Sometimes creative juices flow from unusual places and partnerships.
Grizzle is an artist, designer, free spirit and cider drinker. We talk to the man himself about his recent collab with Applejacks.
Inked: Where does inspiration for a piece start?
Grizzle: I like to know where it is going to live, if it’s on the street I look at the surrounding colourways and features. If it’s a product, print or an advert etc. I’ll look at it from a similar perspective, knowing what materials and textures my art will be painted or printed on is an important start for me. It will determine colours, tones and the detail, from there I let myself go into my weird little world.
Your style is distinctive and really stands out from the crowd. How did you develop it? Is it something you constantly work at or is it natural?
Grizzle: Cheers. There have definitely been some massive weird mistakes that have sometimes created something crazy. For the most part my style comes naturally to me yet is always evolving.
How did the relationship between yourself and Applejacks come about? What pieces have you made for them?
Grizzle: [Laughs] Funny story getting an email From JP (some say Mr. Applejacks himself) explaining he had seen the collab I put online between Mike Watt and myself from his book Tattoo Me. JP knew my style would mesh well with Applejacks and wanted to create something then and there. However, I didn’t drink cider then so I was unsure whether I should be part of something that I wasn’t going to be able to back and promote so I said “No”. Like a good girl playing hard to get, yet after we laughed about that, we met up and discussed future ideas and projects. JP plied me with a heap of party cider anyway. Once I tasted the concoction that night, I rang him and said “Sorry bud, I was wrong, that cider vodka combo is insane. I’m in!”
There is already a back catalogue of Applejacks x lé Grizz’ partycups, promotional props, a trippy inside out parquee, advertisements and festival and bar murals, the list goes on.
It seems like an easy relationship. Was it easy to associate your style with their brand?
Grizzle: I’m sure I test the relationship from time to time. The first commission I had with AJ was crucial for me as I knew if it meshed well there would be more on offer, yet I had to be mindful of the existing styling and bounce both off one another. The cocky side of me comes out when I know I can say, “I fucking murdered it”.
Do you have an endless supply of Applejacks? I literally just opened up a fresh one from a well-stocked fridge.
How did you start your art career – was it a drawing-on-the-walls-from-birth kinda thing? Did you study?
Grizzle: I know I “was” a little scumbag all those years ago but I don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to drawing on walls [Laughs]. There’s always been art and supplies at my disposal growing up, both my sisters are artists, designers and heavily influence my chase, whether it be pushing my art and going to college, we there to push one another and keep us humble. It is definitely in my blood, though education and collaboration has been key to starting my art career.
Have you ever designed any of your own tattoos?
Grizzle: Yeah, my first tattoo actually. I drew this one for my late grandfather. He used to tell me: “Your working day has not started until you tie your shoelaces up.” I guess that’s why I stay mostly barefoot when I’m not working. So I drew up some shoelace typography with “Rise with the fallen” after he passed, it’s still my favourite.
Do you plan or are you a spur of the moment tattoo person?
Grizzle: Mostly where the image will fit and look best. I’m slowly sticker slapping my body with mine or my peers’ work.
Are there any links between your work and how you decorate your body?
Grizzle: My work is my life. The way I represent that on my body is art collecting. I travel a lot and have a back catalogue of art ready to go on me, as I can’t take large, framed pieces everywhere I go. If you’re an artist I’ve spent some time with and admire, chances are I’ll get something you’ve done zapped.
When it comes to art, who inspires you?
Grizzle: This is where my mind gets well lost, it goes from growing up watching William Hanna and w Barbera (Hanna-Barbera) cartoons to focusing my colour studies on Jeffrey Smart’s work to my peers, such as Skulk who has pushed my art into new directions.
How do you work, is it music turned up, go for broke or quiet and focused?
Grizzle: Depends what I’m working on. I’ll usually start with something chilled to prep and sketch lines. I usually start drawing lines in my mind while looking at the blank canvas (digital or physical), Once I’m in rhythm I’ll switch it up and put something heavier on [and] slam it out.
What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Grizzle: This’ll be a little contradictory though travelling has always been an obstacle for me, however much I love it as I grow and adapt with it, yet the constant packing and unpacking means private projects and commissions are stretched. I’m a creature of habit for sure so living a nomadic lifestyle at present is both insane and incredible.
And the highlight?
Grizzle: I gave myself five years to make a dent after I went on my own. It’s crazy seeing my list of goals being ticked off three years in, from international collaborations and solo exhibitions to branding and advertising with my art, my signature.
What’s next for you in 2016 and beyond?
Grizzle: Keeping that highlight going and probably more travel. I’m currently packing my whip with more paint and supplies to drive back to Melbourne from Sydney. There will be more acid popped weirdness and a ton of experimenting for new exhibitions and good vibes.