The Shiva Street Art Project

September 2017 I experienced a rather intense dream of me drawing a massive picture of Lord Shiva on the street. The dream was extensively detailed, for a dream, of what the image should look like, how it should be presented and what aspects I should focus upon.

Four months later I finally have resources to begin this project.

I’m not exactly sure why Shiva has instructed me to do this picture, but I have a very strong feeling it has to do with purification and elevation of myself and the street. A major focus is his poisoned neck (Shiva known as Neelakantha). This suspicion is related to my mental health, which has been out of control for the last year, triggered by The Bourke Street Mall attack on the 20th of January 2017, this event resulted in the murder of people where I work, people died on the same pavement I draw upon. Naturally this intensified my depression and anxiety.
By sheer coincidence, as in I had not planned it and noticed it later, my first day working on The Shiva Street Art Project on the street begun on the 20th of January this year…

Whatever the case, I’ve finally started the project, one I predict will take me a few months to complete.

As per instructions given, I must create a permanent boarder around the whole canvas in red and yellow, with some kind of pronouncement in Devanagari. I’m just calling my source divine inspiration, as I don’t presume, but I am informed that technically this *is* the icon, ie., it is technically finished as Om Namah Shivaya is all that is needed…

So here you can my canvas with the boarder and ॐ नमः शिवाय (Om Namah Shivaya) written at the base in a stylized Lingam. The canvas has been tinted blue with ultramarine blue pure pigment. The canvas size is 230×166 cm (roughly 7.5×5.5 feet).

As for the depiction of Shiva, I am using a pastiche of Hindu iconography. For the main body I have chosen a famous statue from Rishikesh, India. This statue is representative of his ascetic aspects. I’ve been instructed that he must not be totally blue, however his neck *must* be blue with green aspects. Eyes closed, bare chested, two-armed, meditative, sitting on the tiger skin. The cobra must have its head up with hood flared. Ganga is not personified in his hair, but is spouting out of the topknot onto a Lingam on the right, the Trident (Trishula) and drum on the left, with the pot (Kamandalu) at the base. The background is mountainous with the Kailash peak somewhere.

This is my second day progress, I still need to refine his face, but I’m so far happy with the progress.


Day 4 Progress:

These are my references:



So far the most challenging thing is learning more in-depth about Shiva, he is god I’ve known about for a very long time, but never had contact with – until now. I’m also put extra precautions about taboos and conscious about my feet, as I am doing this as a devotional street art project I lay down a protective mat to keep the icon directly off the pavement and I do not walk on or touch the canvas with my feet.

In terms of art, it has been challenging working out his flesh tones. I want him to be ashen, but not completely grey or devoid of colour, nor do I want him to be completely blue. I’m working off a black and white photo so I’m making this up on the spot… I have to be imaginative… I think I’m getting the colour I want though.

When finished, I am willing to donate the icon to a local Hindu temple, if they will accept him.

I hope to keep this blog posted as more progress continues!

Om Namah Shivaya!


Street Art Update

I wish to give my thanks to my Patreon sponsors, the donations I’ve been receiving has been really helpful lately. As a gift to my readers and admirers here is some updated photos of our work.

We’re making these pictures really fast and gathering a collection, if anyone is interested in buying feel free to email me for info.

“The Beloved”

At the beginning of the year I started a large reproduction of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “The Beloved”, also known as The Bride. It has taken me roughly two months to complete at a size of 1.5 by 1.8 metres, on canvas in pastel.

I’m a fan of Rossetti and intend to do a series of his works over the next year or so. (Already started a new one!)

I technically finished my version earlier this week, but will need to make some corrections and repairs in the studio, especially if sold – yes, this work is for sale – email me if interested: markos.gage “@”

The Beloved is a fascinating painting as it is very odd in terms of composition, style and colour. Rossetti’s work is usually very strange and unique, but with obvious influences from European masters, in this painting there international uses of clothing and jewellery including the green Japanese silk dress of the bride and Peruvian jewels.

Being one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Rossetti sought to change the Victorian standards of art and challenged the artistic establishment in Britain with his pieces.

The Beloved is in part inspired by The Song of Solomon, (one of the most beautiful and erotic pieces in the Bible), on the frame of the original painting are two passages from the song:

My beloved is mine and I am his (2:16)


Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine (1:2)

Therefore this scene captures the bride revealing herself to the groom (the viewer).

I’m happy with my rendering of it, especially considering I was sick for a majority of drawing it, but there are a few things I wish to fix. Foremost is the left eye of the bride – it needs to be reshaped and adjusted. The African flower boy’s face needs some shaping and his hands corrected. Also some basic repairs from the damage caused by the elements.

Below are some selected progress pictures. (Also to prove to my hecklers that *NO* I don’t buy my paintings from overseas and “pretend” to draw them.)

Melbourne’s Street Arts Under Attack

(Image source, Herald Sun – 2016)

Want to support Melbourne’s street art? Please sign the petitions: here and here.

The city of Melbourne is regarded as the artistic capital of Australia. It has a long and glorious history celebrating the arts and is likewise home to many artists. The city and its citizens are known for being liberal, coffee drinking bohemians in a cityscape that would be fitting for Europe with it’s eclectic mix of neo-classical, Victorian and modern architecture. The laid back attitude of the inhabitants coupled with festivities and culture have marked out the city as the most liveable city in the world for many years. (1) Art quite literally spills out into the streets via local and international buskers performing daily to an appreciative and generous public. The support and love of street art in Melbourne has made it an internationally renowned city of street art. (2)

Unfortunately things are changing. In the last twelve months there has been a dramatic rise in homelessness, (3) with art being pushed aside for tents and bedding on the main streets. Likewise the associated filth from people living on the streets such as bodily waste, garbage and drug use clutter the iconic bluestone pavers that make the sidewalk.
The city council and state government have invested significant funds into new emergency housing and social services, but until these ventures finalise in the politicking process the issue remains on the street. (4)

To make matters worse the city is currently governed by an out of touch, conservative, mayor who does not hold the same values as the cities citizens. Cr. Robert Doyle was elected in 2008, literally within minutes of his win he vouched for cleaning up the streets, attacking buskers whom he equated to ‘bogans’, a slang term for an uncultured Australian.  (5)

Since then Melbourne’s buskers have been facing troubles from the once supportive council by the cities by-laws officers that bully and hand out hefty fines for minor infractions, tightening of the confusing, contrary and legally questionable busking regulations and also the once free busking permits now have fees. Finally last week the council announced a ban of amplification on the main street of Melbourne, (6) effectively destroying the livelihood of artists and bringing an end to Melbourne’s international busking reputation.

This ban is being proposed as a trial but as these things work out it will most likely become permanent. The council is citing 264 complaints being made about loud buskers, but sometimes fail to state that these complaints were made over a three and a half year time period. Likewise they fail to state if the complaints are from repeat complainers and also if the complaints are city wide. The council is refusing to acknowledge that while there are complaints there are countless compliments to buskers by the public via donations given to buskers. Similarly the council is refusing to acknowledge the academic research (7, 8) that supports buskers place within the cultural and social landscape and that it has been determined that buskers reduce crime in the area they play and generate a safe atmosphere – something that should be encouraged during this homeless crisis.

Instead Cr. Robert Doyle has taken to right-wing media outlets to vent his personal hatred against buskers and art. Putting an undue negative emphasis on buskers at a time when he has no power to deal with the increasing homeless issue, while also heading to election in October 2016. It is painfully obvious that he is attempting to scapegoat buskers to give the public an impression that he is ‘cleaning up the streets’ meanwhile attacking the artistic foundations and cultural heritage that make this city the best in the world.

Want to support Melbourne’s street art?

Please sign the petitions: here and here.

There is a protest to be held on the 12pm 20th of July 2016 at the town hall:

Citations & Notes:



3 & 4



7 & 8

Susie J. Tanenbaum, Underground Harmonies: Music and Politics in the Subway of New York

Below is new study of busking regulations in Melbourne and Sydney by Julia Quilter and Luke McNamara of the University of Melbourne. It studies the history and current legal status of laws being use by the CoM to regulate busking. The conclusion of the review is positive, but it also highlights the legal ‘greyness’ of the laws being used to enforce the permit system and this recent banning on Swanston Street.

Companion article that summarises the above findings: