(BEST SEEN IRONICALLY LARGE)
The whole world is asking just who IS the man INSIDE the helmet?
As the media frenzy continues public fascination with the revelation of Tony Stark's superheroic new bodyguard, coupled with the successful opening of the Stark Industries Entertainment Division's timely spin-off movie, "Iron Man" has led to a sharp increase in the value of S.I shares.
Following the rebranding of the organisation as "Stark International" Tony Stark has embarked on a global asset aquisition spree purchasing property, corporations, artwork, patents and other deductables designed to reinvest the substantial profits generated.
Pictured is Mr Stark's bodyguard, recently arrived in Melbourne, Australia, examining a major piece created by the renowned British based stencil and guerilla artist, "Banksy" during one of his visits to the southern city.
Spray painted on the back wall of the Nicholas Building in Cocker Alley off Flinders Lane the artwork has been designated Legal Art by the Melbourne City Council's Street Art Assessment Panel. Stark International became aware of its existence in 2008 when its Melbourne office was approached to tender for the contract to shield the artwork with a protective transparent aluminium covering.
After personally inspecting the work Iron Man made no comment to the hastily assembled press about the 'irony' of his interest in the helmeted figure, but could be overheard receiving the following communication from his employer:
"Buy it. Store it."
Heated but obviously successful negotiations followed.
After carefully stasis bonding the artwork Iron Man cut the wall away with his repulsors, installing a temporary force field brace to keep the building from collapsing. Iron Man then rocketed away carrying the concrete and brick wall casually tucked under one arm. After an amazing intercontinental solo flight to his next appointment in the United States he is rumoured to be inspecting the derelict but still impressive "Xanadu" mansion and estate; formerly owned by the controversial 20th Century newspaper tycoon, Charles Foster Kane....
Yes, there really is a "Banksy" here in Melbourne and I couldn't help but Marvel at the coincidence of themes of this piece with my current Iron Man, er, passion.
It also ties in with one of my other interests, deep sea diving suits:
Find out more about the cheeky Mr Banks here:
It was raining Lockjaws and Sabretooths the day I took this; a real Melbourne deluge complete with hail and blot-out-the-sun gutterbusting downpour. Happily, the clouds cleared long enough to give me enough ambient light to take this picture.
Yes, that's the 12 inch MK 3 not-very-articulated action figure.
The Nicholas Building, constructed in 1925-26, was designed by architect Harry Norris in the Beau-Arts Palazzo style and occupies the corner of Swanston and Flinders Lane (21-47 Swanston Street) in Melbourne. It was commissioned for Alfred Nicholas, one of the brothers behind the famous "Aspro" brand of headache powders. Originally 8 storeys tall it was extended to 11 in 1939 and boasted a then cutting edge 'self cleaning' Wunderlich terracotta faience facade on its eastern and southern elevations.
Apart from ground level mainstream retail shops the building houses many resident artists (including Vali Myers) and eclectic small businesses (Such as the Poets Bookshop) in its upper floors, which are accessible via one of the city's few remaining human operated lifts/elevators, which is driven by lift lady Debbie Mounsey, whose hand-sewn bears have become coveted in their own right.
The lift ascends from the Cathedral Arcade, a unique and splendidly preserved vaulted, lead-light roof and fan-lighted retail arcade.
None of which you'd necessarilly guess from this marvelously grungy back alley.
You can find out more about this thriving artists urban 'village' here:
More pictures of this amazing space soon!
(I didn't notice that someone had stickered the wall with a Pinocchio tag until I looked at the picture...which, come to think of it, is also amusing in the context of Iron Man Toys. "Someday he'll be a REAL boy!")
I was recently saddened to hear that the replica stencil Tony left in place had been vandalised...just as well Mr Stark has the original safe in his collection....