Artist Jerome Davenport leaves 'no more blank walls' across WA

Artist Jerome Davenport, aka Ketones6000, in from of one of the murals he painted for a building in St Georges Terrace, Perth.
Artist Jerome Davenport, aka Ketones6000, in from of one of the murals he painted for a building in St Georges Terrace, Perth.

ART knows no boundaries and for aerosol artist Jerome Davenport this rings especially true.

Born in Narrogin in the Wheatbelt region of WA and growing up in his early life on a family farm at Wickepin, Mr Davenport showed no particular interest in art as a child.

Looking at his artwork today and the obvious natural talent he has, it begs the question as to what awoke the artist within.

"It wasn't until my later youth, when I finished high school, that I dabbled a little in graffiti aerosol art," Mr Davenport said.

"I went to WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) and studied theatre and props majoring in scenic art.

A close up of the Western Swamp Tortoise, also part of the Coles, Albany mural.

A close up of the Western Swamp Tortoise, also part of the Coles, Albany mural.

"This was running all the theatre shows and building the scenes for them and painting the backdrops.

"It was through this that my break came in the form of a few commissions I received after people had seen my work."

The break was in the form of murals for cafes and some other businesses in the city.

"It just sort of had a snowball effect from there, it just kept going," he said.

This humble beginning to his art form and inspiration drawn from street art, has taken Mr Davenport, literally worldwide with his artist name Ketones6000.

"I have murals in Perth and country WA, around Australia as well as overseas," he said.

"I have works in London, Europe, Canada and South America."

By his own admission though, it has not been an easy or sudden journey and he knows the path of an artist struggling to find the elusive break and ways to earn money for his trade.

Living with red/green colour-blindness, Mr Davenport said this is why the aerosol art worked well for him as a medium, as the colours were pre-made/ readily available and not needing to be blended and mixed to get the desired colours.

But the street art scene by nature is notoriously hard to infiltrate and make a name for yourself.

 A close up of the Blue Fairy wren that is part of the mural on the Coles, Albany wall.

A close up of the Blue Fairy wren that is part of the mural on the Coles, Albany wall.

"Knowing how hard the street art scene is to break into I wanted to create something that would assist others," Mr Davenport said.

"Trying to break into the street art world was hard and I was late to the scene myself.

"It is quite a tight knit scene and everyone keeps to themselves quite a bit, sort of an 'each to their own' mentality.

"So that is why I created Blankwalls."

Blankwalls is a company Jerome created and two years ago he expanded this to incorporate other artists and has become a management company for many other street artists.

Blankwalls motto is 'No more blank walls - blank walls are boring'.

The company specialises in the management of street art commissions, with a mission to collectively eliminate blank walls around the world by painting distinctive interpretations of life on the spaces.

This striking portrait of a young girl, was part of a Wanneroo mural completed by Jerome.

This striking portrait of a young girl, was part of a Wanneroo mural completed by Jerome.

"It was always my company, I represented myself," Mr Davenport said.

"Now we represent around 60 artists worldwide, we have a director in London and two of us here in Perth.

"We manage projects Australia-wide and in Europe as well, but with a majority of those being in the UK."

Blankwalls does a lot of community programs and works with local councils and government and schools.

"We offer workshops also," he said.

"We give a lot of young up-and-comers the opportunity to really get involved and take all the administration things out, to allow them to do what they do best - paint."

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While saying he was late to the scene, it is no mean feat to have accomplished as much as has he has by the age of 30 and to be helping more upcoming artists achieve their dreams and goals through Blankwalls.

As chance would have it Mr Davenport decided to move home in September last year after two and a half years living in London.

"Prior to that I was backpacking around Central and South America," he said.

"I was very lucky to have moved home when I did, I would not like to have been living over there at the moment with COVID."

Mr Davenport said the move home and the change of pace from London had been really inspiring and working on country pieces has been really calming and grounding.

"I always have a sense of calling to the country," he said.

This ocean inspired mural in Rockingham was completed as part of a workshop run by Jerome and the participants pictured.

This ocean inspired mural in Rockingham was completed as part of a workshop run by Jerome and the participants pictured.

"I always feel at peace coming back, it's like going back to your roots and I jump at any opportunity I get to come and work in the country areas.

"I love the South West, anywhere in the Wheatbelt, and I have family around Ravensthorpe, Wickepin and down south.

"It's a beautiful part of the world."

For Mr Davenport the pieces he finds the most pleasure working on are portraits and native flora and fauna.

He likes to delve into the area he is working in, and its history and characters.

"I generally build my concepts around a few different topics," he said.

"One of these being local heroes, or people that have been the building blocks of communities, people that have inspired and touched the community and brought them together.

"Another one I focus on is native flora and fauna, obviously coming from the country I have been exposed to animals in the bush and all the beautiful things you find in the bush."

Endangered animals and flora also play a big part in this artist's work and he likes to draw attention to the beauty of the creatures and plants that need to be nurtured for the future.

"I like to make the endangered flora and fauna a focal point as it is important we preserve these for our future generations," Mr Davenport said.

"Each project is completely different though, so it really depends on the space, the place and the clients.

"But I do have those values I like to incorporate though."

This striking portrait of a young girl, was part of a Wanneroo mural completed by Jerome.

This striking portrait of a young girl, was part of a Wanneroo mural completed by Jerome.

While using the native flora and fauna at home is one of his signatures, Mr Davenport said when overseas he really expanded his knowledge of local areas by delving further into stories based on portraits he was painting.

"Portraiture is one of my favourite things to do," he said.

"Exploring that has meant I have learnt a lot through my art.

"I love that I can do that and that it has allowed me the experience.

"Each piece has a story and I really try to recreate the story in-depth.

"You not only learn about the people you are painting, but about the place and how it all ties together and what the people mean to that place."

An example of the history and knowledge Mr Davenport has gained is a mural he painted in 2018 in Bethnal Green, in London's East end.

The mural depicts three separate stories.

"The first is a German and British soldier sharing a cigarette together on what was known as the Christmas Truce in 1914 where there was a series of unofficial ceasefires," he said.

"The second portrait is of George Gristey who was born in Hackney and lived in Bethnal Green.

"George served as a Private in the East Surrey Regiment and was killed in action in Belgium on 23 June, 1915.

"The third is a woman working in a bomb factory in East London.

Jerome with Wanneroo local Margaret who was one of the local characters who became part of a Wanneroo mural he was commissioned to paint.

Jerome with Wanneroo local Margaret who was one of the local characters who became part of a Wanneroo mural he was commissioned to paint.

"These women were known as the 'Canary Girls' because their efforts working with toxic chemicals turned their skin yellow.

"There were many of these factories around East London and without these forgotten heroes who risked life and limb to supply ammunition to the frontline, the war would have been completely different."

The latest completed mural by Mr Davenport was commissioned by Mt Barker business owners Sue and George Cork who had a wall and a concept.

The end result is not only eye-catching, colourful and fun but also stimulating and energising, showing two happy children, having a great time on a homemade wooden go-kart with swooping magpies.

"The piece is full of nostalgia and brings back so many memories as a child growing up in the country," Mr Davenport said.

"I would love to paint pieces like this all the time, as it brings so much joy and happiness to the passers-by."

The sense of pride and ownership is one of the main things that he really enjoys about the artwork he has done in rural communities like Mt Barker, Narrogin, Wickepin, Gnowangerup, Bunbury, Albany and others.

"When a piece is local it really instils a sense of pride in the community," he said.

"They can relate to the piece and they embrace it and it becomes something else for them too."

The latest completed mural by Jerome was commissioned by Mt Barker business owners Sue and George Cork who had a wall and a concept.

The latest completed mural by Jerome was commissioned by Mt Barker business owners Sue and George Cork who had a wall and a concept.

If you search nomoreblankwalls, you will find many of the pieces completed by this talented artist and an abundance of information he discovered about each mural's subject matter, like the endangered Gilbert's Potoroo, mural in Albany, and the vessel Leviathan in Mandurah to name a few.

Mr Davenport said he has had to work hard to overcome the anxiety the colour blindness has caused and does still at times cause him.

Lucky for the public, this has not held him back, his work has been described as blurring the lines between graffiti and muralism and natural elements, with incredible percussion that resonates throughout the world, according to the blankwalls biography.

Mr Davenport said that coming from a farming background, he and his brothers all ended up being 'creatives', not farmers.

"But we will always have the farm with us," he said.

"I know that country life has inspired a lot of what I do."

It goes to show that no matter where you're from, the world can truly be your canvas.

This story From graffiti to international street art fame first appeared on Farm Weekly.