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DESIGN & STYLE

Bearded Dudes and Surfing Koalas: A Look Into the Colourful World of Mulga the Artist and His Plans for Summer

The Aussie artist gives us a rundown on his quirky characters and his love of the beach.
By Cordelia Williamson
October 28, 2021
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By Cordelia Williamson
October 28, 2021
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in partnership with

You could say life has been somewhat colourless over the past couple of years thanks to a pesky thing called a pandemic. That may be a touch melodramatic, but you catch our drift. With summer on the horizon, we're itching for days at the beach, road trips with mates and kicking back with our families and loved ones. Bliss.

Here to inject a big dose of colour into the months ahead is Aussie artist Mulga (AKA Joel Moore), whose super-fun designs radiate summer vibes. Recently, the Sydney-based muralist and illustrator teamed up with go-to outdoor retailer Kathmandu for a limited-edition collection of beach essentials.

To celebrate the new range, we chatted to Mulga to get a sense of what it's like to be in his brightly hued, quirky character-filled world — plus what he's got planned over summer. Then, you can head to our competition to go in the running to win some of the next-level beach gear.

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MULGA THE LATE BLOOMER

First up, Mulga wasn't always creating art; he only picked up the practice in 2012. "I worked in financial planning. I realised I didn't like that," hey says. Once he got serious about his art, though, he didn't look back.

He began painting murals — which he still loves doing — then expanded to making his own products such as printed tees, boardies, totes, art prints and oh-so-COVID-appropriate face masks. He's also a big fan of brand collaborations, which has seen his work pop up in Aussie streets, on buses, across swimming costumes and even on Maxibon wrappers.

In his art, you'll find a lot of bearded dudes and chiller animal characters — think koalas holding surfboards, sunglasses-clad chickens and cockatoos eating ice cream. One of the first animals he got into painting was gorillas after a visit to Taronga Zoo, which has become a motif in his years-long practice.

"I use lots of bright colours and try to inject a little bit of humour into my creations."

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HIS VISUAL CATCHCRY

Looking at Mulga's work, it's clear that laidback summer vibes are Mulga's visual catchcry.

"I love summer and the beach and surfing and my love for that just flows out through my art," he says. It makes sense, considering he's an avid surfer: "One of my dreams is to spend a year on a tropical island doing nothing but surfing and making art."

Why summer specifically? "It's a time of summer holidays and Christmas and pool parties. What's not to love?" The man's got a point. And when the mercury's soaring, he'll be at the beach with his kids, getting an ice cream, cruising around on a boat and "chilling in the hammock under a palm tree".

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HIS LATEST COLLAB

So, it makes sense that his collab with Kathmandu is all about making the most of sunny days at the beach. The range combines Mulga's signature bright, quirky prints and patterns with Kathmandu's functional designs.

"I did my thing which is making funky artworks and Kathmandu did their thing which is making quality products, and the result is funky quality products." There are t-shirts, sand-proof towels, water bottles, camping chairs, sun shelters and beach umbrellas — all of which will take your summer adventures to the next level.

"The beach tent is pretty rad." Mulga says. "I'm looking forward to the moment when I go to the beach and see someone with the Mulga x Kathmandu tent. I'll stroll by and say 'nice tent'."

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Check out the full Kathmandu x Mulga beach collection on the Kathmandu website. Keen to score beach gear for free? Enter our competition to go in the running to win a sweet Kathmandu x Mulga prize pack before November 14. 

Published on October 28, 2021 by Cordelia Williamson

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