I caught up with Mike Watt after his trip to Chile and found out that he has been keeping himself very busy.
Mike! Welcome back. How was your trip to Chile? What did you get up to over there?
It was great thanks, my girlfriends cousin lives over there so we had a local showing us around which is always good. We spent most of our time in Santiago. We checked out an art gallery and started chatting with them and they asked me to paint something on their wall. It was a good excuse to find out a bit about the Chilean culture, we researched the natives there and learnt a bit about the history and I came up with the guy I painted. I'll hopefully be back to do an exhibition with them in the not too distant future.
We then headed over to Valparaiso which was amazing, I had no idea about that city, the amount of art on the walls was just nuts. It was so much fun just wandering around, tuns of character in that place. We had some left over paint from Santiago so we asked the hostel we were staying in if I could paint their wall, super nice guys, they ended up giving us our money back from the room because they liked what I did, which was really sweet of them. I kind of painted a bit of a mix of things that I noticed about the city.
You’ve been doing a lot of work with the patrons of delicious, not-boring beer, Murray’s Brewing. Tell me what it’s like working with them? What are some of the beer labels you’ve been working on?
It's great working with Murray's, they're extremely chilled and trusting of my work. I never really did my real style for a brand before I worked for them. They're always experimenting and creating different beers so I get to do quite a few labels for them. Their beers are great on top of being a great client so I'm pretty stoked with the set up.
Fred was the first one we did together. When I first met Murray he asked if I had anything to show him, I had just packed down an exhibition and I had some pieces in the back of the car, which I showed him, he picked one out straight away and bought it, about a week later he told me he wanted to turn it into a label which became Fred.
I’m seeing a lot of your work out and about. Before you went to Chile you were working with Sydney Water on a mural in Centennial Park. How was working on that?
That was a really fun challenge, I almost died of exhaustion doing it though... I didn't really, but it was hard work.
When we all met up to talk about concepts I was driven around the park by some of the caretakers who told me about the park and about the different plants, it was really interesting, the park has a tun of history and I learnt a bunch about certain plants I had no idea about. We went with a pattern of different leaves you find in the park for the mural, with a water pattern separating each section. I really enjoy patterns but I don't draw or paint them as much as I could so it was really nice to just focus on that.
It took me 5 days to paint, which is the longest time I've ever spent on a wall.
What about the cute pin up you did for Cheekyburger in Paddington?
Her name is Lucy, I originally painted a bigger one with a girl (named Suzy) holding a milk shake and a burger. They had to instal a cover for when it rained, which cut the Suzy's head off, so she was painted over and we decided to do a new one. It was sad to see Suzy go but I think Lucy is a good fit there, I've got a couple of other bits and pieces out the back as well. Great burgers by the way.
Burgers, beers. What else have you got up your sleeve?
I'm working on some secret t-shirts stuff and some surfboard designs, which should be good fun. I've got a handful of my own stuff I'm finishing up too.
Describe the colour orange to someone who's blind?
Ooh, that's tricky, I'd probably just say it's what warm looks like.
You can also follow his kickass Instagram