STABS is a street artist from Melbourne. With a decade of stencil based street activity, STABS is considered to be one of Melbourne’s most renowned street artists.
STABS’s art can be seen anywhere around the city, especially in the inner-city suburb of Collingwood. He’s been crafting his skills on city’s streets for quite some time, creating his characteristic frenetic tribalism. Working out of Everfresh studio, STABS has developed his unique characters along with a paint and print practice. Members of the Everfresh crew, located behind an unmarked factory door in Collingwood, are the key players that shape city’s dynamic and prolific street-art scene. The crew consists of names like Sync, Phibs, Reka, Rone, Wonderlust, Prizm, Meggs, Makatron and The Tooth. Over the years, STABS has developed his own language of glyphs that has expanded in a complex logographic system. Each piece within this system has a story encoded. Over time, his hidden language has gone from being a background pattern to becoming the main focus of his work. His art shows the complexity of a simple line emphasized through persistent repetition. STABS’s work spans across different media, although he never loses focus of the art of stencil making. He continues to re-define the public facade around Melbourne, often taking advantage of the vacant shop fronts and “sneaky spots” but also in sourcing materials with a “from the streets, for the streets” mentality. All of this has gained him recognition and placed him amongst Australia’s leading street artists nowadays.
During a one-month trip to Indonesia, STABS was struck by an ailment common to travelers in the region – food poisoning. ”The guys I was living with only had enough money for street food, so I ate when they ate and where they ate” he says. Ironically, the street food wasn’t the culprit, it was only when vendors shut up shop during Ramadan, forcing him to eat at an established restaurant, that he became unwell. STABS kept a journal, entirely written in glyphs, which was presented at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne, in the exhibition titled Keep it simple, which also showed fifteen original pieces based on key events from this cultural exchange. The diarrhea he suffered is depicted in Shitting Water, which is one of the naive, mainly monochromatic stencil paintings he exhibited in Keep It Simple. His pieces are more than a mere travel diary transposed, however. There are also broader messages about the landscape, ecology, mythology and cultural identity. One painting references the Dutch colonization of Indonesia and asylum seekers, while another is concerned with medical ethics, sea life and environment.
STABS continues to live and create art in Melbourne.