Tristan Kerr · Stray


Artist and type-based designer  invites us into his Carlton North workspace to preview works for his forthcoming exhibition, ‘Stray’, which opens in Fitzroy next week.

In the lead up to his first Melbourne solo show, Tristan reflects on interdisciplinary influences and the ever-changing face of our city.

27th July, 2017

Artist at work on a piece for his forthcoming show, ‘Stray’. Photo – .

The Melbourne-based creative in his co-share studio. Photo – .

Loose Ends’  in progress. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Loose Ends’  at a later stage. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Work in progress. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

The artist and typographer’s latest body of work explores the tensions between cultural diversity, consumerism and advertising. Photo – .

‘Being based in Europe for several years helped me reach out to a number of other typographers, urban artists, screen-printers and sign-painters, which has inspired and defined my work in art and typographic design today,’ says Tristan. Photo – .

Elle Murrell
Thursday 27th July 2017

After graduating from his design studies in Adelaide,  jetted off to work in design and screen-print studios in Paris and Switzerland (living the dream!). Whilst in Europe, he soaked up encounters with an array of talented types – from typographers, to urban artists, to more conventional screen-printers and sign-painters.  These diverse, inspiring interactions have left an indelible mark on Tristan’s creative practice.

So, too, have the last few years living back in Melbourne. ‘I was energised by the city landscape here’ tells the artist. ‘I’m continually absorbing and documenting inspiration from around Melbourne’s urban landscape, whether it’s old store-front signage, torn wheat-paste posters, graffiti and what remains; the aesthetics of buffing and the remnants of its removal!’

Tristan’s forthcoming exhibition, ‘Stray’, opening at in Fitzroy, is his first solo show in four years, and his first ever in Melbourne.  Seeking to provoke thinking around cultural diversity, consumerism and advertising, the show brings together 10 new works showcasing the artist’s distinctive layered paintwork with typographic elements, as well as mixed media such as resin and glass.

Alongside his art practice, the industrious creative has also recently launched his own commercial type-based business, Uppercase, offering services in traditional sign-writing, design, and commercial art. His North Carlton co-share studio is an environment conducive to experimentation, where Tristan enlists an array of toys/tools such as an electro pounce machine (look that one up!), airbrushes, spray guns and printers in his work.

‘I think that it’s an interest in learning, and not being concerned with a distinguished “style”, that has enabled me to transition between the disciplines of screen-printing, sign-painting, typography and design,’ ponders the inquisitive creative. ‘I’m at a point where I need to define my commercial practice more clearly, while allowing room for my visual art practice to be unconfined – not just being labelled a “sign-painter”‘. If you need further convincing, be sure to check out his show.

‘Stray’ by 
Opening Night Wednesday August 2nd, 6-8pm
August 3rd – 18th

155 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Victoria

‘I’m continually absorbing and documenting inspiration from around Melbourne’s urban landscape.’


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