The Black Math Interview
You may have seen The Black Math's distinctive work on the streets of Melbourne as well as in various print publications and online channels. Drawing connections from tribal art and graffiti culture he has developed an approach which is quickly gaining traction in the modern art scene.
Tell us about the image you've used for your new print edition.
The piece created for this release is in line with an ongoing portrait series I’m working on. I went about this one a little differently as we screen printed the mask on top of the existing print.
I generally have 2 different styles of work… One being this masked portrait vibe using photos and colour mixed with drawing. The other is a more stark, black and white style using drawn symbols & typography.
What is your process for making your portrait style pieces?
Working with the shape of the face I draw a mask over the image. With this as an outline I start to add in elements. Depending on the vibe of the photo and my mood they fill in fairly organically. I black out areas with ink and also add in detail with paint markers. Then I scan in, and sometimes add some hits of colour. For this release the mask/drawing detail was added in the final process as a screen print.
Tell us about your exploration with typography and use of icons and symbols in your work.
As far as the icons and words I use, there isn’t normally bearing to any of them individually. There is a mix of references in each piece and the combination of these together in the finished artwork make it more of a dialogue.
You have a very distinctive style - how did you first come up with it and how has it evolved since you started?
I originally started making blackout poems in newspapers and magazines, by blacking out different words and leaving others to make new narrative. This eventually shifted from the article pages of the magazines to photo based ads. Using photography as a base I was able to start introducing my own narrative through words and symbols.
Your work is scary and beautiful at the same time - sometimes there's a sense of 'vandalism' to the faces and other times it's as if they wear ornamental 'masks'. What is your general feeling towards people/society/humanity that you want to depict in your work?
My general feeling is people should be good to each other. Although my work can be dark I’m a peacefully person. If anything identity and the subconscious are something that interest me and can come through in my work.
If you had to describe your work musically - what would be the soundtrack?
If I could choose - it would be scored by Jim Jarmush
What's your studio like?
I have a home studio which has it’s positives and negatives. Luckily I have an understanding girlfriend! Later this year my brother and I are moving into a studio together.
Tell us about your art collection - and are there any other things that you collect?
My art collection is growing and what is on my walls constantly changes. I have a lot of works by friends as well as pieces I’ve bought. My record collection is also becoming a beast!
Other than social media sites - what websites do you find yourself on most often?
I’m a fiend for the news.. So that’s one of my first go-to’s. There are a heap of design, art, fashion & music sites I check daily. Also eBay bidding wars take up some time.
What projects do you have coming up soon?
I’m currently working on my first solo show.. I’ve also collaborated with a fashion label on an upcoming range which is going to be RAD!
Check out more of The Black Math's work here.