Art Whore

Art Talk – Kane Banner of ‘Masons of Kenya’

Australian artist, designer and musician is the man behind ‘Masons of Kenya’ – a label producing all sorts of design, art, apparel and ephemera. From stickers, pins, patches to large neon signs. All imbued with Kane’s aesthetic mix of pop culture, the occult and general esoteric practices.

(Picture below of a large neon sign designed by Kane)

With Kane and ‘Masons of Kenya’ on the rise, now is the perfect time to get to know them both, by reading the Art Talk below…

Basics/Getting to Know

Name + D.O.B?

 ** silence **

City, State n Country you currently call home?

Sydney, Australia

City, State n Country you’re from?

Nairobi, Kenya

(Pictures below of some art by Kane)

Describe a memory from some stages of your life ….basically trying to piece together your pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, romance, school, crime… ANYTHING!

* age 5 – beginnings:

I used to steal smurfs from friend’s houses, and also did my finest painting a lamb on a motorbike at child care that all the teachers gathered around.

(Picture below of Kane as a kid)

* age 10 – continuations:

Got into drawing on walls, told off for constantly drawing skulls, started collecting comics, stickers, trading cards.

* age 15 – getting serious:

Very much involved in graffiti and making stickers etc.

* age 20 – young adult:

Attended uni to do Visual Art, loathed it and seemed to stall creativity ironically.

(Picture below of Kane in his 20s)

* age 25 – goings on:

Some more street art, got into organising group exhibition including a black light glow in the dark themed one.
Started first clothing label.
Start djing and putting on parties.

* age 30 – adult mode:

Lots of freelance design posters etc
Djing lots

* age 35 – meanderings:

Worked for Advertising Agencies in Social Media. Worked for Haribo (Gummy Bears!) and was the online presence of the Old Spice man on a horse.
Started Masons Of Kenya, put out over 60 pins patches, t shirts and air fresheners.
Made my first neon and getting into that.

(A recent picture of Kane below)

Personal motto?

When writing the story of your life, make sure you are the one holding the pen.

Favorite band(s)?

Boards Of Canada, Brian Eno, 80s music

Favorite TV show(s)?

Minder, The Professionals, League Of Gentlemen

(Picture below of some ‘Masons of Kenya’ pins)

Favorite sport(s) + teams?

Dislike team sports, I like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Favorite movie(s)?

The Card with Alec Guinness, Blade Runner, The Warriors

(Photo below of one of Kane’s tattoos)

Favorite books and comics?

I loved British Comics as a kid, Beano, Whizzer & Chips, then Marvel as a teen, MAD Magazine too, love Vertigo comics now, any Brian Azzarello.
Fave author is Kinky Friedman

Art Questions

Why the name ‘Masons of Kenya’ for your art label?

My Grandfather was the head of the Freemasons in Kenya, I like how it sounds like a cult but is actually a true part of my family. (I know the handshake too).

Favorite other artist(s)?

I like Joan Cornella, Damien Hirst, Robert Crumb

Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?

Chasing up fucking people that can’t pull the trigger.

Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?

Nice connections made via instagram etc, pleasant collaboration suprises.

(Picture below of a ‘Masons of Kenya’ patch)

Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?

I see a lot of what I do as visual jokes or themes.
Art I see as catharsis, I just like to get my ideas out there, if others like them, its a bonus.

When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?

As far as I can remember.
I remember getting firelighting gel and melting a mass of girls baby figurines into a Bosch like pyramid of twisted limbs.

What did you draw as a pre-teen child?

Skulls and more skulls, very influenced by VCJ and skateboard graphics in the 80s

What did you draw as a teen?

Comic characters, graffiti characters, lots of Cheech Wizard style things.

(Pictures below of some designs by Kane)

Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?

Realizing that working for others made me miserable and to trust in my own skills.

Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?

I’ve always done things on the side, had little t shirt labels, made things, I made lamps out of xrays of my head for a while.

(Picture below of a ‘Masons of Kenya’ Predator tribute pencil)

Describe the method of making your work? (dot point all o.k.)

* your digital art?

Stylus with Surface Pro 4, great machine.

* your recent large neon sign?

Was made off shore, will be the first of many hopefully.

* your apparel – such as t-shirts, patches and pins?

Only do white or black tees, not a fan of colour, that goes for pins too, I like the idea of using the metal as the medium, I only do designs that look good silver or gold. Patches I like to do little themes or sayings, colours are very bright with those.

* your paintings?

I don’t paint very much, I like to daub over existing things, like a remix.

* your non digital drawings and illustrations?

Usually on post it notes when on the phone, I like how they are unconscious, I don’t draw as much as I used to for some reason…

If people wanted to collaborate, work with you or just buy some art – how should they get in touch?

I’m @kanebanner on all social media, IG, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, Snapchat, Gmail…

Toy + Collecting Questions

What role did toys play in your childhood?

Loved them, I was obsessed with Masters Of The Universe, I still sort of am, I liked how it mixed Sci Fi with Fantasy, a great colour pallete too..

What are your thoughts on the current designer toy scene – i ask as i know you are a fan?

I think its great artists can flesh out their creations with so many willing people to help! I’ve had limited but great experience!
It’s sort of like sculpture everyone can afford and be a part of..

(Picture below of some art by Kane)

Please write a brief timeline of your collecting history?

I culled a lot of my collection when I moved I still have some vintage WWF toys from the early 80s, the jumbo rubber ones and a cast iron Hitler Skunk from the 40s!

Item(s) you have lost, sold or given away that you wish you still had and why?

My mum threw away an entire garbage bag of Garbage Pail Kids and various stickers Id collected over my entire childhood one day, I still remind her of this sometimes..

Favorite 3 items you own and why?

I have a massive King Smurf Figure, a General Zod figure that looks like me and Skeleton Coin Eater that’s pretty cool.

Top 3 grail items you would like to own and why?

Mark Ryden did a weird eyeball tower toy called YHWH that is awesome, Id like the Undercover Hamburger lamp…

Odds n Ends

Please describe your experiences growing up in Australia?

I grew up in various roaming bike gangs, cruising the suburbs and finding things to do, you don’t see this at all anymore which is sad.

Who was your 1st crush and why?

I liked the brunette Sara in Bananarama, also Nick Rhodes hair, the keyboardist in Duran Duran.

Does sex change everything?

If a clown is watching in the corner.

(Picture below of some art by Kane)

Please describe your latest dream in detail…

See above answer..

Which 1990’s era cartoon, would you most like to see as a sex toy, and why?

I don’t like the 90’s I am an 80’s child.
I’d like to see Mekanek from Masters Of The Universe as a retractable dildo.

(Picture below of Kane’s Mekanek tribute retractable dildo)

Who would win in a fight and why: Crocodile Dundee Vs. 1960’s Batman

The only Batman I can take seriously. Marvel > DC.
I’d prefer to see Killer Croc Vs Crocodile Dundee.

(Picture below of the battle in all it’s epic glory!)

Have you ever tried psychedelics of any sort? And what was the experience like?

As Dali said, I don’t do drugs, I am drugs.
I remember I used to draw on acid lots and these were by far the worst of my drawings. I have my dads appetite for drugs and my mums inability to deal with them…

Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?

Hopefully my music as that medium is a lot more appreciated by the people at large than my ephemera or art..

Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?

I’m sure there are lots of positive, fun drug experiences, not for everyone though..
Stoned ape theory is interesting..

Please describe what you think the Australian Psyche/Zeitgeist is today?

Isolationist, revisionist colonialism with a few sprinklings of post war optimism.
A great country in the scheme of things really…

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?

Another one with Brown Cardigan, Aaron Goccs, the TV series Danger 5, a nang themed pin with Yeahdope and my 8Ball Man is becoming a resin toy.

Any major projects you want to hype?

I have a sweet neon sign for sale that is prob one of my favourite designs, lot’s of stuff on my store, check it out www.masonsofkenya.com

(Picture below of some art by Kane for ‘Brown Cardigan‘)

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