发布时间:2020-02-17 03:19:30
Reg Mombassa on 40 years of music and art ahead of Canberra exhibition Psychedelic RealismGrowing up in South Auckland, Reg Mombassa didnt know what a painter was. But even without paintings or art books in the house, he knew he wanted to be an artist"I loved illustrations and I loved comics and I thought t

hats what being an artist was," Mombassa

says. "By the time I got to high school and did art at high school, I obviously became aware of all the great painters of the western tradition and started having an interest in being an actual painter. "I started copying impressionist and post-impressionist landscapes out of art books when I was 15 to teach myself how to paint but also I loved those pictures and had that interest in the landscapes." It was about that time Mombassa, real name Chris ODoherty, also picked up the guitar for the first time"It as soon as I wanted to play music, I wanted to do both things," he says"Maybe I would have been better off choosing one and concentrating on that, but I didnt manage to do that." Thankfully, for fans of both Mombassas artistic work and with bands Mental as Anything, Dog Trumpet and The

Pinks, he didnt just stick to one art form. Of course, the two mediums - while completely different outlets - have a little bit of crossover when it comes to content. Mombassa likes to thi

nk its because they come from the same part of the brain. "I dont see too much of a difference." But hes also been doing both, simultaneously, since he was a teenager, and when both careers started to take off, they did so at the same timeAt 23, Mombassa had his first art

show at Watters Gallery in Sydney. Shortly after, Mental as Anyt

hing started making a name for themselves(Incidentally, just days after this interview, Mental as Anythings frontman Andrew "Greedy" Smith died from a heart attack). "The first few years of the Mentals it was pretty much constant recording and touring, so my art career went on the backburner a bit until I had a one-man show in 1986 and also started working for Mambo that same year, so then the art kind of took over more, I guess," he says"But even that first period of the Mentals I was still drawing and painting and doing stuff on the road, I just wasnt exhibiting as much." Its at this point in his career that his latest exhibition, Psychedelic Realism, kicks offShowing at aMBUSH Gallery at the Australian National University, Mombassa says the exhibition is a "mini-s

urvey" of his lifes artistic work, starting from his time as an art student, right up to some of his most recent workWith more than 70 works, Psychedelic Realism includes pieces from Mombassas private collection, as well as posters and original artwork from his time designing for surf brand Mambo. Its also his largest exhibition to have come to Canberra. "I dont usually have art shows where it is one idea repeated many times, Ive always t

ended to have shows that are a mixture of suburban and rural landscapes because Ive always enjoyed painting landscapes since I was a teenager," Mombassa says"I kept it up, particularly when travelling with bands - I would often draw while I was travelling and I still do that. But you have to draw pretty swiftly - you have to see something that interests you and draw it swiftly - and Ill often

colour them back in my studio or else Ill take reference photos on the road. "So all that touring with bands was a good way of getting material for a landscape artist, but also, I have always done the more sort of absurd, graphic stuff like the stuff I did for Mambo, but I also do it for my own interests as well. Most of my shows have been a mixture of the two kinds of approaches." Just as Mombassas shows are split between his two approaches to art, his time is split between his two crafts. His days are for his art "because the light is better" and evenings are for his musicAs Mombassa prepared for this last exhibition, he was releasing Gravity, the latest trac

k from Dog Trumpet, the rock band he formed with brother Peter ODoherty. The band is set to release its first album in seven years in May 2020It should come as no surprise that Mombassa is continuing with art and music more than four decades on. The 68-year-old says he will maintain his two careers as long as he physically can"Youre constantly [inspired], you just have to look at the news or read the newspaper to become either angry or slightly anxious about whats going on in the world," he says. "One of my new themes that I have explored a bit in the most recent show in Sydney which was in

June, was robots because Im fascinated about robots and algorithms"When we get the thing called the technological singularity - which is when we have full artificial intelligence, which we havent achieved yet. No one knows what will happen because the robots will be so intelligent that they might decide to get rid of

us"Its an interesting possibility but apart from that, robots and algorithms will take the jobs off a large portion of the population in the next 20 years so thats going to be a readjustment for the human range. If we survive the climate problem." Mombassa

says its not his job to point out these topics - "people are already aware of the fact that things are going wrong with climate and that governments arent often doing anything to deal with it"His work is - and has always been - a reflection of what he sees around him"If its a landscape, youre just looking at the natural world and trying to portray some of the beauty and the energy and the weirdness in the picture," he says

"Thats a more direct thing, whether its a plein air kind of thing, even if youre in a car speeding through the bushes, youre responding immediately to the natural world"As for the other stuff, its a mi

xture of popular culture and references to history and politics and a little bit of scatological adolescent humour in there as well."