MYSTERIOUS AL & UNWELL BUNNY ‘DO’ SPOOK
Words: Bella Arnott-Hoare
I’d already erected a mental pedestal for international street artists, so a number of things alarmed me about actually meeting one. Firstly, they have as much trouble finding rental properties in Melbourne as your average scampish, goon-swilling student. They sometimes prefer the safety of their studios to the street. And they get down and out from time to time. If fame amounts to this little, I think it’s time to abandon hopes of being the next Australia’s Got Talent winner.
Mysterious Al taught me how terribly normal street artists can be when he dropped into the SPOOK offices on Friday for a chat and a wall-paint, despite his international renown and elusive moniker. His pop-art cartooning, which draws from 1950s ‘hammer horror’ movies, is his most recognisable work. Amongst the figures depicted are Marilyn Monroe, and dearly departed Amy – which he called “a tragic fucking loss.”
“I feel really weird about that whole thing to be honest. I did (Amy Winehouse) way before she died, for my show in March. It was cult monsters – I did Frankenstein, a zombie, a mummy and then Amy Winehouse and Kate Moss. Those were my classic ones,“ he said.
“And then that image became quite associated with her, with the memory of her. It was used in quite a lot of press. I’m really glad that the piece was well received but I wish it had happened in different circumstances.”
His inspiration is bleak and at times gothic, but Al knows how to have fun with his creations. “Everything I paint is slightly morose, the characters have always got a gloomy or pained expression. And I guess it’s quite emo in a way but my tongue is firmly in my cheek while I’m painting it.”
Ed Bechervaise also dropped in to help out with the mural. Having carved himself a pretty solid niche in the Melbourne street scene, he’s better known as Unwell Bunny – a name he gave himself during a particularly tough time.
“I’d just broken up with a girl and it was all a bit pear shaped, life seemed a bit pear shaped. And I thought – I’m either going to feel pretty depressed about this or celebrate that it’s all a bit pear shaped. So basically the idea of Unwell Bunny is a celebration of everything that’s a bit twisted in everyday life,” he said.
He started out as a graffiti artist in Adelaide and found street art coming to Melbourne, developing a style with a combination of chaotic cartoons and pop-cultural references. “It’s basically a kind of satiric mash. It’s not really about making a point, it’s more about being suggestive through humour. And making people laugh.”
And better yet – you can catch them both in action at our Friday rager. You heard it from Al Himself: “Me and Ed are going to paint two massive walls at this party with loads of cool people wandering around with lots of drinks.” Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, huh? More details about that one HERE.