As I've shared before, I love wandering around cities and taking photos of street art. I also love trying to find out who made the art, and then sharing that info with others. Today I want to share the work of Will Coles, whose street art I was lucky enough to encounter in Melbourne, Australia. He creates sculptures that provide witty, critical commentary on consumer culture, capitalism, the environmental crisis, and more. He then places those sculptures in public spaces—I have encountered a lot of his work in Melbourne's Central Business District over the last decade or so.
According to his website, he's:
Best known for his defiant and accessible take on street art – sculptures that bring together pop and conceptual aesthetics. These familiar yet unsettling works surprise and delight people in cities across the world as they go about their day.
By embedding dissonant words and sentences into his concrete casts of seemingly banal objects, his work uses dark humour to provide a commentary on modern society, taking on issues like consumerism or environmental destruction.
Whilst a lot of his work falls into this street art movement, many of his pieces can also be found in private and public collections.
Most of his work though, is unaccounted for, as – despite the strength of the glue used – his public sculptures are highly desired and regularly stolen!
Born in Warwickshire, Will grew up in the Suffolk countryside. His grandfather, Norman Sillman, was a sculptor so he had easy access to modern and classical art and art theory when he was growing up. Will spent several years at Ravensbourne, Wimbledon & Glasgow Schools of Art before moving to Sydney, Australia in the early 90s. He's now based somewhere in Europe.
He also recently founded Brutal Gallery, an online commercial contemporary art gallery. Brutal Gallery's website explains:
Brutal's aim is to promote artists' work and raise their profile. At Brutal we are about building and maintaining relationships between artists, collectors and curators. In a world surrounded by art, we hope to spread the incredible talent of artists and share the years of love and passion we have for it.