Kanye kissing Kanye, Kimmy K’s booty pic and Casino Mike are a few of the characters on infamous Sydney artist Scott Marsh’s repertoire. With a strong background in traditional graffiti, Marsh has brought a new flavour to the table, blowing up the internet while he’s at it. Going on 18000 instagram followers, Marsh’s controversial and colourful murals have reached viral status instantaneously. We spoke to the man himself and found out what its really like to be Scott Marsh.
INTERVIEW: RUBY AVERY-DE WAAL
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a Sydney based artist.
What was your introduction to painting large scale murals? What was your first piece?
I was working as a commercial muralist for a number of years when I finished uni, there wasn't a whole lot of love in many of the jobs but it was a great learning curve. I was forced out of my comfort zone, painting a huge range of different subject matters and spaces. It made me pretty versatile. Before this I was painting graffiti for over 10 years so painting big, fast and in less than ideal environments was already something I was pretty accustomed to. My first graffiti piece was the word ‘Beaver’ with a Wutang sign in the middle of it. Beaver was my nickname in high school.
What does your day-to-day look like?
Generally a mixture private jets, cocaine, strippers and roast dinners. Nothing too exciting.
Your work often references graffiti culture, has this played a role in your development as an artist?
Graffiti is huge for me. It’s something I have been involved with since I was 12 years old and is not only something I love doing but a huge part of my identity. Most of the techniques, mediums and ideas I have in terms of my art practice come from lessons I have learned as a graffiti writer. It breeds an ingenuity, resilience and a ‘get it done’ attitude you don't get at art school.
"Graffiti is huge for me. It’s something I have been involved with since I was 12 years old and is not only something I love doing but a huge part of my identity."
Tell us about your George Michael mural -
It was a commission/collaboration of sorts between the property owners who were both good friends of George Michael. I was approached by them months ago to paint their wall, which is huge and in a unreal location right on the train line at St Peters. I had plans to paint a different mural on the wall but after George Michael passed away they asked if I would consider painting something of a memorial to celebrate his life. We sat down and had a bit of a brain storm and they shared some stories from their time with George. We settled on the idea of George Michael as a 'Patron saint to the gays". I went away and came up with a design and the rest is history. The response has been amazing and have a had a lot of people thanking me for the healing the wall has given them. George Michael was a incredible person and touched a lot of people.
Some of your murals, like the Kanye kissing Kanye wall, shot to fame on social media instantly. What is it like to suddenly have so much notoriety online?
When you paint something and it gets shared with thousands, sometimes millions, of people it's a great feeling.
"If something really pisses me off, I’ll paint a mural about it. It seems the thing that is endangering people around the world more than anything else is the politicians elected to serve them. Pursuing policies more concerned with dollar signs than the people and the planet they live on."
What's one thing we don't know about Scott Marsh?
I have 11 toes.
A lot of your art has political undertones, do you have a main message you'd like to preach to the masses?
If something really pisses me off, I’ll paint a mural about it. It seems the thing that is endangering people around the world more than anything else is the politicians elected to serve them. Pursuing policies more concerned with dollar signs than the people and the planet they live on.
What's on the cards for you going into 2017?
I have 2 exhibitions planned, one for early May and the other for later in the year, as well as a tone of murals and other projects. It's going to be a very busy year and I'm really looking forward to it.
Any words of advice for any budding artists out there?
Get up early! work hard and trust you own instinct.