Artist, musician and all-round character, Reg Mombassa, shared stories from his colourful life and career last night at a Design Excellence Forum with ABC broadcaster James Valentine at Sydney Town Hall.
Mombassa is known around the world for his daring designs for clothing label Mambo and his music with Australian pop-rock band, Mental as Anything. More recently, he established the band Dog Trumpet with his brother Peter O’Doherty and they’ve just released their sixth album, Medicated Spirits.
The 61-year-old, whose real name is Chris O’Doherty, has been working with the City of Sydney since June in his role as Creative Ambassador for 2013 Sydney New Year’s Eve. He created a raft of colourful artworks featuring the NYE motif, the ‘all-seeing eye’.
Last night at Lower Town Hall, Mombassa talked about working with Mambo (“it was great because you could do whatever you wanted”), his passions (“I love trees, but I’m more of a telegraph-pole hugger”), how he believed Robert Crumb was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, and naturally, his art.
He discussed how his unique sense of humour, which had become his trademark around the globe, could also be a drawback.
“Humour can tend to work against you, because it’s often dismissed as not clever or credible,” Mombassa said.
“But humour is like religion, it’s a spiritual thing, because it makes you deal with unpleasant things.”
And does Mombassa have any regrets, one audience member asked.
“My only regret is that I’m not regarded as a global genius yet,” he said.
To learn more about Mombassa’s work on 2013 Sydney New Year’s Eve, visit the official website: sydneynewyearseve.com
Dog Trumpet will be playing songs from their newly released sixth album, Medicated Spirits, at the Studio at the Sydney Opera House on Friday 22 November. For more information, visit sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/dog_trumpet.aspx