Joint 3rd Prize Winner of the Reimagined Living & Working Space Competition 2021, The Mullet by Matthew Evans, is a bold and brilliant piece that’s not at all shy to stand out from the crowd. Full of spirit and wit, the artist draws from various contexts and experiences to address the reality of the situation and interpret an optimistic and light-hearted response - one that instantly humours and uplifts the viewer.
Around the time that I heard about the competition, I recall hearing that the mullet was making a comeback. With this in mind, I read the brief and thought about the classic attributes of the hairstyle - 'Business at the front, party at the back’. I thought this would be a great concept for a home. Being from South Africa, I was inspired by the barbershop murals you see back home. I love the way the murals use characters and objects to sell a hairstyle as if it was a lifestyle choice. Using this as inspiration, I wanted my artwork to tell a story in an almost cheesy way, using 80's iconography to combine the barbershop mural with a pop-art nostalgia. The main character in my artwork is Arnold. Like most people, he had to sacrifice a lot during the pandemic and he had to slim down his operations in order for his business to survive. But he found a way, he converted his garage into an office and now runs the business out of his home. He even found a new hairstyle, one that is easy to maintain and makes him stand out from the crowd.
FAT Q&A WITH
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BACKGROUND?
Originally from South Africa, I moved to the UK in 2012 following the completion of my Masters' degree In Architecture. During my time here, I have worked in mostly the retail and hospitality design sectors. In September last year I was made redundant and I have been working freelance ever since. It's not all gloom and doom as I have recently been offered a lead design role with a hospitality brand and I start my new job In May.
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR ARTWORK?
The mullet. Business at the front, party at the back - It's the perfect haircut for times like these.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR PROCESS AND APPROACH TO RESPONDING TO THE COMPETITION THEME & PERHAPS YOUR FAVOURITE ASPECT?
When I started thinking about a concept, I was mindful that the design should be in poster format. From the beginning, I wanted to create an artwork that was light-hearted and uplifting. I didn't want to go too far down the road of creating an amazingly designed space but rather a bit of light humour for the viewer. A lot of my artwork is satirical and sarcastic as I think these are two attributes that sum up my personality.
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE COMPETITION & HOW DOES IT FEEL BEING AWARDED?
As I was not working, I had a lot of free time on my hands. I scoured the Internet for Architecture competitions to bolster my portfolio and keep me busy. I was attracted to enter this competition as I enjoy painting and drawing in my spare time. When I found out I made the shortlist, I was over the moon and when I saw the other entries, I was convinced my entry would not go any further, so I am thrilled to be one of the winners.
WHAT DO YOU PARTICULARLY LOVE ABOUT ARCHITECTURE AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE PROFESSION?
I love the problem-solving element of design and creating solutions that are technically resolved, sustainable and responsive to the users needs. My first attraction to the profession was probably when I was 10 years old. My mom designed her own home and I remember sitting in meetings with the architect and peering over the floor plans with amazement.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE ARCHITECT/DESIGNER OR ARTIST WHOSE WORK INSPIRES YOU?
Glenn Murcutt - I love design which considers the site as the most important factor to design around.
Jean-Michel Basquiat - He was a genius and left this earth too soon.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN PERSONAL ARTISTIC/DESIGN STYLE?
Satirical, political, and not safe for work.
Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, Victoria Whenray of Conran + Partners, Jas Bhalla of Jas Bhalla Architects, Ross Hutchinson of Hutchinson & Partners, Marcos Rosello of aLL Design & Roger Ashman of Ashman Architects
Architects Journal Competition Call: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/competitions/reimagined-living-and-working-space
Architects Journal Shortlisted Entries: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/architects-art-shortlisted-in-contest-to-rethink-live-work-spaces