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Getting Familiar With DOCG

The Melbourne mixed media artist on the struggles of a young creative, the city that inspires him, and why Bugs Bunny is his hero.

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DOCG is a multi-disciplinary artist from Melbourne. The 21-year-old dabbles in different mediums, jumping between photography, design, illustration, styling, and video. DOCG has done a lot for his age. He’s worked extensively throughout Melbourne, collaborated with musicians like 3K, local brands like Judah, and big name brands such as Nike and Puma. DOCG’s work has even been exhibited in Tokyo alongside a selection of Melbourne artists curated by him. We caught up with DOCG as he was gearing up for his first solo exhibition, ‘1800-C@ll-DOCG’, to talk about his practice, why Melbourne is on the boil, and his hero, Bugs Bunny.

Tell us how you got started in your practice—which medium came first for you and who were your early influences?
Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes crew are my heroes! They inspired me to start illustrating and also to start annoying people.

Melbourne seems to be one of Australia’s most creative cities, why do you think that is and who are some of local creatives that inspire you?
Melbourne’s smoking crack! We are such a young city that’s undefined in comparison to the rest of the world, so I think that the creative people in this city who are working right now are outlining the future of our city and how it will be perceived by the rest of the world. That’s individuals like Kaiit, and my brother at JUDAH. Creativity takes courage and courage is what’s going to impact tomorrow.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your creative pursuits so far?
“Exposure.” Corporate types often misunderstand the work’s worth, often suggesting exposure will be a sufficient exchange of goods and services. I find it insulting and demeaning, especially when young creatives are trying to create a sustainable lifestyle through their work. It’s important that creatives value their work and vision.

Your first solo show is coming up, what can we expect to see and how was the process of putting it all together?
Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” This exhibition is me trying to recreate the feelings I experienced growing up, showcasing my style and the different mediums I explore through an atmosphere of sentimentality. This project has been nine  months in the making so I had a lot of time getting things in order.

Expect a short film premiere, [a] Reebok campaign, installations, lollies, canvases, and a DOCG collection. I found myself consciously switching hats in order to keep this project on path, as photographer, designer, artist, and curator, weaving through the timeline with intent. I had the idea in my head and the only way to visualise it was to create it.

It’s a solo show, but it also features collaborations. I’m trying to present that DOCG is a collaborative entity. Hence the slogan ‘1800-C@LL-DOCG’, which serves as a call out for people to seek my creative perspective and conceptual curation for their projects. Big shout out to my contributing team members—Georgia Haynes, Isaiah Morris, Hansika, Earf, and Joshua Space—for all the hard work they have put in. It was amazing and beautiful being able to collaborate with these gifted creatives, I have so much love and respect for these individuals and their craft.

Your practices include design, illustration, styling, photography, and more. Why is it important for you to try your hand at so many different mediums?
Knowledge and experience. It helps me understand the different processes, and know when to apply them in the future. I always have a few projects in the works, that way I’m always in the process of creating. It’s become my vice!

What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
I curated my first group show in Japan last year, Love Your Neighbour. Some of my favourite artists were in that show including Aki Yaguchi, Isaiah Morris, Adrian Jung, NOAH, Ja Dez, Wilhelm Phillip, Michael Danischewski, Doug Bennett, Digable Goods, and Third Culture’s Jean-Paul McAllan. I’m super proud of the creatives around me and the city we represent. Being able to exhibit my friends and my own work internationally was unreal.

Who are some dream collaborations for you?
Pixar, Stan Lee, and Bugs Bunny!

What does the rest of 2019 hold for you?
I’m planning on taking this show interstate over the next few months and to Osaka at the end of the year!

Follow DOCG for more and head here to find out more about his solo exhibition at Spacebound this Friday.  

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