Mad Love, Ep 19: We’re Big In Japan!

My first memories of Japan have nothing to do with fine sushi, expensive sake, criterion collection samurai films, or cherry blossoms falling on a beautiful spring morning. Nope, instead it was being huddled around the fluorescent glow of the TV on a Saturday night anywhere between 9 and 12pm.

the channel was SBS.

This was the now influential slot for late night anime. Back to back they used to play Neon Genesis Evangelion, Bubble Gum Crisis Tokyo 2040, Cowboy Bebop and numerous others. What they had in common (besides gratuitous bouncing cleavage) was they were violent, sophisticated, comedic, colourful, and most importantly cot damn rad. As a kid watching this for the first time, it was mind blowing. 

Fast forward 15 years and now Japan’s imagery and cultural identity are common place. People eat sushi every day, read manga, and will generally see a Dragon Ball z inspired meme on their feed every few posts. A combination of the residual influence from the eighties and kids (who are now adults) being more welcome to different types of media has led to a general acceptance of what was once niche and unique.

This is no different in the world of art, which has always drawn inspiration from Japan. Look at any of your favourite artist’s body of work and they will definitely have a few geishas, samurais, rising suns, and huge anime eyes in there. It is then surprising to think that the actual street/ lowbrow artist coming from Japan often go under the radar. In the world of Instagram and social media, the following of these artist are frequently insular to Japanese natives and enthusiastic fans.

So we put it upon ourselves at MAD LOVE to find out what Japanese artist think about street art, their own work, and how the world sees them! We also went to Tokyo to eat, booze and stuff ourselves on to the notoriously tight subways, ALL FOR THA FANS!

Special thanks and shouts to the Japan Foundation and all the artist works featured in the episode. BAO!!!

Mad Love, Ep. 18: Sydney Institution Goodspace Gallery Turns 3 Years Old

Cotdamn, three years goes by quick.

When Goodspace first opened its doors, not a lot of people knew what to expect. The premise was deceptively simple: Every Wednesday, for one night only, there would be a new exhibition. That was it. Whether a well-established artist or an up-and-coming young gun, every show was carefully curated by the eagle-eyed vision of the unofficial mayor of Chippendale, Chris Loutfy.

With now well over a 100 shows under its belt, Goodspace has become one of Sydney’s premiere galleries, hosting an eclectic variety of local (and occasional international) talents. Over the years, the notorious white walls of the double rooms have been transformed into hundreds of different spaces. From a zine fair, a smoked out video installation, an electronic rave and even the bedroom of the next big thing in Sydney rap, Phil Fresh, who took us into his world for his EP launch.

Goodspace has taken on so many different identities that it’s impossible to pinpoint what it’s going to be next week, or the week after. For a city that can have the reputation of being unsupportive of the arts, it just goes to show that Sydney is indeed a hotbed for creative talent – it just needs a few more galleries like Goodspace.

So bigs up to Chris Loutfy, and everyone who has exhibited or helped out in the last three years, you’re all the real stars


Mad Love, Ep. 17: Hot Import Nights Finally Lands In Australia

The year is 2001.

We had all just survived Y2K, Sydney had held arguably the best Olympics of all time (arguable amongst Olympic geeks?), and Jennifer Lopez had about 157 songs on the radio. But most importantly, we were introduced to hardened LA race vet Dominic Toretto and baby blued-eyed Brian O’Connor; we were given cinematic gems like “You never had me, you never had your car!” and “I live my life a quarter mile at a time”.

Yes, we were blessed with The Fast and the Furious, a film so impactful to hot-headed young boys and girls that its influence would revibrate for the next two decades. Launching sequels on sequels, stacking billions on billions, and causing an epidemic of souped up cars.

I’ll be the first to admit I know nothing about cars, let alone customising cars and the lifestyle that it entails. But as you can tell, I do know a lot about The Fast and the Furious and the bajillion sequels that came after it. Compared to anything else I’ve ever experienced, Hot Import Nights felt like the living, breathing embodiment of one of my favourite films.

Holding the title as the longest-running automotive lifestyle event currently exhibited around the world, Hot Import Nights is a celebration of some of the most impressive cars that you will ever see in person and the people who live and breathe them. Originating in the US, they finally set their sights on Australia and held their first event in Sydney earlier this month.

Cars worth more than a down payment on a house, guys with Japanese tattoos, and women who look like they stepped right out the centrefold of a magazine, were all to be expected. What I didn’t expect was the overall friendly and enthusiastic vibe of the whole event. The organisers had clearly gone above and beyond to try and give the thousands of aficionados an experience that they would never forget, and hopefully come back for again and again.

So, it was an honour and a pleasure to be a part of the inaugural Sydney event. Shout out to the organisers, all the car owners, the venders (especially the computer guys who had Counter Strike on deck), all the women who competed to be the first ever HIN Australia, Timothy Delaghetto for wearing tight jeans, and all you people who bought a ticket and took part in day! BAO:

Mad Love, Ep. 16: Sid Tapia

Sid Tapia is a living embodiment of Sydney’s counter-cultures.

He’s had a long and storied career that spans the rise of hip-hop and graffiti in the 80s, the boom of skating in the 90s, to currently being a full-time artist, made all the more impressive by representing Crown St, Surry Hills the whole damn time.

Renowned for his borderline photo realistic style mixed with his colourful and bombastic graff pieces, Sid’s work can be seen everywhere and anywhere. With the steady increase in attention and momentum, he was recently chosen as the sole Australian artist at the adidas Showcase/Juxtapoz Clubhouse in Miami, bringing a bit of that Sydney style to the leather-skinned goers of South Beach!

So shout outs to Sid, Sydney Legend and all around insightful/inspirational guy! Bao:

Mad Love, Ep. 15: Output Festival

Over the weekend we were Castaway’d on Goat Island, with nothing but seaweed loin cloths and unshaved beards, a literal minutes from the mainland.

The idea of creating a ritualistic bonfire and signalling planes for help was not, not an option. I’ve never felt more like Tom Hanks in my life. Okay, so this is a huge and borderline false retelling of our experience at the first ever Output Festival. The only way that this would be comparable to Castaway would be if you replaced the daily fight for survival with pulsating techno beats and Wilson for thousands of enthusiastically sweaty punters.

The child of both Motorik and UNDR Ctrl, Output Festival aimed at creating a day that was totally unique and experimental. Delivering the best DJs with a cutting edge dance experience to one of Sydney’s premiere and criminally underutilised locations, Goat Island.

To the revelry of everyone who went, the first ever Output Festival was a great success. The only question left is, when do next year’s tickets go on sale so we can catch that luxurious ferry back! So shout outs the legendary Motorik and UNDR Ctrl for putting it down for Sydney! And for tha Harbour for being so beautiful! Bao: