Profile: Joel Van Moore (Vans the Omega)

You might have already noticed his work on the streets of Adelaide or even adorning the walls of restaurants like Melt CBD and Hyde Park but SALA this year was the first time Adelaideans were treated to Joel Van Moore’s work on the gallery walls with his first solo exhibition Plutonic Relationships at Abeo Design. Moore says: “I was always so focused on travel and doing stuff on walls. I hadn’t locked myself down to an exhibition in Adelaide. I had an idea of a body of work that was stuck in my head for years. So I put my foot down and got it done.” 

The exhibition showed an extension of Moore’s work, he explains: “I’m not trying to put graffiti into a gallery. Even though I am well known for doing that stuff I like the graffiti to stay on the walls. I still like running around and doing what I can where I can.” Like many graffiti artists, Moore works across several disciplines: “Pretty well it’s a mash between illustration, a little bit of designing, painting walls and fine art. Sometimes it’s more heavily balanced to the street stuff then it swings to illustration and then maybe back to fine art.”

Moore has made a name for himself as a graffiti/street artist in Australia and internationally resulting in a constant string of commissions and work, which has allowed him to travel the world. “I’m pretty obsessed with travelling, it keeps a constant flow of new ideas. If I can be in a different environment I can have fresh ideas from the architecture and surroundings and the cultural differences really give me a lot of ideas.”

The growth in the graffiti and street art industry has meant more commissions with corporates and brands wanting to associate themselves with the edginess of it and councils recognising the need for it in our cities. This has allowed Moore a chance to hone his skill. It’s a skill that is evident in the body of work he exhibited at SALA as well as his larger scale works. He summarises his practice: “More or less everything I am doing is a study of form, function, colour and nature.” 

You get the sense that Moore doesn’t like to sit still for long, “Movement is so important to me. I grew up dancing and being around dancing. My mum was a dance teacher and I didn’t go to crèche I would just dance next to mum while she was teaching.”

It’s this movement and freedom that often makes it difficult for street artists to make the transition into studio artists but Moore says of his solo show, “It worked out really well, it was really well received. With the abstract stuff people really absorbed it and got what it was about.” Even so it could never be a full shift as he explains: “It’s definitely a hard thing to get my head around. If you give me the chance to go out on a wall I’ll do it bigger and better. Two stories, three stories, four stories, the bigger the better.”

You can catch a glimpse of Moore’s work in the Halloween Show at These Walls Don’t Lie, which continues until Sunday, November 11. He is also part of Ground Release, a worldwide graffiti collective who will be working on projects until 2017 with a six-storey building in Melbourne planned for December.

Image: 1. Joel Van Moore, Plutonicnude (detail)
2. OMEGAMIAMI (detail)
3. OMEGASF (detail)



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