Reg Mombassa can best be described as an Australian icon. With over 30 years of work behind him his catalogue is phenomenal.
At the age of 17 he came to Australia via boat from New Zealand, straight into art school and had his first exhibition in 1975.
For 20 odd years he was a member of the band Mental As Anything. He says he never intended to be an artist or graphic designer but being in a band that needed artwork he decided to have a crack.
Dare Jennings of Mambo (and now Deus Ex Machina) saw his work from the band and started getting Reg to design graphics for t-shirts and this is how he found his way as a designer. Every year he'd do 6-8 shirts along with several posters, behind that there were often 200 small sketches that would get presented before a final cull. What Reg loved about working with Dare was that anything goes and they allowed his ideas to flourish.
Reg mentions his love of charcoal for the ability to go over his work again and again, also its random nature and ability to create dark lines. His works constantly evolve from the initial idea so it's ability to just rub out and start again is of great importance. He states he can't use a computer and can barely use a mobile phone so pencils are also a big factor in the work. He hopes to get more modern some day soon.
Reg is quite the character, his sense of humour is vivid in his work and his presentation. The works are a who's who of Australian pop culture. Well known icons such as Mambo's Angry Chickens and Australian Jesus to Crowded House album covers, it is easy to see why Reg is still held with such high regard.
He taught himself to paint as a teenager copied impressionist paintings. The writer Flan O'brien is also listed as a major influence for his sense of humour.
Reg states that he loves his work to be funny, spirtuality uplifting or educational. Many of his Mambo works feature long format text showcasing his flair for the written word alongside his artistic talents. A lot of Reg's work has caused quite the drama. From threats from Christians fire bombing the old Mambo store on Oxford Street for a gay Jesus in the window to his posters being discussed in the upper house for their commentary on the refugee situation.
That's it for day one. Hope you have enjoyed the coverage thus far. We will be back for tomorrow so check in to see the updates as they happen.