Kyle Hughes-Odgers is one of Perth’s biggest creative talents in the last decade. His stunning artwork and mesmorising style have brought life and colour to our city. From the streets to bedsheets he’s accumulated an impressive and diverse portfolio of work. Kyle is back this Friday to wow us once more with a brand new exhibition at Turner Galleries.
Satellite will be Kyle’s third solo show and no doubt his most anticipated. We took the opportunity to find out a little more from the artist himself.
How did it all begin? What was your motivation to do street art?
It wasn’t a deliberate plan to start making work on the street. I had always been interested in making art, mainly drawing when I was kid. Around 2004 / 2005 I started to make hand drawn one off stickers and posters that I would put up around the city. I was making all this artwork anyway and putting it up outside gave me an instant outlet. I liked that, I didn’t have to justify myself or look for someone’s acceptance, and it was immediate and fun. That process still is, painting on the street, abandoned spaces or rooftops etc. This taught me a lot about texture, composition and working at scale (small and large).
From memory what’s the first work you ever pasted/sprayed up publicly?
I put up a lot of one off stickers around 2004 but nothing particularly memorable. Characters with awkward faces and tattoos. I would draw with permanent markers onto office sticker paper and draw on rubbish etc. I put up my first large-scale wheat paste in early 2005. It was an old man with 10 double chins and no arms or legs because the paper wasn’t wide enough to draw them in. Very different stylistically to what I do now and why I stopped working under the alias creepy.
Tell us a little about your creative process?
Everything starts with my sketchbook. I go through a lot of them, usually every 6 to 12 weeks. I sketch ideas and write concepts down. I use this as a base for most projects I’m working on as a starting point to flip through and pick up on an idea that I think has weight and then I can explore it further.
Your style in three words?
Narrative, Abstract, Pattern
Your work varies from grey scale to cool pastels to vibrant striking colours. What influences your palette selection in your work?
Mostly time. I have been working as a full time artist for nearly 10 years, so over time colours/textures change and develop depending on what I find interesting at that point. I couldn’t stand it if I stuck to one colour way or palette for the rest of my life, that sounds incredibly boring.
Your largest public art project recently was at the Perth International Airport. How long did it take and did you encounter any challenges?
Planning was around 6 – 8 months. Painting took 22 days with 2 assistants, so around 2 months in total installation time. As it was at an airport the on-site logistics and planning was thorough which is normal for projects of that scale. Working with 3D sculptural elements and LED lighting systems was an interesting process to get the right people on board for install and programming.
When you do a large-scale mural how much of it has been planned and how much is improvisation?
It changes project to project. Some projects I’ll plan for a week, others around a year and everything in between.I always have a sketch that I am working from and then enjoy the process of problem solving to make the final artwork as strong as it can be within the context of the location. Changing colours / adding or taking away elements or patterns. I like the freedom of painting, if I planned every exact line it would feel too designed for me.
What’s number one on your list of places to visit? What do you think it is about travelling that tends to trigger creativity?
Travelling forces you to get out of routine and take on new information. This probably helps with creativity?
I’m interested in seeing the natural world at the moment. I would love to trek in New Zealand. I’m planning to walk across Scotland for 6 weeks with my Dad and brother next year.
You have had exhibitions in Melbourne, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Do you find different parts of the world interpret your work in different ways?
Yes and no. But I don’t think I have experienced one place reacting drastically different to another. Which I think is great, I’m aiming to make-work and explore narratives that cross over cultural boundaries and connect with a bigger picture of what it means to exist as humans on a living planet, which is orbiting a ball of fire in an infinite universe.
Which part of Perth inspires you the most?
I spend most of my time around Maylands, Northbridge and the city. I quite like Fremantle and the ocean.
You’ve previously expressed an interest in painting a lighthouse and your new book ‘On a Small Island’ features a prominent lighthouse in the background. Any luck in finding a lighthouse to paint yet?
Haha not yet! The search continues… Any lighthouse owners out there send me an email. I’m keen.
What can the people of Perth expect from your upcoming solo exhibition this month?
I have 18 paintings on linen, some framed drawings and small wooden bottle sculptures with etched copper labels. It’s a mix of abstract pattern based and figurative works. Exploring ideas of Macro / Micro, path finding, mapping and existence.
Satellite officially opens this Friday June 26, 6pm at Turner Galleries 470 William St Northbridge running until 25 July. Hope to see you all there!
For exhibition catalogue and pre-sales contact: allison@