MEET: Sydney based artist ‘Mulga’

If you have seen our mini ramp at Coogee recently, you’ll notice that it has some outrageously good art on it. We’d like to blame that art on Joel ‘Mulga’ Moore, and we’d also like to introduce you!

We sat down with the legendary artist at our ‘Seated Beats’ party in Coogee. After an epic night of live tunes, DJs and a new look mini skate ramp – we took the time to get some insights into the world of one of Australia’s most sought out artists.

Whether you’re an inspiring artist, a fan of Mulga’s work, or just being exposed to his work now – you’ll be sure to take something away from our chat. Enjoy!

Hey Joel! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We are soooo stoked with our new look mini ramp in Coogee, we thought people might want to learn a bit more about you and your rad art. That cool? 

For shizzle. 

When and how did you first start getting into art?

I’ve always loved drawing and doodling and stuff but it was about 11 years ago when my daughter was born and I was feeling pretty restless in my finance job that I started thinking about art more seriously.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your work?

I love surfing and summer and the ocean so a lot of my art references that. I also dig nature and animals and also food so those themes also come through a lot. I seem to use a lot of bright colours and turning things and animals into groovy characters, not sure why I just like to do it.

Mulga’s piece on the iconic Bondi Beach Sea Wall

“At the start I would have never believed it was possible to make a living from doing art”

I’m sure you get asked alllll the time, but how did the name ‘Mulga’ come about?

Indeed I do, when I was in year 5 I recited Banjo Patterson‘s poem Mulga Bill’s Bicycle in front of my class and one of my classmates called me Mulga after that and everyone copied him and the name just stuck. When I was thinking of what name to use in the art world I thought it was more interesting and a bit more unique than my real name. It’s funny because I now write poems and stories around my artworks and my art name came from a poem, it’s kind of like a full circle thing.

What lead you to a career with your art? Or what was a defining moment that you thought ‘hey, I’m gonna do this as my job now’ 

Well I was working in the financial planning industry and it just was not the career for me, I got to a point where I realised I was wasting my life doing that job so after reading a lot of books around doing what you love for a job I got a bit inspired and decided to give art a crack and see if I could turn it into something that paid the bills. At the start I would have never believed it was possible to make a living from doing art but after hustling for about 2 years doing my full-time job and going to markets on the weekend selling tees I was able to quit my job and be a full time art dude. It took me a while to get used to it but I’ve been a full time art dude for 6 years now and I have not looked back.

The finished mini-ramp at our Coogee venue

Do you have any tips or pointers to aspiring artists that want to break through?

That’s such a huge question and when I look back on all the things I did it’s not just one thing that gets you there, there’s so many factors and actions and mindsets and luck that helps to make it happen. A couple of things that might help:

  • Get educated: there’s a million books out there telling you how to make it in the art world with so many great tips and action steps you can take 
  • Make lots of art and experiment until you discover your ‘style’ and then go hard at it.
  • Make really really really good art.
  • Get it in front of people: I did this by going to markets selling my art on tees and getting into mural painting.
  • Think about the easiest way you can make money from your art and go try it because the market will tell you pretty quick if it’s not good enough and then you go back and get better and try again – again my plan was putting art on tees and selling at markets.
  • Set goals: I actually read a book on goal setting and then after that I set a goal to make $10k from my art in 2012, because I set that goal I ended up making double that

That’s just a couple of things I can think of now but mainly you just need to do it and don’t waste your time because you only live once.

Another iconic mural, at an iconic destination.

“I’d like to have a theme park some day”

As an artist, is it hard to put a $ value on your art and figure out how much exactly your art is worth? Particularly as you progress and the awareness around your work grows?

For me I found it hardest at the start because I didn’t have a knowledge of what the kind of art I did was selling for or how to price it but as you go along you get an understanding of what the market is willing to pay and it does get easier. I think you start low and keep raising it as long as people keep paying for it. Having an understanding of the market and how your prices relate to other artists in the same type of market as you can be helpful. Now I have a bit of a formula I apply to different kinds of work when quoting up projects.

What’s your next big goal or thing you would really want to do as an artist?  

I’d like to have a theme park some day, I reckon that would be very nice. Maybe it could be a waterpark because I love waterslides and it could be called Mulga Land or something like that.

Thanks for catching up man! We’re off to skate the new mini!
Yew, have a splendid time!

You should come skate this thing! Or at least look at it..

Check out what Mulga is up to at these places on the internawebs!




Words by Tom Redden

Tom Redden