… and BOOM. Just when we were not expecting to see this BRILLIANT artist intertwined between slaps and throws in LONDONTOWN, we came across our new friend from Down Under: What the Hello! What a refreshing way to start the New Year! See what he has to say about his art and brilliant advice he gives you future artists!
Walking around SoHo London, I came across your sticker (what I like to think of the popsicle man with two legs and an upside down face – see image below) which caught my eye right away. The detail and subject made it stand out from most other “slaps” you come across on the streets – no matter where you are in the world. What made you come up with this idea to put out sticker art as opposed to putting “slaps” with “tags” on them?
Haha! That’s so fantastic that you see my character as a “popsicle man”, I’d never looked at him in that way before and I like it. I always kind of thought of him as a small man looking inside a giant upside down head, perhaps his own head and being pleasantly surprised at what he’d found. All a bit deep and meaningful.. and kind of wanky, but I think I like the “popsicle man” idea better!
Thanks so much for noticing my stickers by the way, it’s always nice to hear that people are noticing and appreciating them. I guess when I started making them I really wanted to create stickers that would stand out and promote my art, so I made them big, colourful and kooky, and hand coloured them all so that each and every one is an individual piece of my art.
I don’t think “slaps” with “tags” are really my thing anymore, I grew up doing graffiti so I get the whole “tagging” thing but I’m just more interested in the art now. I definitely want people to recognise my name “What_the_Hello”, but it’s more important to me that people recognise my artwork.
Well with characters like yours, your work is highly noticeable! Where does your inspiration come from? What subjects are you most inclined to work with? Basically, how would you describe yourself as an artist?
As an artist I think most of my inspiration comes from pop culture both past and present. Of course I’m inspired by other artists, but also things like the cartoons I use to watch as a kid, the comic books I would read under my bedcovers at night, the artwork on lolly wrappers at the local milk bar etc. I always try to create images that give you that feeling of familiarity, not a tangible feeling, but more of a feeling that somehow it relates to you or your life.
We see that your art has infiltrated the apparel industry (see below) and you often refer to your work as illustrations. You have been named “Lurzer’s 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide amongst others” and have been featured in Rolling Stone! That is a major accomplishment! Do you have advice on how to get your art out there?
I studied Illustration at NMIT in Melbourne back in 2003 which is probably why I still refer to my artwork as “Illustration,” but I kind of do bit of everything these days from tee shirt design and graphics all the way through to mural artwork. The best advise I could give to anyone trying to get there work out there is to be as prolific as humanly possible, just be a part of everything and anything you can be a part of. Today especially when there are so many social media outlets at our disposal, it’s really important just to be seen as “doing.”
Clearly, you have traveled to spread your art which we he(ART). While I found your sticker art in London as mentioned before, I know you are based in Melbourne. What is the art scene like down under?! I’ve never been!
Melbourne has a brilliant art scene and there is so much happening here all the time, the only trick is knowing how to find it all. Besides having a thriving street art scene which is there for all to see, Melbourne has loads of little galleries and exhibitions popping up around town all the time so keeping an eye out and an ear to the ground is essential.
Fabulous! Hopefully I will get to go and check out the scene in the near future. However, last but an intricate part of being able to interact with your art, where can we purchase or see your latest works?!
The best way to see some more of my artwork is by checking out my website www.whatthehello.net or by following me on Instagram @what_the_hello. You can get your hands on some of my hand coloured stickers, original art and giclée prints at my Etsy shop via my website.
Well kids, there ya have it! What the Hello here to inspire us all. No matter what passion you wish to pursue, remember to follow your He(ART).
XX, DP (follow us on instagram @CultureHeARTs)