It began with a Roar. The year was 1982 - Fitzroy was still a scruffy corner of the city, punk was on the rise and alongside his art school comrades, Pasquale Giardino was fed up. Uninspired by their theory-heavy curriculum, Giardino and his fellow students decided to take matters into their own hands.
Their answer was Roar Studios - one of Melbourne’s first (and fiercest) artist-run-initiatives. Nested on Brunswick Street, the Roar collective opposed all things status quo. Exhibiting ideas, styles and voices contra to the system, they fast gained traction as a pulse in Melbourne culture. Picking up after the Angry Penguins, these rebels gleaned influence from punk, jazz and graffiti - all while drawing to the beat of their own drum.
Armed with a mohawk and pastel, Giardino created without pause. The results are unflinching, diverse and always captivating. They span the guts of Australian culture, through to everyday life and even, art history. Always present is a dash of humour, smarts and just a twinge of something sad.
Like Icarus, Giardino flew close to the sun. More world wearily than the average, this experience of the artist’s own demons linger beneath his imagery. In thick, bold lines, he charts the highs and lows at the cutting edge of art, culture and himself.
On the other side of the world, punk-attitudes ricocheted through New York. With a similar devil-may-care intuition, Jean-Michel Basquiat too found the music in rebellion. On Brunswick Street in Melbourne, Giardino jams back - playing a percussion of pastels that is joyous, funny and despairing, often all at once.
To browse the entire Pasquale Giardino collection, click here.