There is nothing like a beaut pair of boardies to instantly get you in the summer mood. Someone who not only embodies happy, summery vibes but spreads those good feels via his work is Elliott Routledge (a.k.a. Elliott Numskull), the awesome Aussie artist behind Funskull. You might have seen with his wow-worthy large scale public murals and installations embracing his distinct bold, bright street art style, dotted around the country.
With a love of colour, contrast and the abstract, we jumped at the chance to collaborate with Elliott on an exclusive range of board shorts for men and kids that we predict will be over the beaches across Australia this summer. The collection includes limited edition prints, as well as mini me designs, so father and son/daughter (or grandpa and grandson/daughter or big brother and little brother/sister, you get the gist!) can twin while they swim. We caught up the contemporary artist on what inspires his aesthetic and what it was like involve his five-year-old son, Hunter, in the campaign.
Have you always wanted to be an artist? If so, why?
I always wanted to make art, but never thought I could be an artist. Making art has always been a part of my life/family so I just thought it was a fun thing to do on the side. I tried working other careers but I slowly but surely realised working in the arts was the one thing I was really passionate about and have never looked back.
How did you first get into art? Did you study it?
My childhood home was a creative haven for myself, my two brothers and anyone else that stayed there, so it’s really that environment that led me down the creative path. I have no formal education in the arts. I didn’t do well in the schooling system, so instead of uni I just went travelling, worked various jobs and learnt the skills I was passionate about on the fly. I’ve always been surrounded by cultures like graffiti, street art and skateboarding which have instilled the DIY mentality in my life.
How would you describe your work, do you have any particular influences?
At the present, my work is at the point of pure abstraction. Over the years, I’ve experimented with many different forms and mediums, however right now it seems like i’m comfortable with it being abstract and maybe a little expressive. Always bold and fun. My influences come in many different forms. I definitely have other artists I look up to for many reasons, but generally influence comes from anything and everything. I can’t predict how it comes.
How did you get into creating public murals?
This all stems from my teens. My brothers are both creative and into art. I painted a lot with my middle brother Marty and we experimented a lot in painting walls. We spent a lot of time at skateparks which always had graffiti productions on or around them. This just evolved to finding bigger and bigger walls and spaces, to where it is now!
Talk us through your creative process.
I spend a lot of time in my studio experimenting with various things. Although my work might at times look quite simple, there’s been a long process behind it. Colours and form play a big role, and finding and using symbolism to convey a message is also a big part.
What’s it been like to create a range of boardies with Bonds?
I’m used to painting buildings or flat canvases, so it was a challenge to create something that would work on a multi-dimensional canvas. A canvas that moves, folds, gets wet, amongst many other functions. Working with the Bonds team was great. They helped me understand more about how an artwork can work best to the board short template. I’m super happy with the outcome and can’t wait for people to see them, and wear them!
What inspired the prints for the range?
I created the prints to all have their own character, but all together in a range to sit together harmoniously. They are all designed to be fun and bold, but ultimately wearable by anyone and everyone. Something you can wear at the beach, but also in other environments.
Where is your favourite summer location and why?
Freshwater Beach! I spend a lot of time there with my kids and my wife Billie. There’s something about that spot that gets me. Chilled park and grassy areas overlooking the beach, nice cafes, good waves, close to home. It’s got everything going for it.
What was it like to shoot the campaign with your son?
We had the best day! It’s always been high on my list to try and involve my kids in my art projects, so when the opportunity to do this came up I was so excited to tell Hunter. Admittedly I was a little scared for him, having so many people and cameras around, but he was so amazing and loved every minute of it. Not shy of the camera, that’s for sure.
What does a typical day look like for you?
As I write this I’m travelling up to Queensland to paint a large exterior mural. So, today involves lots of moving around, sourcing paint and materials, then sketching out my artwork onto a building. Yesterday I had breakfast with the family then spent the day at the studio finishing some commission paintings and sculptures, checked on my emails and a catch-up with my partner Billie on the projects we have going on. End of the day is usually checking my veggie patch, trampoline time with the kids before dinner. Sometimes I wish for more routine and a strict daily process, but the nature of what I do means every day is different.