Big Love & Piece Out

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 A Q&A with St Kilda artist Mark Fitz ahead of his first solo exhibition ‘Piece Out’ at The Sandpit








Tell us about life growing up in Dublin

Growing up in Dublin was great. I grew up playing on the streets rather than with computers, running around in little gangs getting up to harmless mischief. The weather is usually pretty bad in Ireland, so it’s essential to develop an optimistic attitude and a good sense of humour. It’s something that becomes part of your personality and carries through to adult life. In my late teens, Ireland was a very interesting place. It was going through an economic boom and the city was a major cultural hotspot in Europe. It was an exciting time and place to be a teenager.


What inspired you to become an artist?

Simply put ‘self expression’. I’ve always immersed myself in creativity, whether making music or visual art. I’ve always seen art as an instrument of change, it’s a powerful tool that can break down barriers and transcend all other means of expression. One of the earliest pieces I can recall that influenced me was a street stencil in Dublin in the mid 90s. It simply read ‘Think Stupid?’ and depicted a hand with a finger pointing at a stick figure. Its message was simple, clear and poignant – it was encouraging people to simply think. It struck a chord with me and opened my eyes to the influence creative expression could have in a social context.


What are the highlights of your time in Australia?

The birth of my sons Niko and Dylan. Being chosen as a Stencil Art Prize finalist, winning the St Kilda Festival Poster competition and finding time to paint on the streets and work on projects. I’ve met some amazing like-minded people and made some life-long friends.


How has the world of street art changed since you have been here?

Massively in the last decade. The term ‘street art’ is relatively new, previously it was all labelled ‘graffiti’ or more commonly ‘vandalism’. It’s only the explosion of street art celebrities like Banksy and Obey that has seen street art crossover from walls of streets to walls of galleries. When I left Ireland it was slowly beginning to build a credible scene, which is now blossoming. Coming to Melbourne was eye-opening, because street art is an integral part of the fabric of the city.


What are your hopes for your first solo exhibition?

I hope it will provoke thought. It’s a snapshot of some of the work I’ve done in the last six years. It was not something I had planned to do, but due to a relative being unwell I’m moving back there for a term. This show is a farewell and thank you to Melbourne, for now. Big Love & ‘Piece Out’.



Piece Out

Wednesday to Sunday, 7 – 25th May. Open from 10am– 6pm.

The Sandpit, Ground floor, 148A Barkly Street, St Kilda

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