Feb 3, 2008Interview: Meggs
Continuing from where I left off last week is an interview with another member of the infamous Everfresh Studio, this time it’s Meggs. Keeping with tradition of the crew, you can tell based on his work that he is as dedicated to street art as any other, if not more. Australia is filled with talented artists, from Anthony Lister to Yok, and the competition for recognition and appreciation is thick and fast. At the rate Meggs and the Everfresh guys are going, I don’t think they’d have much of a problem though.
Country of Origin: Australia
Genre: graffiti/pop art?
Forms of Art: Graffiti/aerosol and abstract pop-art paintings
Mediums used: Aerosol, markers, acrylics, stencils, screen printing
THE SERIOUS BIT:
FM: Hi Meggs, thank you for doing this interview. How’s it going? What are you working on right now?
M: Right now I’m finalising things after my first solo show at Utopian Slumps Gallery (Melbourne) and starting on some new pieces for an Everfresh group show in Perth. Plans for screenprints and paintings as well as more night stalking shenanigans.
FM: Tell us a bit about yourself: what do you do for a living?
M: I’m formally trained as a graphic designer and at the moment am living off freelance design, artwork sales and spraypainting commissions. I plan and hope to make artwork a more dominant role in my life from now on.
FM: You’ve done tons of exhibitions… are most of them invites or self invited?
M: Most of them are invites. I found that if your committed people will recognise your work and opportunities will follow. As long as you treat people with respect and continue to push yourself, your network and opportunities will grow. There has only been a couple of occasions where I’ve said to someone that the next time they organise a show I’d like to be in it because it was such a good event.
FM: Street art is evolving and moving itself from the street and into the galleries and canvases. Do you think that is right? Street art is after all, well, street art. Where do we draw the line?
M: I don’t really want to draw a line. Street art/graffiti based artists have worked with galleries for quite a while now and I don’t have any problem with myself or anyone else doing both. I don’t consider the gallery work ‘street art’ in itself, because by definition it’s not on the streets. The situation is just that an artist with experience/skills in street work is producing gallery/commissioned work as well and each case is different I suppose. Some artists may have a huge street reputation behind them, whilst others (like myself) may not. This is why my gallery work is quite different and I try to push my skills and ideas further because I don’t feel my street style alone is strong enough. I only have a problem with those who rush without developing their own style and hope to ride a popular trend with minimal effort.
FM: You play with a lot of mediums, from t-shirts, to toys, to canvas to well, walls! What’s your favourite and why?
M: I would say a screenprint or canvas is my favourite right now because it’s where I can spend time and total control to push myself, explore ideas and produce a refined result.
Walls are definitely a close second though because it’s more social and less conceptual; just do what you wanna try at the time. Finishing a cool production wall with a group is a buzz, legal or otherwise.
FM: A lot of your characters are dark and morbid designs: most of ‘em wear horns on their heads. Do you have a motive behind this or is it all random?
M: My characters are usually dark/morbid/menacing because I’m interested in the Jekyll vs. Hyde sides of human nature and I find the villains more intriguing.
In comics and cartoons they always seem to have some interesting story hiding behind a menacing exterior, with more elaborate expressions and costumes. Evil dudes look cooler and reflect my inner demons I suppose, ha.
FM: Place this in order from 1-5, where 1 is the highest:
Tagging, Graffiti, Stencilling, Screen printing, Freehand, Painting.
- Painting and drawing (because it all starts from there).
- Freehand graffiti
- Screen printing
FM: What inspires your work? How do you go about your day at work?
M: For me ideas come from my personal feelings towards my behaviour and particular social issues that bother me. Inspiration comes from all over, many other artists, cartoons, films and comics. At the moment my paintings are focusing on cartoon villainy and egotism so I’ve been researching a lot of cartoons and old comics. Particularly anime films and phantom comics.
The other members at Everfresh keep me constantly inspired.
My day consists of a slow morning and then going to the Everfresh studio to do design or artwork throughout the day and evening. I’m definitely more productive at night then in the morning.
FM: Is your talent god sent or did you have to work your ass off for it? How did you start out?
M: I’ve always been into drawing since I was a kid and I guess had a naturally affinity for it. But of course I have had to work hard for everything, no such thing as a free lunch!
FM: We all have to start somewhere. What’s your advice for someone who wants to succeed as a street artist?
M: Just start experimenting with your field of choice and if you’re dedicated, you’ll progress. Keep pushing yourself to get better, it’s good to be self-critical but don’t doubt yourself. It helps to have a mentor and guidance. Know your history, don’t ego trip and stay humble – let your work do the talking.
FM: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects and exhibitions?
M: The next exhibition is an Everfresh group show, 8th march, at Wasteland in Perth. Some other group show prospects mid year and of course the No Comply Festival. Then hopefully another solo exhibition at the end of the year.
THE POTSHOTS SECTION:
FM: Ever done a tour of Asia before?
M: Not an artist tour/event, but I’ve visited Japan, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.
FM: What do you do on your spare time?
M: Sniff beer, drink paint and struggle with my inner demons.
FM: What footie team do you support?
M: Brisbane Lions as I’m a Fitzroy Lions ex-patriot. (That’s Aussie rulez mate
FM: [If you are really bored or have spare time. ] Please draw a self portrait.
FM: Which is the single weirdest place that I can find your street art?
M: I’ve got some tags in catacomb tunnels beneath Paris, which was a crazy adventure (thanks Fremantle). More substantial art would have to be a freeway pillar in Yokohama, Japan I guess.
FM: Any Last Words?
M: Word to the Everfresh lads: Rone, Phibs, Reka, Sync, Prism, Wonderlust and all extended family and crew mates.
Thanks to my family, friends and Cass for putting up with me.