Where were you born and where do you live now?
My family roots stem from Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara Countries, up by the river and down by the ocean, so I have a really strong connection to water and land. My mother is a part of Stolen Generation and was raised in orphanages in her early years in Ballarat along with her 3 brothers. My father and the family came to Ballarat to find work to survive in the Western culture lifestyle. My parents then met at some point and gave birth to me in now what I my call my adopted home Sweet Home Ballabama aka Ballarat. I have spent the majority of my years here and have strong connections to my Community. I belong to a large family. In my immediate family I have 4 siblings. 3 brothers and 1 sister.
When did you first become interested in art?
When I was a little lad, my mother and father, had brought me a mini Basketball ring which I set up in the hallway, because everyone in the '90s wanted to be like Mike, and they also brought me an ART easel and paints, so I had the two instilled in me at a young age and manage to use the two as my hustle growing up and have a great deal of success in my chosen sports and creative abilities. I like spending a lot of time and investing time in my capabilities. Drawing was one, from the age of four. I like to gather energy and enter my ZONE, and get creative. I have always had the balance between fun in sport which i describe as expressing myself through dance on the courts, and fun in conceptualizing with the natural rhythm, that I appreciate.
How has story telling had an impact on your life and art?
Story telling is a big part of Aboriginal culture, I guess my genetics allow me to channel stories from a personal point of view with all sorts of lessons and outcomes. I have always considered myself an entertainer, storytelling allows me to break the ice and develop relationships with many people across the map. I use art as a way of capturing moments and significant times to connect, inspire and incorporate a fun journey in what I do. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Mind you I have always took a loads of risk to generate an individual sense of empowerment, You can call it courage, maybe a little curiosity, in whole the world turns.
What kind of medium/s do you use?
I spent a lot of time in my teens researching and enjoying graffiti in the public arena. I look at the commitment in what graffers do and am inspired by the concepts they illustrate. I took to pen and pad to get my ideas out of my mind and it was a way of healing for myself, like many others, once I had the basic concept down and it was tangible I then converted that to canvas or walls or whatever I could see as a space I could decorate. I experimented with spray and stencil work a lot in my teens and later on branched out into acrylic paints, paint pens, and now digital forms of Art. I love the challenge in it all and i have a great deal of respect and passion for freedom of expression.
What is your creative process like?
Haha well my creative process follows me everywhere I travel, I see the world in unlimited potential type manner and like to see the positive and opportunity in almost everything I do. I call this blessings in disguise. Being Aboriginal I understand that this is and always will be our land but the environment of today is literally unchangeable for the moment, I cannot remove the way of the world. So I make do with what lays in front of me. Anyway, my practice stems from a good place in my heart. The concept-building and amount of sketching I do is quite ridiculous but my drive is just that ridiculous, I spend some nights awake to all hours of the morning building an idea, other times it works like epiphanies. I remember Eminem my all-time favourite emcee said he stacks ideas like ammunition. This term is exactly how I feel. Music is a major factor in what I do.
Describe your workspace.
Once upon a time I had a lot of space in my work environment, so the more space you have the looser and more free flowing your work will turn out I believe. I was marginalized in space allowing me to redevelop my way of thinking and using the space I had on the computer to generate more intricate artworks. My space generally looks organized when I first walk in but by day two it can get a little busy. I require speakers, music-appropriate attire, and plenty of fluid, to allow the brain to be hydrated.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
A typical day at work involves myself working alongside amazing Aboriginal high school students, local schools and my now family at the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience. Shout out to the AIME family for holding me down. In my practice, I guess the main element of it all is to have fun, and be open to change like water it adapts to change which is exactly what I do with any hurdles I may face, cause at the end of it all my day really consists of focus. focus on what you ask? Well I have these golden opportunities to better my life and many others so I appreciate that and I am determined to be the best me I can be.
What’s the most valuable art tip you’ve ever received?
Haha, ok people all have their opinions, and that is completely fine, I state a lot that it’s each to their own. Though it is up to the person hearing opinions on whether they take it as advice or not. We all have choices and nobody can force you into something if you don't feel comfortable, so just be honest in how you feel and remain respectful. DO YOUR THING MAN
Which era of art are you most influenced by?
I appreciate all art all backgrounds all eras, from music to film from gaming to design from fashion to engineering. I think each era has positives. Being a nineties kid I have great memories from my childhood. Though I am not prejudiced to any one era, I find inspiration from all the above and future eras to come. It is just a blessing to witness the evolution of our world.
Who are some artists who inspire you?
Man I first read and got to know about this one artist 5-6 years ago, you all may know of him his name is BANKSY, if you haven't, check him out, I love his mysteriousness, he is almost a myth, just really political and knows how to deliver a really positive and thought provoking message on the global scale. The level of appreciation I have for all artists is through the ceiling cause I relate to majority of their tales.
What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
Number one highlight, being given a great deal of recognition for what I do, the awards are great and they are like when you win bonuses on a video game, the real achievement is in the art I produce I feel like I completely own my creativity and encapsulate beauty, it is almost like I am bringing in new life to the world for people to enjoy, it is a vulnerable state of mind to be in because your opening your inner self to many to observe. The whole journey I am on is a huge highlight and reflective of my lifestyle. I believe life is love. so I got love for everybody who has helped me elevate to new heights, and am grateful to be given the life, opportunity and talent where I can share that.
What is the most challenging part about being an artist? What is the most rewarding?
The challenge about being an "ARTIST" or just a human in general making mistakes but how you make the most out of that experience and learn from it to better yourself and be aware of similar situations that may arise again, but it’s all learning man we are all human. so I guess I covered the challenge and reward in one section. we live to learn.
Where can we see more of your work?
My work is all over the country. You may one day bump into on a random occasion ha, but on the serious note: I plan on having a solo exhibition in August 2015 at MARS gallery in Windsor, Melbourne, many many more to come. I have to hold off on a few things till I get confirmation to get the go ahead so my apologies.
What does 2015 hold for you?
2015 has already shaped up to be a greater year than its predecessors 2014 and 2013. I recently have been selected as a Top 50 Young Social Pioneer, through Foundation for Young Australians and am so focused on making an impact in the program. I have been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Victoria, and will forever remain in their archives. BIG THINGS, let’s just say I am working on a collection of ideas and translating that into creative writing to spark your imagination in a new avenue. Thanks for allowing the opportunity to share a little bit of who i am to date. :)
© Josh Muir