole group of people who think the same way. They have such carelessness toward the system. And then there are so many people that travel along the system, and they just live that life: nine to five, go on holiday, retire, do less stuff. You live your whole life to retire with money, but your body’s not even able to do the things that you could do at 30 or 40. You could have, should have, done it then.

Graffiti for me, and my punk rock and metal, Hip Hop, all those cultures I was into. Skating. Skating was a massive part of my life growing up. Skating and graffiti are a match made in heaving. It’s like Lady and the Tramp. They’re just beautiful.

I’ve met graffiti writers who work in businesses, they’re very successful in their normal life, and they do graffiti. Anyone can come from any background into graffiti. It doesn’t matter what race you are, woman, man, other genders. You gel over something that is so true, and it’s honest. And graffiti’s so honest. It just is what it is, and that’s what I love about it, there’s so much more to do.

Artist Fantasy and Reality

I think when people see it, it’s like this fantasy or sort of dream job. You can paint for a living? You get paid to do artwork? I’ve been painting longer than I’ve been doing murals. So just the idea of, when you have a little sip of that cup and realise that you can get paid for artworks. It’s so motivating to just keep at it.

In hindsight, there’s so much more that’s involved. When you involve money with the art life and mix those things together, it’s like this cauldron of uncertainty. You still have amazing experiences, but it has to pay at the end of the day, and it has to be profitable and viable to maintain or else you just can’t maintain it.

I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts from successful artists, and you hear their stories, and they still struggle and go through it. It’s a constant battle. And it’s constantly adapting, constantly just staying motivated. It is what it is, and that’s what you’ve got to do to maintain it.

Breaking the Mold

About midway last year, I actually peeled away from Brightsiders. We sort of just went our separate ways for a bit and we were just doing a lot of work, including the silos — that was the last job that we did together — and then it was like we needed some time apart to develop on our own.

I always wanted to develop my own style, but I did a lot of client-based work, and I think just at the time, at that period, it just wasn’t in its place well enough for me to really understand [my own style]. When client work is going really well, you can always just keep that momentum going, because you’re on a roll with that. But then you have that other voice in you, saying “I just really would love to paint what I want to paint.” You’re doing your art, and you’re trying to please both worlds. So you have to have that compromise to please them and please yourself, and that can be quite tough.

I think everyone just needs that balance. You have your own art, and you have the commission art. If you want to do art all the time, you’ve just got to put those in its place and make time for it. So you slide jobs out, save some money, and have enough time to do your own art, and that’s really a big drive for me this year. I want to just work within that flow. I’ll please some clients, and then I’ll please myself, and just have a nice balance.

It’s taken a long time to really understand and realise that, but it feels better. I don’t constantly have this struggle within my head saying “I just want to paint what I want to paint.”

And Brisbane, the metropolis hub of the world… is quite a hard place to enforce different styles that I think probably would be more accepted in Europe or America, just because they’re a bit further along with a different diversity of art.

Community vs Personal Art

The feeling you get out of both kinds of work are two different things. They’re two different energies when you create. When I create community work, all I really care about is hopefully I’ve done a good job, and the client likes it, and people here can embrace it and make it their own, and that’s a really nice feeling. Seeing the community on board is such a powerful feeling, and that’s really nice.

When you do that too much, though, and you’re not pleasing yourself, you need that balance.

I try to tell people “this is what I like, and it’s going to look dope, trust me, just let me do my thing.” That’s so hard, because when people say, “I want some street art.” You say, “Well what do you want?” and they’re like “Ah, I don’t know, oh this. Can you put this, can you do this, can you do that?” And then it’s just a dictated thing.

We’re so uneducated with street art here. People don’t really look outside the bubble of what Brisbane has. In Melbourne, it’s such a different story. If they’re looking at Melbourne, it’s like, well there should be more graffiti around. Because graffiti is what put Melbourne on the map, not just the figures and the faces. Graffiti in Brisbane… It’s just a no, no. As soon as you mention graffiti, people are just on their back foot.

Stepping Into the Studio

We got the studio in 2018. Prior to that, I hadn’t painted any canvases. It was awesome, to be honest. The productivity and the difference of the outcome; for me, process is a big thing. It’s so easy to have an outcome when you’re outcome-focused, and that’s what murals do, they’re very outcome-focused, you have to have this thing at the end of it, the product.

Studio painting for me, it was just how I felt in the studio, the energy, I would feel a certain… I’d just be in a moment. I tend to go into this zone-out, daydream land when I paint when I’m really in my flow state. I just zone out, and I move and paint.

I paint so quick, I’ve come from graffiti, which is all about quick painting, so I could paint a piece so fast. But that for me back then, I had to try and use those skills and transition those into a studio practice just because of the family and apply them somewhere else where I guess it would serve a purpose still. I wouldn’t want to lose the skills I gained from graffiti to move into studio work.

Studio work for me is such a big focus in the future, because graffiti, in a different time I still want to paint pieces and I still will paint graffiti, but it’s purely just going to be for that, and then studio work is really taking those skills into that practice.

I’ve had such an amazing experience in the last two years realising how I paint in different environments and how I respond to different surfaces and brushes. Like if it’s a brush or a palette knife or a broom or a hand, or just some random thing I found, I’ll paint with that, easy.

It’s all about the process for me. I don’t really care what it looks like half the time. If I’m enjoying painting and I’m liking what I’m doing, for me that’s successful. But if someone can look at it and go, that’s shit or whatever, that’s cool. But for me, this is so much more than just what it looks like.

I’m almost like an art nerd in some way. In graffiti, I was so about getting different strokes and different nozzles and doing different things, and getting skinny lines, and then clean and precise and just doing one hits and painting with both hands, and that’s really nice. In the studio work, I found a whole different nerdiness with all different brushes and paints and different mediums. Even talking about it now, I’m getting excited.

Getting Into the Flow State

Time just disappears when I’m in those moments; it doesn’t exist. All it is is just me and the painting and how I feel, and that just comes out however it comes out. I really just wish more people had that in their life to some degree.

It’s all intuitive-based in the beginning. It’s taken me time to realise how my process works, and obviously, that’s only been a couple of years since I’ve really sat with it. So colours for me are a big thing. I love certain colour tones. I did design where I learned colour theory. That’s such an important part, too. In a lot of abstract work and how I paint, it has to have those colour tones that don’t clash too much with each other, but they’re also quite complimentary.

There’s a big canvas that I’ve done which I love that I’m really proud of. I was playing a blues album, like a playlist of blues, and I just let the music take over me, and I was just grabbing paint. I had all my paint, I was grabbing tins, and I would just paint without a brush, and then I’d move and do something else. And to me, I call that painting The Devil’s Blues. But you look at it, and it’s vibrant, it doesn’t look like blues, but to me, that was the feeling I had when I was in it, and it just represents the way that I interpreted the music, is what it looks like.

A lot of my studio work is based on music and then experiences that I have. I might just have a certain moment like in the day or whenever it is, or in a dream, I dream very vividly, and I try and take those inspirations of all those little meanings. I don’t write them down as much as I should, but I have a lot in the past, and I’ll just sort of look back at that and go, “oh that’s right.” And then I would just go back to that moment, or try to tap back into that moment and have a visual outcome with it.

I’ll stick a lot of paint down, and look at the paintings in all different ways. I’ll rotate them all the way around, or lean my head and stare. I do a lot of weird stuff. I’ll walk 100 meters back, and go 10 meters… For me, I just see different things, and when I see something, like all my paintings I’ll see certain things, and I’ll just carve them out. I guess I see certain things and I can work the colour in with depth and shadow and make that more prominent. Step back, bring that out, put that over the top and do that.

Exhibiting Mid-2021

I’ve got a lot of work, I really wanted to have a show at the end of last year, but it just wasn’t the right timing. The body of work that I did in those few years, I think that will just stay in that time. I paint so intuitively, and I’ve never painted the same thing twice. I’m not a reference painter. My theme is just movement and energy. I’d like to say that kinetic art, where it is just so closer in some way and then refinement, it’s hard to replicate that.

The work that I want to showcase is just that period of my life where I was searching for me, and then that’s just what it looks like on canvas. I’m hoping to do that mid-year if our life here can cater for it.

I’m really looking forward to having that time to put that together, have a show and move onto the next part of work, which I’m really excited to be doing soon.

Future Focus

At the end of last year, I did a piece that was really influenced by some studio work and graffiti. It’s huge in Europe, but the post-graffiti scene and that whole movement, the connection between that and fine art, I think that’s exactly where I want to head; to blend the fine art world with what I’ve come from.

I want to do more gallery work and get more fine art experience under my belt and do a lot more shows. I’d love to get to Europe and do some shows, eventually America.

I’m just so passionate about Brisbane art. It needs to grow. Not everyone will like it, and that’s okay because not everyone does like art, so that’s a definite. You’re not going to please everyone, but you can definitely open those doors up to let people express themselves. You’ll probably do the best work you will ever do if you’re given that chance of just creating what you want to create — the dream.

Be sure to follow Jordache online. Check out his website, connect with him on Facebook, and follow him on Instagram. Also, check out Mayne Line for upcoming shows in Brisbane.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store