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Interview: EAMO is Aussie all the way!!

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Hi Eamo!! It was such a pleasure to meet you in Melbourne. You had a rocking polaroid and snapped a great pic of us. I love the old school feel of the original instant camera! When I think of Australia, I think of you. Your work seems to exemplify Aussie culture, tell us a little about it. What drives you to illustrate the Aussie life the way you do?

I want to express what Australia means to me and my experiences. I want to share the memories I have of growing up through Australian summer’s, backyard sprinklers, women’s weekly Birthday Cakes, Christmas in 40 degree Celsius heat, needle-less pine christmas trees sitting in a rubbish bin filled with sand, Caravan Park holidays, counter meals in country pubs. We had such an innocence, we where so isolated, cut off from the rest of the world, our art, television, culture, rarely made its way beyond the southern hemisphere. In a way we were like our flora and fauna, thousands and thousands of years of isolation and no natural predators. We have the most amazingly rare animals found in the world–the koala, the kangaroo, echidna, platypus, emu – so our culture was so unique, our characters, lifestyle, and climate.

Colonized by the British merely 200 years ago, the country’s terrain, climate and location was so vastly different from Britain that we sort of evolved as a nation developing our own culture and way of life, a more outdoor lifestyle. But it has been so fleeting that even in the 27 years I have been alive, I have seen alot of the things I grew up to love have disappear so rapidly. Without millions and millions of years of history, we are constantly making our own everyday but something merely 10 years old can be forgotten, I want to reinforce what is great about our culture through my art because we have a tendency to take it for granted. Australian History 101 as mumbled by Eamo.

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If you were to show someone an Aussie day, the true Australia… what would the day look like?

Well I’d get them up at the crack of dawn, the morning heat would still be in the late 20s to early 30s (degree’s celcius) from the night before. They would have spent half the night sitting in the backyard trying to cool off listening to the cicadas and crickets, and the other half laying in bed with a wet towel and a fan. That morning we’d head to Bondi Beach for an early morning cool down, then take ourselves off to a pub somewhere for a morning tea beverage of cool amber fluid.

After a few beers before midday it’s off to the park to cook up some snags and onions on the barbie with homebrand white bread and dead horse (tomato sauce) don’t forget to pack the esky full of VB stubby’s and ice. and make sure someone brings the sunscreen, zinc and aerogaurd (insect repelant) After a good feed we’ll get out the cricket bat and tenno (tennis ball) and work off the lunch by playing some park cricket, a couple of the local kids will join in to make up the numbers, anyone who doesn’t want to play can watch the boxing day test on the portable tv Bazza brought with him from his shed, along with a couple of deck chairs and banana lounges.

After working up a sweat in the midday heat, it’s now pushing 36 degrees Celsius, we’ll catch the ferry over to Manly and spend the arvo sunning it up in the sand and cooling off in the shallows with a few body surfing comps thrown in.

Bazza has brought the deck chairs with him and we line them up in the shallows with the Esky choc a bloc full of beers floating by, we all sit submerged up to our waists downing more tinnies and stubbys till sunset. Shazza suggests we grab fish and chips up at the shops, Bazza orders a hamburger with the lot, no pineapple, Jimmy gets a piece of flake and some dimmy’s (dim sims) Kathy and Simmo get a Chiko Roll each and minimum chips and we grab another slab of Fosters. Finally after a big day and some sunburn we pack up our gear and head home, there’s a fireworks show on down on the harbour so we have a squiz at the harbour bridge and opera house lit up in glorious red’s and green’s, then catch a couple of taxi’s back to the suburbs.

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Wow, I’m in! What is a typical day for you?? I bet it’s nothing like the above… or is it?

It has definitely been done, many times, it all depends on the time of year, whether it’s a holiday or summer, if the time is right for drinking, sunning, beaching, barbequeing. Alas it’s a rare occurence during the colder months of the year, especially in Melbourne. We have a really unpredicatable weather system down here as opposed to the northern states. For example, it’s the end of November here, a week away from the first day of summer, a week previous we had a 35 degree day (95 degrees Fahrenheit), which is bloody hot I can tell you! The hottest day of the year is usually 45C (113 degrees Fahrenheit) and people die in this heat.

A week later we get hail and snow and 13C! (50 degrees Fahrenheit) And Queensland has just experienced it’s worst storm’s in two decades. Enough education on the weather patterns of Australia. Back to my typical day. A work day would be rather boring compared to a holiday like the one mentioned above. Australian’s are known to work to play, we love our social lifestyle, and we play hard, it can be said a little too hard sometimes.

This is quite boring – I check the overnight emails, continue inking up a piece from the day before, head down to the PO Box and post off some artworks or products to as far as the Domenican Republic or as close as Fitzroy, update some new work on the website, cook up a feed for dinner on the barbie, watch Australia’s greatest television export since Skippy – Nieghbours, have a couple of beers, do a bit more work sometimes through the night if it’s for a U.S deadline, we are ahead a day in time difference, then do it all again the next day, or if the inking is finished change that part to scanning and colouring in ps.

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That’s a crazy commission you did for Mountain Dew. You covered the whole jeep in your artwork. Tell us a little about how you approached that project. Do you drive around in that jeep??

I wish I did! It’s currently doing the rounds in Sydney promoting Mountain Dew to the people. I started with a technical spec of the jeep, front view and two side views. I had to work at 1:1 aspect so the files where massive. Because this Jeep was to promote the launch of Mountain Dew to Australia, and summer, spring was the launch, I knew the Australiana imagery would really suit this project. So I gathered all the icon’s and character’s and made a massive collage of all my imagery, then the artwork was vinyl wrapped to the Jeep. There where 4 artists doing a Jeep each, one for each state. Mine turned out to be the Sydney Jeep because the imagery really suits the lifestyle up there. Fingers crossed the Jeep keeps it’s skin for life and there will be an Eamo Jeep out there for decades to come.

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Can you tell us about the imagery on the Poketo wallet. There are swimmers and smokes among this psychedelic mix of colors… there is so much detail and inside knowledge that I just don’t know about. Break it down if you can.

Eamo Encyclopedia or Eamopedia –
1. There’s the Bondi and Coolangatta lifegaurds, Coolangatta hosts a 46.65 kilometer ironman event known as the Coolangatta Gold which was also made into an epic 1980s australian feature film about a father and his two sons beating all the odds to win the Coolangatta gold!
2. The outback drover smoking a Winfield cigarette, the backbone of this nation are our shearers and drovers, they are the quintessential Australians. In Australia we have what is known as the ‘Big Things’ which are large sculptures dotted all over the nation’s smaller towns and off major highways to attract tourists to stop off in their municipal.
3. The big prawn from Ballina New South Wales is a massive Prawn laying sunburnt above a seafood restaurant / souvenir shop selling ‘craft’ ‘opals’ & ‘gems’. It has a viewing area through it’s of it’s glass eye’s.
4. The big banana from Coffs Harbor in Queensland has amongst other things a half kilometre downhill TOBOGGAN RIDE, an ice skating rink, the magical world of bananas is revealed in a 45 minute presentation of fun banana facts, top that off with a waterside and sky walk.
5. Another notable big thing featured, more hidden in the wallet is Larry the lobster from Kingston in South Australia, he houses a souvenir shop selling Larry the lobster fridge magnets and various other larry the lobster merchandise.
6. A tyre swan which are 1950s suburban garden sculptures of swan’s cut out of car tyre’s. Australia is known to have the deadliest species known to man, the blue-ringed octypus is regarded as one of the world’s most venomous animals on earth, the redback spider is considered one of the most dangerous spiders in Australia and can be found underneath many a dunny seat and we have the top 10 most venomous snake’s found in the world.

Don’t let this put you off coming here, we also have the weirdest marsupials on the planet, the platypus with a ducks bill, webbed feet and claws with venom, yes venom, a beaver-like tail, fur, that lays eggs. And we all know and love the kangaroo which is a 7 foot tall rat that hops and contrary to popular international belief, doesn’t hope the streets of Sydney and our other capital cities.

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What’s up next, anything you want to share?

I’m planning two solo shows next year in Melbourne. After this speal, I reckon Tourism Australia owes me a job!

Check out Eamo’s “Aussie” Poketo wallet here!
Visit EAMO at eamo.com.au

Tagged with: Interviews

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