Current Issue #488

Joel van Moore’s Wonderwalls

Joel van Moore’s Wonderwalls

Wonderwalls will once again grace Port Adelaide’s streetscape with colourful and expressive murals and graffiti from talented street artists. The festival’s artistic director Joel van Moore tells us his artistic journey and what to expect over a dazzling three days in the Port.

Better known by his artist moniker Vans the Omega, Joel van Moore is artistic director of the Wonderwalls festival of graffiti and mural art in Port Adelaide. The festival will showcase the work of 20 brilliant street artists at multiple locations in Port Adelaide over three days this April. Van Moore tells us about his experience as one of Adelaide’s most prolific mural makers, what he hopes to achieve with Wonderwalls, and where he sees the festival going.

Where did you start with this kind of mural painting?

I spent 15 years nonstop painting. I travelled around the world to be around the best and learned first-hand under their wings. Travel is vital to large scale understanding. That applies to art and to life. Once you’re exposed to that level of talent, and scale of art, it lights a fire.

Art for me is about the people. It’s about the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet; I like to incorporate the people I’ve met into my art.


Why did you choose Port Adelaide for Wonderwalls?

Port Adelaide has these incredible buildings and feeling. Every corner you turn is something different. We just felt like the Port was at the tipping point of becoming something new. It makes a perfect canvas.

How do you select the participating artists?

I often look at a wall and I can already imagine what could be painted there. Like the style. I get like a vision for the space then I find an artist that I think will fit that space.


What’s your vision for the future of Wonderwalls?

We want it to be more than just large scale murals. We want it to be everything visual. A day-to-night festival incorporating projection, art, installations. I see it as being more of an all-over spectacle. We have brilliant talent here, especially in technology, which I think is underutilised. I want Wonderwalls to encompass more art fields. We need to do so much more exploration in this space. And with tying in that talent you tie in so many different types of people

How do you choose the subjects you paint? The Hilltop Hoods piece in Bowden, for example, was obviously done for their album launch.

Well, I actually went to school with the Hilltops [sic]. We all went to Blackwood High. We’d sit in detention together and I’d graffiti the desk and Suff [Suffer MC] would jot down raps. I think, I hope, it shows that some of the biggest talents come from being kicked out of class.

I always have to paint people I know. There’s a form of attraction there that isn’t necessarily to their physical attributes. It becomes an incredibly personal experience for both of us. I hadn’t really realised how much it could mean to a person but for plenty of people it draws out this innate sense of confidence that I never could’ve predicted. It draws different things out of people.


What do you see for the future of the arts scene in Adelaide?

I want to elevate the entire standard of art and creativity in this city. I love travelling but what we have here is incredible. I want to see young people want to stay here because it’s brimming with opportunity, not just come back here when they want to start a family.

I find the younger generations want it all to come quickly but I think there’s a necessity and a beauty in patience and it creates determination to push through. I want to show them that there are ways to do what you want to do, to reach more people. You have to set yourself up properly.

You see those people that are making it? It doesn’t come easy. They’re pushing themselves. You need to focus on the love. Be one eyed in your approach.

April 21 – 23
Port Adelaide
Free entry

This article is proudly brought to you thanks to a partnership between Renewal SA and The Adelaide Review

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