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Sydney Artist Mulga

Apr 6, 2016  ·  5 min read

By Niall Roeder.

In 2014, Mulga (aka Joel Moore), threw in his finance job to chase the dream of being a full time artist. A move that proved to be a very wise one. Looking at his very intricate and always technicolour work, you’d never guess he was once a number-crunching desk jockey. His art is very surreal and looks great hanging on a canvas or printed on a tee… but what really dilates the ol’ pupils is seeing one of his sunglassed hyper-colour ape-captains (or other fantastical inventions) as a mural.

I caught up with him to see what goes on in his cranium…

I read that the word “Mulga” is Aussie slang for “the outback” and is also a small acacia shrub. How’d you come about to be Mulga? Are you in fact, a shrub?

Hehe I might be a shrub. I especially like that word, shrub.

When I was 11 years old I stood in front of my class in school and recited a poem by the Australian poet Banjo Patterson, that poem was called Mulga Bill’s Bicycle. One of my classmates called me Mulga after that and the name stuck. My school chums still call me Mulga.

Your art is intricate, technicolour and dreamlike. It’s like a child’s imagination on acid; it’s very vibrant and surreal, but in no way threatening. How would you describe your style?

I think you just did a pretty good job of describing what I do. I don’t really think I could add much, maybe it’s fun fresh and makes you feel good. People often ask me what style of art I make but I don’t really know, I just say look at it, it is what it is.

Mural, canvas, surfboards, t-shirts, light boxes… you paint on heaps of different surfaces. What’s the favourite and why?

I paint a lot of my designs on paper but I really like painting larger murals on the street where more people can experience it. Big stuff is really cool, it’s a lot trickier and time consuming to do, but is worth it.

You’re predominantly using paint and poscas right? What other creative mediums do you want to explore in the future?

I like the idea of 3D art like sculptures, big 3D Mulga characters would be super fun.

Which artists (past or present) helped craft the Mulga style?

I’ve been into Henri Rousseau lately, I love his jungle scenes and style of painting.

Which Sydney artists are you digging at the moment?

Gemma O’Brien. She does some amazing black and white typography work and on a big scale too. So good.

What artworks have you done around Bondi/Sydney?

At the moment there is Griswald the Goodvibes Gorilla down on Bondi Beach art wall. There is also Rainbow Ronnie on Café Lounge on Goulbourn Street in Darlinghurst and a big jungle mural in Pearl Lane in Newtown.

What’s 2016 got install for Mulga?

I am releasing a children’s picture book in September which should be super rad. I will be painting a bunch more murals, cool brand collaborations and whatever other fun projects come up.

Any exhibitions coming up?

I’ll be painting the outside of La Piadina in Bondi for the month of May. You can also catch me at Finders Keepers markets at Australian Technology Park in Redfern April 29 from 6pm – 10pm, April 30 from 10am – 6pm and May 1 from 10am – 5pm. I’ll be selling sweet clothes and other super nice products.

You’ve been locked in a pub with blank walls ready to be painted and beer taps ready to be drained. Would you rather be in there with Banksy, Dali or that guy that wrote “Eternity” all over Sydney?           

Probably Dali because I hear he was a pretty out there dude, plus his paintings are ridiculous. I absolutely love what he did.

Which Australian celebrity would you most like to paint nude?

If I am truthful with you I will say I don’t want to paint anyone naked.

Can you give us a rhyming Mulga bio-summary? 

I was a dude doing a job that I didn’t love,

So I drew some pictures none of which was a dove,

Before I knew it making pictures become my job,

And some of my pictures I did call Bob,

The End.

Hero image: Carli Jeen

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