Words by James Watkins
Issue 5 sees T-Squat's Art section stretched to capacity, featuring the combined talents of nine artists from six international territories. Zach Johnsen, Ben Ashton-Bell, Russ Mills, Tiago Vaz, Conrad Bizjak, Nanda Ormond, Andy Conlan, The Void and Marco Palmieri all make fantastic contributions.

We proudly offer up this veritable smorgasbord of visual delicacies (this sounds like the back of a cheap red wine) for your visual palettes delight.

The following example of Zach Johnsen's prodigious talents is truly a masterwork by an innately gifted visual artist.

This piece is relentlessly interesting. The viewer’s eyes are compelled up and down the page almost against their will, and still, after exploring it numerous times (including fastidiously piecing it together from over 80 JPEGS) I notice something new every time I treat myself to another viewing.

It's much like someone handing you a tome with every good idea that ever passed through the ephemeral landscape of your imagination. Working with pen, ink and the indiscriminate use of watercolour paint, he sets us up to absorb  an overwhelming amount of good ideas, all at once, amongst his macabre menagerie of beasts, bikes, masks, eyeballs and skeletons.

At the sprightly age of 30, Zach (an illustrator, fine artist, graphic designer and art director currently living in Portland, Oregon) has been commissioned by patrons for work internationally.  He’s created original works for print and publications, skateboards, skis, furniture, sneakers, snowboards, clothing and also co-founded and art-directed the NY/CA based clothing and apparel company Tank Theory.
Having built a reputation and gained recognition across the continents, Zach is now concentrating his efforts on expanding his visual repertoire into paintings on canvas, installation works, video and motion graphics.

2011 will see Zach in Melbourne (the home of T-Squat) to share his wares with yet another corner of the globe. We will definitely be catching up with Zach, and more than likely getting drunk at his exhibition and taking the opportunity to ask him more about his pulchritudinous art works. Result.



Inspired by his late father's body of illustrations, Ben Ashton-Bell has been drawing his whole life. This goes some way to explaining why his work emanates the maturity of someone in the twilight of their artistic endeavours, not (as the case is) that of a young artist swimming enthusiastically around in the ocean of his early twenties.

The reassuring texture of real paper is a welcome element to Ben Ashton-Bell's portfolio, and makes the polished, refined feel of his work all the more impressive. Ben's active imagination and comprehensive capabilities are reflected through his flawlessly executed and varied subject matter, including: a dog stripping off a cat outfit, a Nick Cave portrait, a fish with human legs, Gothic horror, zombie cats, ominous portraiture and his grandmother in a swimming pool with a giant hand looming below. Sensually suggestive surreal sirens (sister sentence to she sells sea shells) also make a healthy amount of appearances in Ben's imagery.

Working primarily with pen, ink and an airbrush, (not the kind you control with a mouse), Ben's heightened ability to visually communicate his ideas can be best explained by his Bachelor in Visual Communication from Melbourne's Monash University in 2005.

We're sure that you'll enjoy Ben's exquisite artworks as much as we enjoyed sharing them with you. Hopefully in the future we'll be sharing Ben's immense talents with our audience again, in the meantime visit his website to keep informed on his visual awakenings.



Tiago Vaz is an adroit Portuguese designer and ilustrador (ilustrador sounds so much more exotic than illustrator and also makes him sound like a bull fighting matador who can also draw).

In an art world built on the dubious foundation of self-inflated egos, where a great number of artists take themselves and their art a bit too seriously, Tiago's work serves as a pleasant reminder that art and fun can coexist in harmoniously harmonious harmony. His playful use of colour and shading in the following digital portraits of his friends are a fresh air of breath and break the mould of chasing the misguided artistic dragon of perceived perfection.

Tiago's work is ingenious, in-as-much as it encourages people to draw, to doodle in the sand, to smudge paint on a canvas for the sake of it, to take a photo or to make a cock-and-balls out of blue-tac. It liberates and exonerates all those with creative leanings but feel intimidated and held back by a false sense of un-entitlement to make art.

So in the name of Tiago Vaz, pick up a pen, doodle a face, write a poem, strum a guitar or interpretive dance with strangers as you make your way down the street to pick up the milk.





The phrase 'jack of all trades, master of none' does not describe Conrad Bizjak at all. Equally proficient with a spray-can, pencil, ballpoint-pen, marker, crayon, chalk, oil, acrylic, watercolour or camera, Conrad is a resourceful artist, with the ability to work with a little and create a lot. Inspired by the likes of Salvador Dali, M.C Escher and Max Ernst - the purple velvet cloak of surrealism is draped nonchalantly over the shoulders of many of his artworks.

Whether he is improvising on a warehouse wall or drawing from life, a thoughtful, metaphysical journey into the bowels of pure creation takes place between the start and finish of any of Conrad’s pieces. Watching him draw is an educational, extra-curricular activity. Never hesitating and always having confidence in his initial lines, Conrad has the gift of recreating what he (and only he) sees in the esoteric wilderness of his mind into a tangible realm of reality. A gift we are very happy to be able to showcase in Issue 5 of T-Squat.

This is where the link to more of Conrad's art work and photographs would be if he had his own website.


People never say "give a man a drawing, and he'll have something to look at for a day; but give a man two drawings and he'll have something to look at for two days" and almost definitely never will. I'm pretty sure Nanda will never say it, he'd probably think it's a shit saying.

Here's some of his great art that's not remotely shit. It's actually pretty damn sweet. Like the whale sushi one, genius. Get it? He's poking fun at the Japanese, because they like to eat whale, and sushi, so he's combined both ideas - he's even drawn chopsticks and that little bottle of soy sauce that's shaped like a fish.

Life, it's all in the details.

After you've enjoyed his work on T-Squat, you should definitely click on this link here: kids with talons dot com to check out the website Nanda helps run, it's full of interesting details...




I did have a lovely, wordy spiel about how Andy Conlan (based in Auckland, New Zealand) is a published writer, editor, award-winning director, actor, designer, comic book creator, ring announcer, illustrator, photographer and that his voice is currently being downloaded across Europe in Vodafone ringtones.

In my spiel, I elaborated on this melancholic series, 'Morgan The Waiting Pig', going into detail about how it's open to interpretation, his satisfying use of neutral space, the painstaking cross-hatching and how it looks deceptively simple because it's so well drawn. But, perhaps this quote from a recent gmail chat conversation with Andy, says more about him and his work with less words than I could ever manage:

"I've had this thing
about wanting to draw
shitloads of trees.
Perhaps a giant tree,
brush and ink illustration
that looks like it was done
by an insane person.
It's very relaxing that kind of thing".


Images: Conrad Bizjak

This collection of street-art-imagery is what happens when T-Squat's resident artist (and fellow concrete beautifier) Conrad Bizjak, visits Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane with a D-SLR.

A discerning eye for art, and the intuition /slash inclination to jump walls, clamber through holes in chain-link fencing and tread the rarely explored back alleys of CBD's has served Conrad and ultimately our blog exceedingly well.

Featuring pieces from some of the heavyweights of Australian street-art: Shida, Anthony Lister and Beastman - this collection of images reinforces and serves as a reminder that Australian street art is right up there on the world stage, in terms of technique, concepts and ubiquity.

See full collection of images on our blog.

This issue The Void returns (like a bad sequel to a horror movie, only good) releasing the monsters he has been manifesting and breeding in the dark depths of his desperation for internal parity during the past month or so.

With an accomplished and well polished combination of traditional illustration and computer technology, The Void allows us a pointed insight into himself and essentially ourselves, with this menacing ménage à trois of imagery.

Visit The Void at iamthevoid.com or he'll visit you in your nightmares and eat your cat on Christmas then enjoy the cold remains on Boxing Day in a sandwich.



Russ Mills returns to T-Squat to grace our digital pages with his brilliant artwork, some of which were featured in his latest exhibition at Signal Gallery in London.

Click here to read our write up on Russ in issue 2, or visit byroglyphics.com to see more of Russ' work on his website.



I'm not exactly sure what Creative-Development-Seasoning © was sprinkled generously into the Palmieri's parmigianas growing up (by their playwrite father and fine artist mother), but it definitely did the trick. After featuring some of Mauro Palmieris beautiful photographic collage work in issue 2, his brother, Marco Palmieri's work now finds it way into issue 5 of T-Squat.

At a recent Palmieri brothers exhibition, art pedestrians became short-term mannequins in their fixation with the details of his artwork.

His website is literally one of coolest sites you'll ever browse and is representative of the marriage between a powerful creative brain and a clever sense of humour. It's like an animated theme park, where navigating around and watching all the characters push and pull the information around is almost endlessly entertaining.

So click here: www.marcopalmieri.com after viewing Marco's art work and enjoy another side to his imagination.