Wild Fantasies: Mudwig


Written by Olly Rees
16 Monday 16th August 2010


Taking the bold, powerful imagery and cynicism usually seen on urban streets straight to the establishment’s door, Mudwig has been crashing into countless different shows worldwide. Whilst often appearing playful and tongue-in-cheek, his style brings with it a stronger message of social decay and the conflict between the natural and mechanical worlds. Mudwig’s technical ability is always evident, with intricate drawings always playing a key role in the work he produces.
Mudwig is never afraid to shock – some of his work involves, for example, prints of women without faces, bodies or legs – and yet his technical ability is always evident, with intricate drawings always playing a key role in the work he produces. A refreshing change in the world of modern commercial art, Don’t Panic caught up with Mudwig as he prepares to feature in our Wild Fantasies 10th anniversary exhibition in September to see just how he does it.
What inspires you to create your work? What most excites you?
The grand drive is to make something totally unique, to be celebrated and to become renowned for what one adds to the world artistically. More specifically I find my visual inspiration in all manner of places, I love Piranesi, Paul Noble, militaria, aerial photography and anatomical imagery, but I also get excited when watching dogs’ back spasms as they befoul pavements. At the moment I consider the Antiques Roadshow an integral to the start of my creative week.
How has your work changed? Did you start by tagging walls? How did this evolve into producing work for a gallery context?
My drawings and paintings over the last few years have definitely evolved and become more visually intense. I've never tagged on walls but the street based stuff I've done. I consider that separately and technically approach it very differently.
It contains a lot of the same iconography and themes, but substitutes detail and diverse content for a more comic style/stripped down aesthetic.
How do you think your work being in art galleries changes it?
I like it more 
What sort of work are you showing the in the Don't Panic anniversary exhibition?
One of the posters I did about nine years ago will be in there. So I will try to antidote that example of my juvenile Photoshopping with something hopefully a bit more sophisticated.
Do you like producing work for art galleries? Does it still have the same thrill as street art?
I find the production process free-er and more controlled. The finished work is more personal and competent. I make it in a private comfortable studio state surrounded by source imagery, music, Cheddar and assistants. 
I can get in a 'zone' and make work for myself, after which I can carefully select the pieces I want to display or release to an elite-invited* audience.   (* not true)
In contrast street stuff is instantly on display as soon as your paint stick strokes the wall, it has a different purpose and often the production becomes a public performance in itself. It’s certainly more stressful and exhilarating making murals and the finished thing has much cruder grandiose appeal.
How would you like to see your work develop? What's your dream?
I hope be appointed Royal artist to the court of the Swan King.
What do you think of the media's obsession with Banksy?
Have you ever been arrested whilst making any of your art?
Yes, twice. I'm after George Michael's title. 
You've been described as having a ‘nonconformist’ approach to your work – do you think this is true?
I've always tried to 'beat' my own path and I use animals as bondservants.


Mudwig will appear in our 10th anniversary exhibition Wild Fantasies, alongside D*Face, Shepard Fairey, Pure Evil, Mr Jago, Eine, James Joyce, C215 and Word To Mother, at Stolen Space gallery, London from September 24 to October 03, with a preview night on September 23 and a student night on September 29.

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