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BRIGHT SPARKS Issue Dos – Andy Murphy Interview

By stephen
April 21, 2022

BRIGHT SPARKS is a series where we shoot the shit with our creative friends who keep us creatively inspired. Issue Dos buddy is Andy Murphy. 

Andy is an illustrative artist who works from his studio in coastal Victoria, Australia. He’s also a long-term collaborator with ambience, from starting out doing our Say Watt ‘zines, to murals, to designing our van to even doing a few tatt designs for the team.

Andy mainly works in pen and ink but often delves into hand-painted signs, murals, sculpture, occasionally costume making, and even cake decorating. He has worked with various clients from beer brands to skate companies like Vans. Take it away SJ:

SJ: Righto, bet you’ve never been asked this before – how did you get into illustration?

ANDY: I was in Grade 1 at Drouin West, I won a drawing contest where I drew a picture of Asterix & Obelix. I won a yellow highlighter pen. Just one. But that was when that first came out – like it was “modern technology”. I was briefly interested in graffiti and my


dad would occasionally bring home a VHS player from his work and we’d rent videos to watch on it. One time, I bought Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, I’d then pause the screen on certain scenes and trace over some of the graffiti scenes with pencil and paper. I always used to do art for the fun of it. I did a few paintings in high school that was mostly just surrealistic nonsense.

SJ: When did you make the decision to make this your career?

ANDY: After I got out of school, I went into the printing industry where I spent a lot of time in. I started out in a photocopy shop. I did small bits of art here and there during my spare time, but I was more interested in skating and drinking at the time. Then I got a job at a printer at the classic skate spot ‘Tiles’ on St. Kilda Road. Every skateboarder was there every day, and I’d be working there, upstairs. I could see who was skating. I used to have to wear all these dorky suits. So, I’d usually sneak out the back door so no-one would see. So, I’d sneak home, change clothes, get my board and then skate back.

I got more and more into art; I ended up doing things like logos and drawing for records and backpatches.

SJ: Yeah, I saw a lot of band stuff early on that you did.

ANDY: Yeah, punk bands and hard-core bands and stuff, so I did a few logos. I think I did a record cover, and a backpatch for “Mindsnare.”. Concrete Skateparks asked me to draw logos for them, the first paid job I did.

“I’ve lately been working on my own personal illustrations, and even a children’s colouring book, and they’ll be even funnier if the parents get the context of them.”

Andy Murphy

SJ: How did you go about developing your style?

ANDY: I was inspired by other skate artists like Sean Cliver, Marc McKee, and Consolidated Skateboards. I got to spend the night at the Consolidated warehouse while in America, where they have every skateboard they’d ever printed, all over the walls of their offices and warehouse – it was like visiting the Sistine Chapel.

SJ: A very cool style. I can always tell when I see something somewhere “Aw, I betcha Andy did that.” What types of projects are on the boil now?

ANDY: I was recently doing side work for Den Holm, who does some super cool stuff, who I am sure you know. I do a lot of work for a WA brewery Cage Roads – beer labels, designed murals for their Fremantle location, skate graphics, T-shirt graphics, and tattoos for friends. I am picking up a lot of work through Instagram too.

SJ: Is there a dream job? (besides every ambience project of course).

ANDY: Kind of did one of them. Scratch-off skate graphic, based on a scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, with a brand called Triple Lindy.

SJ: On the cards for the future? 

ANDY: I’ve lately been working on my own personal illustrations, and even a children’s colouring book, containing pictures that each takes me quite a while to draw, and they’ll be even funnier if the parents get the context of them.

Fire Away Amigo

DINE? What I will say is living on the coast, I don’t eat as much fish & chips as you’d think. 

DRINK? I had a glass of champagne with the neighbours on NY, does that count? 

PLAY? Love getting in the ocean, tried to do a New Zealand-oriented dive called a “Manu” with legs spread out… and f*cked it up. I jump off the pier every morning. 

IDEA? My favourite place for a sunset is Spray Point in Blairgowrie.

SHOP? PLUG ALERT! My wife has a business called The Vallentine Project

Cheers Andy!  He’s been a long-term collaborator with ambience. The collab compliments an ethos here of not just working with like-minded talented pals but rad peeps. Follow Andy @salvadorgnarly and stay tuned for our next Bright Sparks interview.

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