One of Australia’s most renowned artists, Beastman (aka Brad Eastman), has surfaced to do a powerhouse collaboration with heavy-hitting Aussie artists, Mulga and Shannon Crees, for the release of Kraken Rum's limited edition Blacked Spiced Rum Ceramic Bottle.
TL;DR - Surround yourself with people who love you, make other people's lives better, stop worrying about what other people think, take more risks and always strive for your potential.
So, have you ever heard of Beastman?
Over the past few years, the man has seen unrivalled, yet incredibly modest success, drawing a cult-like following in Australia. His inbox is typically flooded with requests for commissioned pieces - from individuals, businesses, councils - and die-hard fans desperately trying to get their hands on just one of his prints. Typically tucked away with his family somewhere in Indonesia, unphased by the future and away from the city chaos, he’s a hard man to get a hold of. So, when Kraken Rum told us they’d put us in touch with him if we scratch their back, we jumped at the opportunity.
I had always been quite indifferent to art. I once dated an artist who would show me various works - be it a painting, installation, dance - there was a large period of my life where I hadn’t developed an appreciation for any of it. I didn’t have negative feelings, nor positive... just indifferent.
Then I was shown a work of Beastman’s. There’s something about it that excites me. I don’t have the artistic literacy to articulate what exactly it is that I enjoy, but I feel fascinated. Perhaps it’s the geometry, or various colours, or the characters in his pieces… whatever it is, it’s neat.
Google his work and, if you feel even the slightest bit of intrigue, continue reading to get a glimpse inside the mind of Beastman himself.
BH: I’d like to get a better understanding of your story and where you’ve come from. Were there any hardships, breakthroughs or turning points over the past few decades that you think had a pivotal impact on getting you to where you are now?
Beastman: I grew up in Sydney, a suburban kid obsessed with skateboarding and skate culture. I was always drawing and messing around with making art, it just slowly became much more as I grew older. I studied graphic design after high school and then worked as a designer for years after that. I was always making artwork as a hobby and eventually I felt I was making some unique stuff so I decided to get involved with exhibiting my artwork in galleries, mainly in Sydney but eventually all over Australia. Then it just grew and grew, I started painting murals of my work and doing a range of projects. Eventually, I was able to stop doing design work and focus solely on my own work, and I’m still going! I think a pivotal moment for me was when I got the opportunity to paint the 4ZZZ Radio Station building in Brisbane. At the time, this was the largest artwork I had ever made, so was a real challenge. And it was that mural that lead to more large-scale mural opportunities.
BH: I read that your mission is to ‘drive positive cultural change; to inspire readers to lead a richer life, to know their city, and to have more fun’ - any tips for your followers on leading a richer life?
Beastman: I think a “richer life” is obtained through surrounding yourself with people that care about you and striving to achieve your fullest potential through whatever it may be that you are passionate about.
BH: ...what do you think is the antithesis of a rich life in today's age and what positive cultural change would you love to see today?
Beastman: I think if everyone stopped worrying so much about what other people think, and focus more on making changes in their own personal lives to make them and those they love happier, then a positive cultural change would be quite evident.
BH: From the current Beastman, what advice would you give to the pre-Beastman man working in retail, making crappy sites and advice for the artists that don't know how to support themselves whilst following a passion, any tips for them?
Beastman: I think my advice would be to take even more risks. You really need to dive into it and give it everything you got.
BH: [I told Beastman of my previous indifference to art and asked what he thinks might be the trigger that can convert people like myself] You speak of geometry and balance, what effect do you think this has on the viewer? Why do you think people like myself, who are often indifferent to art, would be drawn to yours?
Beastman: I have no idea! My work is something that has evolved over the last 20 years, it began as simple drawings of characters and patterns, and has become so much more than that! My graphic design background and the way my mind works has continued to push my work into more geometric style work, and the colours have been a journey for me. I first began using very few colours to create my work, and slowly added more and more colours over time, experimenting with how colours relate to each other and what works and what doesn’t. Maybe people are initially drawn to my work for its vibrancy. Most of my artworks can be enjoyed simply for their visual balance, measured compositions and bright colours, but if the viewer chooses to explore the work deeper, they will find so much more than that.
BH: Last year the Australian council cut funding to Arts in Australia - what’s your stance on it and what’s one thing you would say to policymakers to change their mind (if you oppose it)?
Beastman: I certainly don’t rely on the Australian government to support me and my family through arts funding. But I do truly feel that now more than ever we need more public art, there is just so much advertising getting thrown in our faces in so many different ways, it’s so refreshing and inspiring to be exposed to imagery and media that has no commercial agenda and requires nothing from them other than their personal interaction.
BH: That’s all from me mate. Hope you and the family stay well in Indonesia. All the best!
The limited edition Kraken Rum ceramic bottle is currently retailing for $89.99 at Dan Murphy's.