In the close to 20 years I’ve known you, I’d have to say you are without a doubt the most enthusiastic skateboarder I’ve ever met…
Well, more to the point, you’re in your 40s you still skate like a teenager, with a smile to match… At the risk of outdoing your over-complimentary journalism I know I’m far from alone in sharing this opinion. Which brings me to my first question; is your relatively new love of collage something you have found an equal enthusiasm for? Would it be a stretch to say you’ve found a new obsession?
Anything you love doing is an obsession, isn’t it? So yeah, next to skateboarding you could say it is an obsession. With something like skateboarding you can totally get in to a zone and I’ve discovered it’s also possible to get in to a zone outside of it. For me it’s nice to have something that is almost as engaging and fun as skateboarding, but at the same time it’s a lot more peaceful.
In what way?
Well, once I’ve decided what I want to cut, as soon as I’m cutting I can think about anything I want, get in the zone, and if I make a mistake or put the wrong thought chain together, I’m not gonna end up in a heap in the gutter. At worst I’ll cut myself and I haven’t even managed to do that yet.
So it’s a more forgiving mistress?
Yeah, maybe I’ll cut a line slightly wrong, but there’s not that physical threat that comes with skateboarding. I’ve always wanted to do art in some sort of way, or play music. I think making music would be an incredible process; I love the whole structure of that. But with the collage, I guess it’s as simple as the fact it’s just something that my brain really likes to do now.
Is all your work exclusively from National Geographic magazines?
Strictly pre-December 1989 issues of National Geographic.
What is it about that era that you find appealing?
For the most part, they’re really funny. The older ones are full of so many incredible images but there’s so much really un-PC stuff, racial slurs and just general inappropriateness.
You seem to have fun with that wrongness?
I like putting all those images together to talk about now. Sometimes I’ll talk about the future and sometimes I’ll talk about the past. But for the most part I talk about now by rearranging images and putting them into a modern context.
“…Maybe I’ll cut a line slightly wrong, but there’s not that physical threat that comes with skateboarding.”
I just love the fact you are surrounded by so many almost finished works, and so many random homeless little cutouts ranging from oiled up Swahili wrestlers to Jewish architects pondering a scale model of a high rise apartment…
[Laughs] I’ll have an image of space or something on the wall and then I’ll remember that in one of the folders I have a Greek Nona that would fit the scene perfectly. It doesn’t happen that much, but when your brain clicks and you realise you have the perfect unison it’s awesome.
When do you know you’ve nailed it?
I can always tell when I have one of those special unisons because I’ll literally start laughing aloud to myself. And if you’re laughing by yourself, you know you’re doing something right. That’s the ultimate good time.
When did you first put together what I believe they call in art circles ‘a show’?
The first one was the winter of 2015, at Lo-Fi store in Perth. I’m really good friends with Garth and Matt who own it, and I felt that some of the collages would appeal to them particularly to Garth because of some of the tribal and African influences in some of the work., I knew he’d vibe off some of the collages I was doing – because of some of the tribal and African influences. I shot a few through to him, and then I threw out some ideas like a T-shirt collab. From there it just opened up and he said, ‘Why don’t you put on a show here? I think it could work’. We did that, then a month after that I had another show at Spare store in Melbourne. I guess the reason so much is happening now, is… well, for starters I’m at the mercy of the decisions I made at the start of the year to do more shows. In 2016 I didn’t do too much. I did some board graphics for 4 Skate Co. and Magenta but I was kind of waiting on this big show and it just never came to fruition. I woke up on January first or second and just decided that this was the year to try and do more things, and ultimately do something over seas. As I talked about it people showed genuine interest and encouraged me to pursue it.
Was that encouragement the transition from hobbiest to ‘artist’?
For sure. At that stage it was still a hobby and I still thought the show could fail. The moment I realised something had happened was when I sold 70% of the work from the show. That was the moment I was like ‘Wow, people actually like them’. Before that it was a really testing time. I didn’t know how to mount them and I had to learn everything from scratch, which has now become second nature. The only reason I ever had the confidence to show my work in the first place was because my friends were so encouraging about it… and on top of that I’m having a great time doing it.
DÉJÀ GLU, MELBOURNE – OPENS TONIGHT!