Meet Sofles. An Australian graffiti artist from Brisbane. Born Russell Orrie Fenn, he started out tagging on abandoned walls and on trains in 2000. Like most street artists, he has worked his way up the ladder and has been painting for over 15 years, he is now one of Australia’s most popular artists in the scene. Sofles is sponsored by Ironlak paint.
In 2011, he worked in conjunction with fellow Brisbanite and videographer Selina Miles, the two created a thrilling time-lapse film “Limitless” in a deserted warehouse, where you can see Sofles and #squad in action. See film above.
In 2009, Sofles got caught defacing public property without permission from the owners – he was required to pay a $14,000 fine, 240 hours community service and assisting the Police Graffiti Task Force in finding and capturing young vandals in the area.
Despite getting caught, Sofles has not slowed down or stopped doing what he loves – in fact this has catapulted him to national and worldwide acclaim. Sofles spends the majority of his time travelling and working in Europe, painting and making films that inspire the next generation of writers and artists.
His works are extremely detailed and diverse but still retains its graffiti background. Many of his female characters are inspired and reminiscent of comic book artist J Scott Campbell. Sofles is influenced by comic art, pop art, old school graffiti and contemporary design.
Most people are unaware that graffiti artists are extremely talented as they not only paint but are also illustrators that work in a variety of mediums, not just limited to aerosol spray. Including; drawing, airbrushing, tattoo art, digital painting, sign writing, canvas, concept art, graphic design and typography.
I respect and admire graffiti art as a contemporary form of art and design. Graffiti is often a stepping stone for many artists in the community. Graffiti artists have been able to capitalise on graffiti and used it to commercialise their work. Born from a sheet of paper, an image sketched and then transferred to a wall. Street artist’s have a vision they execute, that is easily dismissed without understanding the length they have gone to produce it. It’s a long process that many people don’t acknowledge and only see the final outcome. This is what inspires me as an artist – I love to see the process and the vast display of style. The artist has poured their heart and soul onto such a public place for everyone to judge without remorse. There is no time for mistakes or second chances. This is the truest form of art in my eyes.
I hope it opens people’s eyes and minds to the fact that graffiti is a strong art form and there is a lot of energy in it. I want to get rid of the stigma that any art done with a spray can is bad or juvenile – Sofles
If anyone is interested in seeing a Sofles piece – you can head to the local Murwillimbuh wall along the Tweed River and have a look. It’s a legal wall for artists to paint on and has seen many famous artists paint murals over the years. If anyone’s keen to have a paint with me just let me know.
Graffiti + Street art docos