The latest exhibition Live Fast - Die Young from Mike Chavez is full of the usual punch and skill that the art world is coming to expect from this formerly Melbourne-based artist. (He has recently relocated back to the Philippines.) He has been an Archibald Prize finalist and nominated as "one of the top 20 artists under 35 in Australia" by a panel of curators and art writers by Art Melbourne 06.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?
When I was still at art school in Brisbane there was a local paper looking for an editorial cartoonist. I got the job and for a number of years I had the immense pleasure of publicly lampooning Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen (the then Qld premier). From there, the newspaper gave me a weekly cartoon strip and my career in art never looked back. I spent the next 15 years working in the animation industry in Sydney and Los Angeles for companies like Disney, Dreamworks and Warner Brothers. In 2004 I turned my attention towards making my own art and have been exhibiting in galleries ever since.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
What’s your proudest career achievement?
Probably being selected as a finalist in the 2009 Archibald Prize.
What’s been your best decision?
Re-applying for art college after being turned down by the Fine Art department the previous year. I applied for Animation the second time around and got in. I’m so glad I did Animation instead of “Fine Art”. What a bunch of knobs!
Who inspires you?
All the freaky people out there doing their own thing, in particular, the madly talented ones creating original and thought-provoking work.
What are you passionate about?
My family, making art, the environment, social justice, surfing, food.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
That’s a toughie... Jesus or Andy Warhol... hmmmm.
What dream do you still want to fulfil?
Having a sellout show in New York would be nice.
What are you reading?
I’ve been on the move non-stop for the past few months so I haven’t had time to scratch my bum let alone pick up a book! Most recently I’ve enjoyed reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.