27 January 2023

Meet the Canberra street artist who's turned his hobby into a lifestyle

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Eddie Mowat in front of graffiti wall

Eddie Mowat doesn’t know what he’d do without art. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Edward Mowat, aka Eddie, turned his hobby into a career in 2019 when he decided to pursue his passion for street art full-time.

He discovered his love when he was 13, fostered by a passion for photography in high school.

Most known for his murals scattered around Canberra, which include tribute pieces, cultural art and colourful depictions for the community, the 36-year-old street artist said his artwork is very versatile.

“I am very passionate about accessible and public art that can be enjoyed by everyone and that inspires people to get in touch with their own creativity,” Eddie said.

“I love seeing a piece develop in situ. It’s almost as if the art comes to life in front of me, and then I step back and think, ‘I created that’.

“It’s very fulfilling. I like to create positive and uplifting work that brings people joy and paint everything from traditional graffiti to typography, portraits, landscapes, abstract and pattern work.

“I also enjoy bringing clients’ ideas to life as people come to me with a concept and are thrilled when I make it a reality.”

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Twenty-three years later, Eddie is still bringing ideas to life, with many noteworthy pieces located throughout Canberra and its surrounds, as well as Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen.

“My favourite piece would be my mural I painted for a famous alternate bar Vrankrijk in Amsterdam,” Eddie said.

“Vrankrijk is a community establishment that supports the poor and hard done by, providing co-op kitchens, accommodation and affordable entertainment, and there is a long history of community art in the area, which makes me feel so proud to have my work displayed there.

“Other noteworthy pieces I’ve created include painting the iconic Mandalay bus in Braddon, painting various murals for Cobra Fitness Gym in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain and paintings in the palace gardens of French sculptor Jean-Marc De Pas.”

The Young-born street artist said although art was a strong passion of his, when it comes to why he creates, he struggled to bring it down to just one reason.

“Blank walls just feel soul-less to me and I love how through creating street art, I can bring so much atmosphere to a space,” Eddie said.

“The trendy term is ‘space activation’, but I really believe that great art in a public space can radically change the way the space is used.

“The ACT Government has also shown considerable support for street art and artists, which has made me feel really supported and motivated to do so too.”

Eddie said although the transition from hobby to lifestyle wasn’t easy, but he felt honoured for all of his accomplishments and opportunities he’s been presented with.

“It had its ups and downs. The biggest change was going from having a steady income to sporadic payment for my art,” he said.

“I guess I am more motivated by my passion for art rather than any drive to make money.

“It is a lifestyle choice and I’d rather be doing what I love. I can’t imagine what I would do without it.”

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After collaborating with many local, national and international artists, Eddie said he looked forward to some exciting projects he had lined up.

“I am currently talking to the Old Canberra Inn about a mural and I’m really looking forward to creating something for them,” he said.

“I am also developing my own line of merch and trying to gain more of an online presence.

“The most exciting thing is my upcoming tour of Europe with another stint in the beautiful and amazing city of Amsterdam.”

Eddie said he hopes to inspire others to explore their creative abilities.

“Whether through paint, clay, metal or even music, I encourage people to pursue anything they’re interested in that enriches their life.

Sometimes, most people are scared of their creativity and feel they can’t draw or create art. My advice is – start! Just do it, and don’t be too hard on yourself,” he said.

“Persistence is the key, and even though it is easy to procrastinate, pick up that tool and start making your mark.”

To keep up with Eddie’s latest projects, visit his Instagram.

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