The street art scene is very much alive in Australia with Fintan Magee taking the reigns and putting his distinctive and nostalgic pieces all over his native home. Fintan taps into memory and loss with many of his pieces and with his drive to create bigger and bolder art, Fintan has emerged as a leading player in the

Australian street
art scene. This is his story…


 Where in Australia are you from and how has where you lived influenced the way you create?

I grew up in Brisbane, Queensland.  It is Australia’s 3rd largest city but it is also probably the most conservative.  That being said Brisbane has a long and proud Graffiti culture and it was an OK place to start out as a graffiti writer because Brisbane cats have to work extra hard to get recognized, mainly because the buff is crazy here and the police are putting in a lot of work to stop graffiti.  When I started to move away from traditional graffiti I guess that work ethic carried over for me, I am always pushing hard to get as much work done as possible, especially when I travel.


Children make an appearance in your art, usually dressed up as super heroes. What is the story behind this and were you one of those children who wished to be a super hero?

I was always into batman as a child I don’t know why batman in particular but it seems everyone had a superhero that they related to as a kid. I like to create work that engages a broad audience and that is the beauty of creating work on the street. Since my work often deals with loss and memory, it’s important to do some nostalgia pieces.


What is it about brown boxes that you enjoy to use in your art?

I don’t know. That came out of a series of rubbish pieces that I did. About a year ago some friends and I were painting a wall one day in Brisbane when we were approached and harassed by a concerned citizen. When he realized we had permission to paint there he told us that the wall looked rubbish and stormed off. I thought it would be funny if we included some rubbish bags in the painting just to annoy him. From that I started to paint more discarded items I found on the street; old boxes, wrappers, broken toys, etc.


Living in Australia, do you feel the street art scene is different there compared to other places? 

Yes and no. Australia is a really isolated country and that can lead to a lack of strong influences but also some really original work which is what has happened with Australian art in the past.  In the current age, we are in the internet which has changed everything and we can draw influence from anywhere really. Street art and graffiti here is beginning to resemble Europe and America more and more.  Australian culture will always have its own flavor but it has been watered down a little in recent years. That being said I have drawn a huge amount of influence off the internet.


Toys, children, balloons, and bears have been great staples in your art. What can you tell us about this child-like imagery and do you pull scenes from your own childhood into your work?

Yeah I guess it all relates back to the superhero pieces. A lot of it is based around the themes of disposability in modern society, loss of identity over time etc.  A lot of the work I am exploring at the moment relates to child homelessness. I guess different themes weave in and out of my work at different times.

Have you ever been to Los Angeles and created a piece while here? If not, do you hope to and what would you create?

I spent a couple of days in LA years ago but didn’t paint anything, I am hoping to come over later this year and I will definitely be painting when I get there.


What are you currently working on?

I started a new painting this week and I am finishing a wall in west end today. I also have some design work happening at the moment.


There seems to be more of an acceptance of street art in the mainstream culture. Since street art was very underground when it first started, do you feel that this acceptance helps or hurts the street art scene? 

For the most part I definitely think that it’s a good thing. When I started writing graffiti I was broke so I eventually embraced criminal elements to substitute my income. These days it’s possible for us to make a living off of our art alone and this has pushed many street artists out of the shadows and given us the funding to create bigger, bolder and more impressive works.


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