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5 Minutes with… Market mural artist Jay MT

Wednesday 19th February 2020

If you’ve wandered through Bracher Arcade recently, then you’ve probably noticed the vibrant splash of colour of our new Market mural painted opposite Kevin’s & Prahran Seafoods.

In awe of the incredible artwork, we caught up with talented painter, Jay MT to find out more about her career as an artist and what inspired the design of our amazing Market mural.

1. How long have you been painting for?

Ever since I can remember I have been painting or drawing, so when I was around two or three years old. I’ve never really attended art classes, as I think when it comes to creativity there is no right or wrong and everyone has such a different approach. I preferred to figure out for myself what style and techniques suited me at the time. However, there is always so much more to learn, and the best way to do so is to keep on practicing and surrounding yourself with other inspiring creatives.

2. What made you want to be an artist?

For me, it has always been clear that I wanted to work in the art field, however, it was more about finding a purpose behind it. I was lucky that as a teenager I got offered a job as an illustrator for a renowned book publisher. I loved my work, especially the story-telling side to the artwork, yet something was missing. From there I went into animation, so to speak in the entertainment industry, as any art form I assume is supposed to evoke some kind of emotion (the reason why people enjoy to consume it). Animation film was a lot of fun, yet even in 2D animation work is very much computer-based, whereas I like the original and tangible side to art.

A trip to Central America really had a big impact on my artistic practise. There are many areas facing challenges such as poverty and crime, and I visited some towns that were covered in colourful murals. The effect they had is indescribable, they created an atmosphere of safety and wellbeing; there was something really magical about them. So I think the purpose of art acts a lot on a subconscious level even if we don’t actively pay attention to it, and it can raise living quality and even safety a lot. For that reason, I try to keep the designs of my paintings colourful and uplifting.     

3.  Tell us about your favourite artwork that you’ve painted so far.

There are actually a couple of artworks, but one of my favourites was part of a team project lead by a very dear talented friend. The painting was of a giant lobster on an almost 100m² wall. I love patterns and texture, and when you have only a small reference picture it is always a nice challenge when transferring this onto a wall of that size. I find paintings turn out the best when I can just zone out, switch off all thoughts, maybe put on some music and be in my element with the painting process, then everything happens really naturally; it’s almost like watching your hands do all the work. I also love working in a team with likeminded artists and am very happy that mural art allows this.

4. What object/person/animal do you love painting most and why?

As mentioned before I love texture and patterns as well as organic shapes, so I enjoy painting anything that includes this. However, I must say I do like some form of life or vibrancy in my paintings rather than simply a nature scenery or still life. So there will always be some kind of person, animal or creature in my paintings if I can include it.

5. What advice can you give to budding artists?

The biggest advice to fellow artists is probably to listen to yourself, and by that I mean the encouraging voice which comes from that natural inner creative drive. This means believe in yourself and then just do it, because progress comes with practice. There will always be people with demotivating comments, rejections or who try to give limiting instructions on how art should be done. It is important not to let that in, and let it come naturally, explore, be persistent and have fun with it, and most of all find a purpose for why you are doing what you are doing. Sometimes it can positively impact others in ways we wouldn’t even imagine.

6. What inspired you to create the Prahran Market mural?

For the Prahran Market mural I wanted to capture an atmosphere of vibrancy, fun and diversity, a place where you can explore and find something for everyone. Of course, there is much more which could have been included, as the Market offers this wonderful richness. Yet I think the painting conveys that Prahran Market is a place for people of all ages, where you can spend a day out, have a good time and find everything you need. I’ve also tried to mix traditional elements such as the Market truck with bright and colourful compounds, representing experience and quality in a fresh and modern way. 

For more information about Jay and to see her past works, go to https://www.jaymt.com/.

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