Street art pioneer launches at Harbour Town

By Sunny Liu

Melbourne’s street art pioneer, Blender Studios, is launching its studio space, gallery and pop-up shop at Harbour Town on August 5.

Blender Studios will be the heart of the Docklands Arts Precinct, along with ArtVo, Dialogue in the Dark and the future Docklands Arts Collective.

A former shop on the first level of Harbour Town Shopping Centre has been transformed into a 1000sqm studio and gallery space, showcasing Blender artists’ latest work and providing production spaces for them.

Having previously occupied the warehouse on Franklin St for 16 years and having a laneway named after it, Blender Studios moved to Docklands this February.

Blender Studios’ director and acclaimed street artist Adrian Doyle said moving from Franklin St to Harbour Town had been an “interesting risk”.

“It’s a very unusual move but an interesting one as well. It will be interesting to see how the artists and studios work in such a corporate environment,” he said.

“Docklands is so sterile and when you walk through these doors it’s like a secret world. It’s like we’ve taken part of Melbourne that Docklands would love to have and dropped it in Docklands.”

Mr Doyle also said setting up Blender Studios could attract more people to Docklands.

“Our street art tours bring a bunch of people to Docklands who wouldn’t otherwise come,” he said.

The main gallery at the front of the studio will feature Dark Horse Experiment, a popular research-based exhibition that has featured work by renowned artists such as John Kelly.

“The ambition of Dark Horse Experiment is to show art that’s not necessarily sellable. So we call it a research gallery,” Mr Doyle said.

The space also includes a digital projection installation that will change according to the main exhibition.

Visitors will be able to buy artworks, jewelleries and other merchandises at the pop-up shop behind the gallery.

Blender Studios boasts street artists members such as Christopher Hancock, Goonhugs, MAHA and Tim Sterling and the artists have their individual spaces at the Harbour Town studio to create and showcase their “blends” of styles and personalities.

Harbour Town is also calling for expressions of interest from individual artists and creative agencies to occupy more than 1200sqm of rent-free space at the centre, which will form the Docklands Art Collective.

From August 5, Blender Studios will be open to the public from 12-5pm, Wednesday to Sunday.