Ghostpatrol is a Tasmanian born artist currently living in Melbourne, Australia.
Although his roots are in street art, his current practice focuses on installations, paintings and murals. While his work naturally evolved away from the street art scene, between 2003 and 2008 his characters were familiar to anyone acquainted with street art in and around the laneways of Melbourne, and his work still forms an important part of the history of Australian street art.
I caught up with Ghostpatrol as few weeks ago via email from Japan, where he was involved in an exhibition called ‘Yamanoie’.
UCC: Your characters are quite unique- when did you start drawing these? Was there something that influenced you to move towards this style or was this the way you always drew?
GP: Like all humans, I drew from an early age – I guess I just never stopped! My style has just slowly developed and evolved over the past 30 years, without any formal art training.
UCC: What is your creative process? Working full time as an artist and constantly being immersed in art, do you find you have ‘dry spells’ or difficulty finding inspiration? How do you stay inspired?
GP: My process is always evolving – as the type of work I do and projects I’m involved in change. When I’m in Melbourne (I travel about 3 months per year) I spend all my time in my studio – I like to be there all day, staring early and finishing late.
I work a lot from my sketchbook and keep lot’s of list of ideas and dreams – so no! i’m never short if ideas or direction. I’m lucky enough to feel inspired all the time and often listen to talks and lectures whilst I work and surround myself with good people that help me remain focused and positive.
UCC: Who or what inspires and influences your work?
I think some of my biggest influences are friends, animals, space exploration, ancient artifacts, action figures, and both Japanese and French anime. It’s so hard to make a list.
UCC: What type of space do you find most conducive for creativity?
(Studio / outdoors / quiet / lots of background noise etc)
GP: I like the mix of all of those – I try not to be fussy and to embrace the positive parts of any situation. It’s nice to react to being out of your comfort zone, and its also nice to create perfect conditions within my studio. Creativity is a feeling that never sleeps, so I work hard to make sure I can always take advantage of being a ‘professional observer’ and I am constantly soaking up the world around me.
UCC: You hand painted a wind turbine at the Hepburn wind farm in Victoria – quite a unique and unusual location for an artwork! What initially attracted you to this project? What do you have planned for the second wind turbine?
GP: I was initially introduced to the project through a collector of my paintings. I was totally inspired by the community behind the wind farm – amazing people taking on some independence from Australia’s terrible mismanagement of energy and renewable power. It was a great set of challenges on a unique site – it was hugely rewarding and I’m about to embark on painting the second turbine in November 2014. There will be a big celebration and community campout on the site to welcome the new painting and celebrate the turbines.
UCC: Could you tell me a bit about the Brandalism UK project you were involved in, and the work you did for that project?
GP: I was involved in Street Art in 2003 for a few years – and the political act of destroying or reclaiming space from advertising was always an important part of the movement. I was very happy to be invited to participate the Brandalism events in the UK – their mission of synchronizing the hijacking of billboards is a great way to draw attention to the pervasive nature of advertising. The Street art movement has a core element of subverting advertising through replicating the language and tools of mass media advertising.
UCC: The projects you undertake all seem quite diverse. What factors do you take into account when choosing your projects?
GP: I like to be challenged – I feel lucky that I open my inbox and new opportunities present themselves. I like collaborating and extending my practice and combining my skill set with someone that can teach me something new. Bigger, better and more interesting is the idea. By reaching out and keeping yourself on your toes, new challenges come to you.
UCC: Do you have a specific message or purpose you want your art to serve?
Positivity, and world peace! It’s a process that always changing, and a life quest to work it all out.
UCC: What advice would you give to young artists looking to make a profession out of their passion? Any lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Well, I like drawing, so I draw a lot everyday. That’s what works for me – I’m surprised by how many young artists think it all just happens without doing 10,000 hours first. I like to be fluid with my attitudes and live for the moment and not worry about the future.
I’m a hard worker and I like to spend every minute of the day working on my art, and managing my time to minimize anything else that isn’t art. There’s never enough time for all the projects I would like to do.
Travel as soon as you can. Move out of your comfort zone, and move away from where you grew up. Also surround your self with friends and contemporaries that challenge and support you – but really it’s all up to you! I’m very much at peace with spending a lot of time alone just working away on my art for my own enjoyment, and I know that kind of life is not appealing to everyone.
UCC: In many of the photographs of your painting you are wearing headphones! What’s on high rotation on your iPod at the moment?
Heaps of Afrosynth (Hey Fever!, Banjo, Benjamin Ball, Shaka Bundu), Erkin Koray, Harry Forbes, Oneohtrix Point Never, Rustie, Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestros and William Onyeabor.
I’ve been back in Japan for 2 months now, so while I’m here I’m listening to heaps of Yellow Magic Orchestra and The Katamari soundtrack too.
UCC: Thanks so much for your time, looking forward to seeing the second wind turbine completed!
You can find Ghost patrol on