A dynamic creative talent, we talk to Sydney-based creator of some of our favourite public murals and street art: Elliott Routledge aka Numskull
Your bold, bright artworks feel full of optimism, is that just the kind of guy you are or do you need inspiration?
I’d like to think I’m optimistic with a healthy dose of cynicism, but I’m human, so also need inspiration to keep me going. Surrounding myself with happy, forward-thinking people, and experiencing new things as much as possible keeps life interesting, which I guess then affects my concepts and style.
You’ve created many large-scale outdoor works in cities from Sydney to Perth, how much does urban Australia influence them?
I actually try not to be influenced by Australiana, in terms of imagery or colour.
I like my mural work to stand out as much as possible and be a contrast to the situation it’s in.
I let that idea, and any other influence from the environment, affect the concept.
Do you have a favourite outdoor commission that you’ve done in Australia, and why?
That’s tricky, but I recently completed a large outdoor commission piece in Sydney’s Inner West.
I painted the words ‘Never Too Late’ as large as possible on a 40 by 10-metre wall adjacent to Ashfield train station.
It was super fun to paint, and I’ve always wanted to have my work next to a rail corridor.
I spent my childhood travelling on trains so it was an amazing opportunity to contribute to that.
What would you like people to feel or think when they view one of your works?
For me it’s about stopping people in their tracks and making them think.
Most of my work is quite abstract, so I’d hope people stop and figure out their own idea of what it’s about or how it was painted.
I guess I’d love for people to feel optimistic when viewing my work.
Good vibes only!
When you’re working outdoors, do people ever mistake you for someone defacing public property?
Yes! I get asked the question probably every second wall I paint.
I’ll be up a 66-foot boom lift dressed in full safety equipment, and still get asked if I have permission.
Have you ever overheard observations of your work from people in the street?
I like to stick around the walls to take as many photos as possible, so I get to overhear lots of conversations.
It’s nice to sit there and listen to what people make of the work. For the Ashfield ‘Never Too Late’ mural, I heard a couple suggest that maybe ‘Never Too Latte’ would be a good coffee shop, and another guy ask the question to himself, “Never too late for what? Dinner?”
If you could create an artwork on any public building in Australia, which would it be?
The Sydney Opera House…