"Van's art is Ventolin for the breath of resistance" (social justice activist)
Hi, my name is Van. I paint pictures on city walls, create sci-fi political art, and place hyper-real sculptures in public places. I paint murals for trade unions, illustrate children's books and I'm a dedicated football player (the world game that is) and part-time labourer. I've been living in community housing for 6 years in Melbourne's west. I have been producing and exhibiting art for 20 years. I was also a musician for 15 years. In all of my art forms I aim to reflect and part take in the energy and urgency of exploited and oppressed people that are awakening once again and struggling, in some shape or form, to bring capitalism to its knees. It's a hard, long fight. Unfortunately the ruling class is winning, and they're very experienced at using racism, sexism and homophobia to divide us. Racism against Muslims is currently one of their biggest weapons to justify wars in the middle east, and to profit from those wars. Capitalism has brought us environmental destruction and global warming and it is getting worse at a relentless pace.
"For large multi-national corporations to make profits, to continue expanding, they need vast amounts of human labour ."
According to a 2016 Oxfam report, just 8 men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world's population. This is staggering inequality. It's the result of a system in perpetual crisis because the drive for profit simply makes the rich richer and cannot provide the majority of the world's population with a decent living. Instead, the vast majority are ground down into the misery of a day-by-day existence. Some can only live hour by hour - not knowing where the next meal is coming from. This systemic bi-polarity forms the inherent contradiction of capitalism. For large multi-national corporations to make profits, to continue expanding, they need vast amounts of human labour to make, distribute, and sell objects (commodities). They also need this same grouping of people (working class in general terms) to buy most of their products. We're sacrificing a lot for this ruling elite just so they can make mega profits and be bailed out again to the tune of trillions of dollars after the next crash. On closer inspection, the vast amount of humanity (labour) doesn't actually own the tools, equipment and infrastructure that is needed to produce these commodities, nor the commodities themselves. But we have the potential to control our own labour - even withdraw it (strike). Since the early stages of capitalism's development, we have exercised this ability and made awesome gains such as the 8 hour day. We have proven that when we strike, it brings the ruling class to its knees. We begin to fight back and....well....that is what I'm interested in. This fight back part.
I’m a visual artist based in Melbourne, Australia. I believe art can help change the world for the better and that art is never neutral. Art is never devoid of politics and economics. Art is part of a war between the wealthy, ruling elites of the world and the majority of the working poor, and to a degree, the indebted, depleting middle classes. The aim of this website is simply to inspire others, through art, to challenge this destructive and soulless system. Capitalism is destroying itself at a relentless pace, and once again, it seems that more people are becoming aware that something else is possible beyond this system – something can be struggled for and won! We can no longer be told that freedom is not worth fighting for – that this is as good as it gets. We can no longer be blinded by the corporate media’s propaganda of hyper-individualism. Our fight is collective.
I was born in Nambour, Queensland and am currently working as a visual artist in Melbourne's west. My involvement in the arts over the last 20 years has included my early obsession with landscape painting around Nambour and Brisbane in the early 1990s. Once moving to Melbourne in 1995, I studied figure drawing in various community venues around Melbourne. Since moving from Brisbane, I was also playing as a drummer, bass guitarist and keyboardist in various Melbourne pop/rock bands (Cheezlekane, Seconds, Stalis Vetch and Granma). The bands played in many Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne based venues including the Punters Club, the Corner Hotel, and many others . I have displayed my art regularly since 1995, and had my first solo show at the Northcote Library (RampArt) in 1997. I was briefly curator of Rampart in 1997 - the space was co-run by the Northcote Library and DAAG. My first step into art/politics was by becoming a member of the Darebin Artists Action Group (DAAG) in 1997. Deeper involvement in global politics came about while attending the successful anti-globalization rally (S11) in Melbourne in 2000. My art began to follow my deepening left-wing views when I met my partnerTania Jorquera in 2002-03. Her family history was one of struggle against the U.S backed Pinochet regime in Chile. There was a direct correlation between Chile and Vietnam (my heritage). In 2004 I created The Carriers Project where I carried on foot my large paintings through busy city streets and shopping malls. I toured this project nationally in 2007. In 2007 I co-directed CLASS artspace (Nth Melbourne) with social justice activist Roberto Jorquera. In 2009 I was co-founder of the collectives A-17P (Artists of the 17th Parallel) and The CEOs (Collective Engagement Operatives), and now I form part of a group called the Workers Art Collective.
I am also an active futsal player and football (world game) coach. I've made art about this part of my life too - something you'll see on this website.
Some Art Awards
2019 - Selected - 2019 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids List
2019 - Selected - 2019, USA notable children's book list for ALSC (Assoc. for Library Service to Children)
2019 - Selected - USA, 2018 Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books’ Blue Ribbons List
2019 - Highly Commended - 2019 Charlotte Zolotow Award - USA, for Patchwork Bike (author, Maxine Beneba Clarke)
2019 - Selected - Outstanding International Books List from USBBY (USA Board on Books for Young People)
2019 - Winner, Caldenotts Prize (International Artists) Prize, USA, for Patchwork Bike (author, Maxine Beneba Clarke)
2018 - Shortlisted for the NSW Patricia Wrightson Prize for children's Literature (stoked!!!!)
2017 - Winner of the Crichton Award 2017 for debut illustrator of a Children's picture book. (fck yeah!!)
2017 - CBCA Honour Book Award with Maxine Beneba Clarke for The Patchwork Bike. (I am honoured - seriously!!)
2017 - Shorlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) for the Patchwork Bike (Author, Maxine Beneba Clarke), and the Crichton Award for first time children's book illustrator.
2015 - People's Choice Award (with Peter Woods), Sampari Art Exhibition for West Papua, Federal Republic of West Papua. (Rockin artwork allround in this show)
2011 – NAVA Ignition Prize for Masters Research exhibition, VCA (felt pretty goddam ignited I burnt myself a little on a trouser leg)
2009 - Finalist, Sunshine Coast Art Prize - for a piece called "Freedom and Furniture". (sorry I can't find an image for you, but it was intense)
2008 – Off the Kerb Encouragement Award, PROUD , VCA student union members exhibition
2007 – Finalist – (2nd runner-up Prize after Tony Albert) Sunshine Coast Art Award - for the art piece "100 000 to 400 000". (Tony Albert's piece was indeed powerful)
2006 –Selected for KULTOUR 2007 . Touring of “The Carriers – Local Terrain” destinations including: Sydney, Lismore, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Fremantle. The Carriers is an ongoing project by Van to expose politically engaging art to new audiences beyond the gallery. By literally carrying his paintings on foot in public spaces, he hopes to encourage debate amongst the local communities. (got in lots of trouble doing this project :P)
2004 – Finalist – Metro5 Art Award (didn't realise the moron former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett had stacks to do with this prize and was a judge at some point??? - ffs)
Recent Exhibitions, Street displays etc (Selected)
2019 - Will update this soon - as there's been lots going on
2018 - Some stuff has been written about my shit somewhere
2017 - A whole lotta stuff has been written about my art in some online shit
2016 - 2020 - #RichForks (a world tour starting in venues in Australia) - shoving it up the billionaires!
2015 - No More Delusions - I want Revolution. Street Sculpture, Melbourne CBD.
2014 - (this year was a blur - I made many artworks I have to update them soon)
2014 - Rebel Striker Instructional Football videos (youtube and on this website)
2013 - “Football v Tony Abbott”, 2 x youtube videos
2013 - “Free Gaza”, football public Sculpture, streets of Footscray, Victoria, Australia
2013 - “Occupy Rio”, football public Sculpture, streets of Footscray, Victoria, Australia
2013 - “No Cuts to Education”, VCA and University of Melbourne Campus
2012 – “Refugee”, Public Sculpture, Streets of Footscray, Victoria
2012 – “No Nauru!”, Public Sculpture, Melbourne CBD, Victoria
2012 - “$chool”, Public Sculpture, streets of Footscray, Victoria
2012 - “Mi Cuerpo se Regresar a La Lucha” (trans. “My body slowly returns to the class struggle”), streets of Santiago, Chile
2011 - “Final Oligarchy”, Place Gallery, Richmond, Australia
2010 - “Van T Rudd vs Julia Gillard”, VCA, Victoria
2009 – “Used Car from Afghanistan”, Off the Kerb Gallery, Collingwood, Vic
2008 to eternity, "eternal residency” curated by dead Afghanis, White House, Washington DC, USA
2008 – “The Carriers – Melbourne Art Fair Intrusion”, Exhibition Building, Carlton, Victoria
2008 – Untitled, Installation in water fountain zone, NGV , St Kilda Rd, Vic
2007 – The Carriers – Local Terrain, National Tour (kultour), Casula Powerhouse (Sydney), 48hrs Visual Art Festival (Byron Bay), Metro Arts ( Brisbane), Belconnen (ACT), Fremantle Festival (WA), Mt Macedon (VIC)
2007 – The Carriers – Melbourne Social Forum, Brunswick, Vic
2007 – The Carriers – “Intrusion at Art Melbourne07” – carried painting into exhibition building
2007 – “Operation Enduring Freedom”, Melbourne Social Forum, at CERES (carrying project)
2006 – “Genocide – The Australian Scream”, The Carriers, During Stolenwealth Games, Federation Square and Melbourne CBD , supported by Trocadero Art Space.
2005 – “The Carriers”(in conjuction with Exposure), Big West Festival, Maribrynong region – carrying paintings with Michael Brennan along Footscray Streets, Malls, High Point shopping centre
2005 – “And The Woman Said, Let Our People Go”, Trocadero Art Space, Footscray
2004 – “The Carriers Project”, for Architects for Peace, Arts Centre Undercroft, City
2004 – “Intravenous – the Carrier”, Melbourne Fringe Festival
2004 – “There is No Surrender”, Santina’s window space, High St Northcote
2004 – “Intravenous – The Carrier”, Carrying Painting in Melbourne City including NGV foyer
2003 – ” Layered Breathe, Halo (fuck, shit)”, Honeyeaters, Palmer St Richmond, Vic
2002 – ” Conduits Hereafter” First Site Gallery, RMIT , Melbourne
1997 - "Five Wives", Northcote Library, Vic
Recent Group Exhibitions and Collaborations (selected)
2016 - 2020 - #RichForks (a world tour starting in venues in Australia)
2015 - Stop the Forced Closures of Aboriginal Communities, a Mural collaboration between the VCA Student Association and the Wilin Centre, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne.
2015 - Marxism Conference - Ideas to Challenge the System, a collaboration with social justice activists from Australia and around the world including Emory Douglas, Eamonn McCann, Annand Ghopal, Gary Foley and many many more.
2014 – “Ideas to Challenge the System”, with Sam Cook, Richard Bell, Lauren Green, Chuckie Calsado, Liz Ross, RISE Theatre of the Oppressed, and more...Marxism Conference, Union House, University of Melbourne, Australia.
2013 – “I want Change” A survey of contemporary political art – A group exhibition, LaTrobe University Museum of Art, curated by Michael Brennan
2013 – Public Art display, alongside Aboriginal artist/activist Targan, and former Black Panther from the USA Billy X Jennings, Marxism Conference, Union House, Melbourne University
2013 – Street Art for Laneways Festival, Footscray, Victoria
2012 – “Agent Orange”, group exhibition and fundraiser, Mori Gallery, Sydney
2011 – At The Vanishing Point Gallery, Sydney. “Contested Territories”.
2010 - Migrant Resource Centre Group Show, Australia on Collins, Melbourne
2010 - "Chemicle Agents" by A-17P collective, The Library Artspace, Nth Fitzroy, Melbourne
2010 - Townsville Youth Festival, Queensland (artwork disallowed)
2010 - Blindside Art Space, Melbourne
2010 - "Racism - product of Australia", Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
2009 - F.A.C.T 4, Footscray Community Arts Centre
2009 - Group show at Slot Space, Redfern, Sydney
2009 - UnAustralian - with Dom Golding, Big West Festival, Footscray, Victoria, Australia.
2009 – “Nam Bang”, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, NSW
2009 – “Uprising”, Degraves St Subway, Melbourne, Vic
2008 – “PROUD”, VCA student union members exhibition
2008 – “Ho Chi Minh City – Young Artists”, City Library, Flinders Lane, Melbourne
2008 – “I Love Pho”, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne
2007(OCT) – “Alternatives”, Latin America Asia Pacific Solidarity Conference, Trades Hall, Melbourne. Speakers Artists and Activists from Aotearoa/NZ, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philipines, Sth Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Venezuela…etc
2007 – “Nuclear Posters”, Contributers Exhibtion, Breakdown Press, Artery, Fitzroy, Vic
2007 – “Smells like Sulphur”, A tribute to Venezuela and the Art of telling Bush to Piss Off…, with Roberto Jorquera, Trocadero Art Space, Footscray, Victoria.
What are they saying? (Selected)
2019 - Some stuff has been written about my shit somewhere
2018 - Some stuff has been written about my shit somewhere
2017 - A whole lotta stuff has been written about my art in some online shit
2014 - "15 Captivating Works of Art That Challenge the McDonaldization of Society", Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/24/mcdonalds-protest-art_n_4981799.html
2013 – “Art, Freedom of Speech and the Law”, Damian Carrick's Law Report http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lawreport/art2c-freedom-of-...
2011 – “Van Rudd Claims Censorship on MidEast Art”, by Wendy Carlisle http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3216175.htm
2010 – Our New Selection, ABC's Australian Story
2009 - Brigid Anderson, "For Sale: $1.2b Car Part", ABC News Online, Oct 5
2009 - Adri Nieuwhof, "Installation Criticising Occupation, Veolia Causes Stir", Electronic Intifada, March Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate based in Switzerland.
2009 - Sam King, "Censoring Art to Protect Connex's Israel Connection", Direct Action, April
2009 - Azlan McLennan, "Connex Tries to Censor Pro-Palestinian Art", Socialist Alternative, March
2009 - Reid Sexton, "Rudd's Nephew Clashes With Connex", the Age, March 8th
2008 – Cover Image for Overlander 92, an Australia Council Funded Writers Magazine
2008 – “Young Rudd’s Artwork Too Hot For MCC ”, ABC Radio National, May 23
2008 – Katherine Bradstreet, “Protest Art Censored”, Greenleft Weekly, June 14
2008 – “Art Attack”, ABC TV 7pm World News Today, May 23
2008 – Michelle Grattan, “Young Rudd’s Artwork Too Hot for MCC ”, The Age, May23
2008 – Michelle Grattan, “Is the Art Fuss Justified?”, Sydney Morning Herald, May 25
2008 – Lucy Battersby, “Under the Influence: Rudd’s Work Echoes Banksy”, The Age Online, May 23
2008 – Lucy Battersby, “Rudd Work Inspires Controversy and Commentary”, The AgeMay 24
2008 – Herald Sun, “Council Rejects Painting by PM’s Nephew”
2007 – Tony Iltis, “The Art of Telling Bush to Piss Off”, GreenLeft Weekly, May 24
2007 – Suzanne Carbone, “Brushing Up on Rudd’s Politics”, The Age, June 11
2007 – Suzanne Carbone, “In The Picture”, The Age, July 9
2007 – Robyn Ironside, “ Walk of Art Moved On – Rudd’s Nephew Faced Arrest Over Canvas for Peace”, The Courier Mail, July 7.
2007 – “Art For the Masses”, Liverpool Leader, June 6
2007 – Anne Tarasov, “Art That Can’t Fail to Move”, Liverpool City Champion, June 13
2007 – Helena Sivric, “Art Takes to the Streets”, Liverpool Leader, June 20
2007 – Blythe Seinor, “Just Don’t Tell Uncle Kev – Rudd Nephew Courts Controversy with Burning Flag Painting”, Sunshine Coast Daily, August 16
2006 – Stolewealth Poster Series, Breakdown Press
2006 – Azlan McLennan, “Reclaiming the Public”, Green Left Weekly, Oct
2006 – Gillian Davey, “Van T Rudd”, Direct Action Newsletter, Issue 2
2006 – Briar Sinclair, “Maidstone Artist Moved On”, Western Times, April 11
2006 – Christine de Kock, “Dreamtime a Nightmare”, The Star, April 4
2005 – “war Vet Dad Inspires”, Western Times, Nov 15
2004 – “Politics of A Carrier”, Artery Magazine, Vol 2, Issue 2, Dec