Pressing Questions With Jack Irvine

We accost Melbourne-based artist Jack Irvine with a medley of life's most pressing questions.

What do Billie Eilish, Troye Sivan, BENEE and Skeggs have in common? Yup, they're all offensively talented. But more specifically, they've all enlisted the services of Melbourne-based artist Jack Irvine to create bold and vibrant artwork for their respective merch collections.

It's fair to say that Jack's art is anything but muted. Given his passion for creating bold, energising art packed with colour and movement, the fact he was inspired by artists like Keith Haring, Basquiat, Ozzie Wright and Picasso definitely checks out.

Now, Jack's stunning new exhibit – Simple Pleasures – on display at aMBUSH Gallery Kambri in Camberra, showcases the paintings Jack created during Melbourne's infamous lockdown of 2020. According to Jack, Simple Pleasures is about "the things that encapsulate positive memories throughout [his] life. Things that before the pandemic [he] lacked appreciation for, and in hindsight... realised how amazing those times were."

To celebrate the launch of Jack's new exhibit, we ambushed the artist with MTV Australia's Pressing Questions – our spiffy new interview series that does away with robotic conversational frames and gets stuck into the personal, hypothetical and plain weird.

What is the meaning of life?

To do some fun stuff that excites you – and hopefully make some other people's lives a little better along the way.

Something COVID taught you?

Shit can change real quick, so don't be waiting around making excuses.

Last movie you watched?

Sherpa. It's about Mt Everest and the tourism that it brings to Nepal and how much the Nepalese government makes compared to the Sherpa who are the ones putting themselves at risk.

Best advice you've received?

"To be interesting, you've got to do interesting things."

Someone you really admire?

The late British singer and songwriter Ian Dury. His lyrics contain really nice messages and interesting stories. He also just seemed like a really down to earth person.

How do you feel about your hair?

Pretty good. It's still hanging in there, so I can't complain.

Describe yourself in three words?

Weird art uncle.

One person or thing you think is underrated?

Home-made popcorn is highly underrated. I eat it almost everyday. It's not unhealthy – so you can eat heaps of it and not feel fucked for ages, but you have to make sure you buy a brand without all the crap in it. I'm looking forward to eating some after this, actually.

Would you rather travel 100 years to the past or the future?

Definitely the future! I'm a big fan of science fiction so I'd love to see what's in store for us. Probably some real fucked up shit, surely.

Nature or nurture?

If I had to choose I'd say nurture because I think if you're surrounded by good people, then surely that will help you be better.

What do you doubt most?

Perfect, clean-cut people.

Daily ritual you couldn't live without?

Brushing my teeth – I'm hating my day if I can't do that. Listening to music before I go do something gets me in the right place, too.

How are you at 8am (essentially, are you a morning person?)

If I'm up at 8am, I'm super lazy. In my brain I'll make a decision to stay at home all day and watch movies; then in 10 minutes I'll want to do something.

I'm far from a morning person, but I won't be a dick or anything. I'm not one of those 'don't talk to me until I've had my coffee' people.

Something you're passionate about?

I'm passionate about making things happen, having a go at stuff and trying to be half decent.

Tell us about your art in a sentence.

My art is fun, colourful and doing its best to cheer me up – and hopefully you, too.

Jack's answers have been slightly edited for clarity.

Catch Jack Irvine's Simple Pleasures at ANU's aMBUSH Gallery until May 16, 2021. The exhibition will be open to the public daily from 10am-6pm weekdays and 12pm-5pm on weekends until Sunday, 16 May. Admission is free.

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Pressing Questions With Nick Ward

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