• Spotlight: Mulga the Artist

by Jack Baxter

Shining a spotlight on the great and the good in Aussie culture. This week we have a chat with renowned Sydney street artist, illustrator, poet, and all round great chap; Mulga the Artist.

Mulga, thanks for agreeing to chat with us, we’re long time fans of your work. Would you like to introduce yourself? 

It’s my pleasure entirely. My name is Mulga, actually it’s Joel Moore but when I draw pictures I say Mulga did them. I’m pretty sneaky like that. There’s this actor in Hollywood with the same name as me, even the middle name. Joel David Moore, you may have seen him in Avatar and Dodgeball. He’s my double but we don’t look the same. We only share the same name, even the middle name.

Ok, that’s weird. So where are you from? 

I am from the Sutherland Shire were the Hobbits come from and we don't like shoes or trolls.

"I paint pictures where tropical bearded men run rampant, lions smoke tobacco pipes, tigers wear diamond sunglasses, and gorillas rule the world"

How long have you been doing what you've been doing? 

I had my first show in February 2012 and spent about a year before that figuring it all out. I’ve always been into doodling with pens since I was little, but only in the last few years did I start taking it more seriously.

What is it that you do? 

I paint pictures where tropical bearded men run rampant, lions smoke tobacco pipes, tigers wear diamond sunglasses and gorillas rule the world like some kind of funky planet of the apes. I hand draw each picture using Posca paint markers and recently have been loving painting with flouro paint.

I enjoy writing a weird poem for every one of my creations because who doesn’t like a weird poem?! Plus, it’s a neato way to make people smile. I do a bit of live art and murals and also designs for t-shirts and brands as well. I also produce and sell sweet merch with my art on.

Jungle Friends by Mulga the Artist

Jungle Friends by Mulga the Artist

What medium do you work in? 

Most of the time I work with Posca paint markers on paper or wood and for bigger areas I use acrylic paint. I like my paintings to be bright and colourful.

How did you get started?

I was working in a finance job that wasn't taking me where I wanted to go in life. I had always fantasized about having a job that I loved so I gave it a go by making art, putting it on t-shirts and selling it at markets.

Where are you now? 

I'm in Miranda and right now I am sitting at my desk in the playroom with my chubby 1 year-old son, Louis, sitting on my lap and he’s eating a biscuit.

What are you currently working on? 

Right now I'm working on a kids book which I am really excited about, hopefully it should be ready in a year. I am also working on an adults colouring book that should be in shops for Christmas. I've got a few other random paint projects coming up.

"There is some magical power that gets unlocked when a beard chooses to adorn the face of a mere man"

Where can we see your work?

Most things are on my website. You can buy some art or clothing or homeware from it as well, http://mulgatheartist.com.au/

All my latest stuff goes up on Instagram (https://instagram.com/mulgatheartist/) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Mulgatheartist). It’s a good place to check out what’s new.

To see my work in the flesh I've got some art on the walls at Beach Burrito Co. in Newtown and Wollongong and also at Hazelhurst Art Gallery in Gymea. There’s Rainbow Ronnie the Gorilla on the front of Cafe Lounge on the corner of Goulbourn and Crown Street.

What are your plans down the line? 

I plan on doing more large scale murals around the place. I would also love to do a TV show. Expanding my product line is also on the cards.

Who / what inspires your work? 

Radical characters. Especially hairy ones.

Whose work do you respect?

Artists that do huge scale murals I really respect.

"I don’t get overly serious with the poetry, I just keep it fun and weird and try to make it rhyme"

What is the best thing about your work?

I get to do what I love and I can be my own boss.

Who is your favourite character that you have conceived to date? 

There are so many that I love but the two that come to mind are Robert and Geoff (the Psychedelic Gorillas).

Robert and Geoff go bananas by Mulga the Artist

Robert and Geoff Go Bananas by Mulga the Artist

Is it fair to say that beards play a role in your work? 

It’s very fair to say that. Beards are a magical thing and throughout the history of Earth they have achieved extraordinary exploits that a non-beard could never have achieved. There is some magical power that gets unlocked when a beard chooses to adorn the face of a mere man. 

It is like the mystery of synergy that cannot be explained. Beards are also a mysterious thing as they are like a mask and a blanket for the face at the same time. Sometimes you wonder, what is under that beard, man or creature? Beards are great to draw because they are a great place to make interesting patterns and because I don’t like drawing chins that much, chins are ordinary.

Are you a poet trapped in an artist’s body? 

I feel like I am more a dude who makes images but also likes to add to the images with the poetry. I don’t get overly serious with the poetry, I just keep it fun and weird and try to make it rhyme.

What is your favourite sandwich? 

I like those big ones that you get from secret sandwich shops in the city and they are wrapped in metallic paper and when they have ham on them they are delicious. I love ham.

How would you like to be remembered? 

As a nice dude who did what he loved and brought joy to other people and made the world a brighter place.

Cheers Mulga, good luck for the future, keep the beards flowing strong!

An interview with Mulga the Artist by Worthy & Spruce

A big thank you to Mulga for having a chat with us and sharing a bit of his story with you guys. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Don't forget to check out Mulga's site at www.mulgatheartist.com.au for more info and some sweet, sweet merch.

If you're right into it, feel free to sound off in the comments below and check back soon for the next edition of Spotlight. Or, better yet, sign up to our mailing list below to get more cracking articles like this in your inbox!

Till next time, this is Mr. Jack Baxter signing off.

Mr. Jack.

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