Numskull’s incredibly bold and bewildering Aussie street art: We asked him all about it

Elliott Routledge (aka Numskull) is brightening up the streets of Sydney with his bold imagery and will be opening his solo show High Contrast, with M.M.P.G. this coming May.

The show is this Aussie artist’s ‘reaction to human conditioning in regards to materialism & consumerism’ and will feature all the wild and wonderful pieces you expect from this renowned artist.

As well as his solo show, Numskull has also installed a permanent mural on the outside of the Wetherill Park Library and Community Centre, which he titled Just Another Extraordinary Day.

Now, if that wasn’t enough, Numskull also took part in this year’s Spectrum Now festival and created a spectacular mural on a house in Newtown (we’re so jealous!). See it for yourself on the corner of Hordern and Raper Streets, or swing by Numskull’s website to take a look.

We took a few minutes from this busy artist’s schedule to ask him about his projects and what’s in store for 2015.

How has your early street art helped you evolve into the artist you are today?

It’s been a long work in progress, but I think everything in life is a work in progress really. My street art background informed the way I work, not necessarily what I paint. Through street art I learnt how to paint outside on walls both big and small, and also experiment with lots of different techniques without someone telling me how it should be done.

Can you briefly walk us through the concept for ‘High Contrast’?

My upcoming exhibition ‘High Contrast’ is all about contrast in general. Wether it’s purely visual, or more conceptual. For example, a lot of my object/shape paintings embody some of the contrasting characteristics of what makes up modern life. Happy/Sad, Rich/Poor and so on.

I spent a bit of my teenage life emerged in the rave culture, so for this show I’ve drawn inspiration from some icons, and used some classic lyrics and themes as a visual tool to highlight some of those concepts.

What do you hope people will take away from your ‘Just Another Extraordinary Day’ mural on the Wetherill Park Library and Community Centre?

For this mural we wanted to create a positive message, but also without being too forceful. To me the phrase casually inspires people, rather than shoving it in their face.

I always remember libraries and community centres being pretty dull and boring, so I tried to make the artwork as loud as possible.

Can you explain the inspiration behind the mural you created for the Spectrum Now festival?

Up until that point, I was focussing on just two colours as my palette. Blue and Red. Something I’d been working on for the whole of 2014. This mural was my first chance in a long time to stretch out and add some other contrasting colours to the palette. The overall design was aimed to be as abstract as possible. I wanted the people who lived in the street to make up their own idea about the mural.

How long did this mural take you to finish?

It took two full days to paint. Previously I’ve been using spray paint and it would have taken half the time, but I now mainly use acrylic with brush and roller poles so it took a little longer. The rain didn’t help either…

Is there a particular building or place you’d love to create a mural for?

The Opera House!

Do you have a favourite work of art that you’re working on you’d like to share with our readers?

My favourite piece I’ve done so far, would have to be my mural for Art & About Festival last year in Sydney. It was such a rare opportunity to paint a massive mural in the centre of my home town. It’s on the corner of Pitt and Park Street, Sydney and I’m pretty sure is one of the biggest murals in the city.

Numskull’s solo exhibition will be opening May 8th. Check out his website for more info and follow him on Facebook. Also be sure to check out Mild Manners on Facebook to keep up to date with fantastic contemporary art exhibitions around Australia.

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Numskull art
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Numskull art
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Numskull art
Here Now by Numskull

About the author

Rachel Oakley is an Aussie writer based in NYC with an obsession for the creepy, cool and quirky side of life. She’ll remind you she’s a vegan every chance she gets. Her IG is filled with doggo pics: @patty_pottymouth