Mulga, The Artist

Ayla Darling talks to this wicked artist from Miranda…

Snake Turban Steve

How do I explain Mulga, the man behind these crazy-bright-poppy characters. Do I go with the calm-chilled-family-man who enjoys surfing and just kind of stumbled across being an artist? Or do I tell the story of all the weird things that make him who he is – the personal stuff you wouldn’t ever expect about the guy?

I’m thinking I’ll go with both. If you love Mulga the artist and spend ages staring at his work on the net and you’re thinking Christ this guy’s sick then I’m here to tell you a little bit about the man behind the art.

So… let’s start out with the weird stuff. When was the last time you made someone cry?

JM: Haha ummmm…. It would have been a few weeks ago…but it was my wife, so maybe let’s not talk about that one…

AD: Oh god what did you do?!

JM: Naa naa naa I’ve got a good one before that. I have this band called Mulga’s room.

AD: What do you do are you the singer or guitarist?

JM: I can’t sing but I do a bit of yelling and play guitar with a few mates and we kind of sing and stuff its pretty random. Our friend had a party near the beach and they live (below) his old lady. We told her we wouldn’t be loud or anything – all acoustic ­– but our songs (have a lot of) yelling. She was heaps scared so she came down crying…

AD: Oh no! You made an old lady cry! Did you apologise?

JM: Um well I think they did…I just kind of snuck out of there…

Mulga, aka Joel Moore, is the ultimate juggler; dad to three beautiful young kids, a husband to an awesome wife and a rad artist. Living the humble family life in Miranda whilst kicking ass in his career.


AD: Alright so what would you say you’re petrified of?

JM: I hate bubble wrap. I don’t know if I was younger and I was popping bubble wrap and started feeling sick or something! But yeah, bubble wrap isn’t my thing.

AD: What the hell? What is it about bubble wrap?

JM: I don’t know! I don’t mind bubble wrap so much, I just hate popping it, it’s a bit weird and… I don’t know I’m just not really that keen on it – when it makes the popping sound…

The first time the man put pen on paper was 6 years ago. He would doodle at work on post-it notes instead of actually working; but then again who prefers financial planning over that? He started off with felt tips and highlighters, sketching little characters and weird green zombie men. Eventually he started popping them up on a blog he’d started to get away from work.

AD:  Do you have any weird stories or memories – like the first time you snuck out of home or you were caught drinking?

 JM: I don’t drink, I’ve never had a drink in my life, never even tasted it.

AD: What?! Why?!

JM: I think if I drink alcohol I’m going to lose my magical drawing powers. I like being different I guess, and I like the challenge. I’ve never done anything bad before, I’ve never smoked cigarettes or anything. I’m Christian so…yeah.

AD: What kind of church is it?

JM: Similar to Hillsong… So a really singing type church, I really like that modern take with rock and roll and religion- keep it relevant.

AD: So are you going to paint Jesus then?

JM: Yeah I am actually, I’ve just been commissioned to do a character style Jesus: Big beard, cool long hair, lots of colour. A Mulga interpretation of Jesus.

Joel’s a relaxed guy, managing time between family and art, drawing all of these amazing poppy characters on a desk in his living room, using only Posca pens. He hates using computers.

AD: So with the beard thing, what is it about hair?

JM: Since I’ve grown a beard I’ve really enjoyed it, when you see another dudes beard you always chat about it and stuff.

AD: Dude do you do that thing when you walk down the street and you see another guy with a beard and you do a bit of a nod?

JM: Yeah! I remember when I was walking in Bondi last I saw this guy with a beard and I like jumped out and yelled out “sick beard dude!” I guess we’re all a part of a club aren’t we? The Beard Club.

Joel started out researching other artists on the net – Beastman being one of his favourites – and began developing a style filled with clean lines and poppy, coloured characters. Now, after only a few years of giving art a real shot, he’s got four days left on his financial planning job, has exhibited at The Tate, Space 44 and M2, has collaborated with Mambo and a kids label in the states called Quinn and Fox and recently opened up his own T-shirt and children’s label; the guy is killing it.

AD: So tell me how you got the name Mulga?

JM: I was 11 and I stood up and recited my favourite poem by Banjo Patterson “Mulga Bills Bicycle”… I guess because my dad loves banjo Patterson, and the poem is about a dude called Mulga who trades in his horse, buys a bike and then crashes his bike into a creek and goes back to riding his horse after that... But yeah ever since then kids in school started calling me Mulga and it just kind of stuck.

AD: What’s the best advice you can give to other artists out ?

JM: I think the most important thing is you need to find your style. I guess you’ve got to look at what other people are doing but then let your work come naturally – trust yourself.

It can be hard to find your style, but try to make it easy… You can just be the dude that just draws portraits of people with a red pen. There are people that do that you know.

Just make sure it keeps you happy while your doing it. I just like to draw what I like to draw, if you’re trying to do something that you don’t like it’s never going to be good.

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more at http://mulgatheartist.com.au/