Photography by Ronny Aqel

I’ve always been a fan of art. For me personally, photography is the avenue I chose to express my understanding of the subjects I see around me. Nevertheless, many other avenues of art capture my attention whether it’s Portuguese artist Sergio Odeith’s mind blowing graffiti art or Deb’s crazy female cartoons which can be found throughout Melbourne.

So when I had the chance to discover some of the awesome talent in the Sydney scene, I couldn’t pass the opportunity up.  That’s when I discovered Rappers On Bags, held last week at the Good Space gallery in Sydney.  Hosted by Beau Saywell, Rapper’s On Bags put the spotlight onto some of Sydney’s finest street artistry.  As the name suggests, the artwork featured on these bags are (for the most part) iconic rappers which some of us listen to day in, day out.

I caught up with Beau who shed some light on the makings of Rappers On Bags.

When did you start drawing personally and how did you get to the point where you knew you could then put up an exhibition of your art? 

I’ve always been a creative, but more particularly into drawing from a young age I can remember trying to copy my older brother’s drawings and going into competitions.  [I was] failing dismally to begin with, and then [when] a teacher in year 3 told me I needed more ‘detail’, from that moment on I made sure I did my best to capture every element that sat in front of me.

It wasn’t until my last year of high school though that I developed a style and true skill set, years prior was just drawing attempts, but my year 12 art major led me to push the boundaries with a ballpoint pen. I surprised even myself with what I had come up with, with a single ‘Bic’ pen. I then just started drawing portraits etc. all the time with nothing but a ballpoint. I suppose once I started crossing different elements of graffiti, street art and fine art [that] was when I felt confident enough to show my work as ‘art’.

What spurred the idea of using paper bags? 

It was actually a bit of a chance creation, I was doodling a portrait of Action Bronson in my Parramatta store on the only means possible, a Geedup Co store bag. I was pretty happy with how it turned out and decided to add some splashes of colour etc.

Before I knew it I was finding myself drawing rappers’ portraits on bags every second day or so. The concept was a pretty straight forward one, while having a little hidden pun. Rappers on Bags, is as simple as it sounds, all these rappers are literally on the bags. Those who know the term being ‘on bags’ will see the funny light in it, for those who don’t it’s just a cool concept on a different medium.

Initially it was going to be a solo show, but I have plenty of friends in the Sydney art and graffiti scenes. They loved the idea also. As it eventuated, I had some of the best names in the area throwing their spin on the concept.

What was the general response from people who came? Was it what you expected? 

Man, the response was overwhelming, all the artists killed it, so yeah it was inevitable that the feedback was going to be positive. I had complete confidence going into the night, with the usual flickering tones of self-doubt thrown in the mix of course.

I just hoped people would like them enough to purchase, and yeah, I sold majority of my 14 pieces on the night, then the rest [on] the following days. Yep, I have picked up a bunch of commissions afterward as well, which is cool.

I love the idea of people loving and appreciating my work enough to have it hanging in their place. It’s kind of surreal, but I’m glad we were all able to set a high standard, one that will need to be attained for years to come.

To see more from these artists and their works, check out the links below on their Instagram.

Beau Geedup @beaugeedupart

Sid Tapia @sidtapia

Retro @blogthief

Scott Marsh @scottie.marsh

Days One @days_one_dca

Mr. G

Radio @radiohey

Lori Saywell @elldee_art_and_design

Sophi Al Bazouni @sophieayeart

Maide @liquidpastels

Amy Sutherland @amyezaki

Buttons @cheriebutonss