Australia is an odd little island.
Living here, it’s easy to forget how bizarre some of our biggest icons, and longest traditions, really are.
We plonk ginormous statues of bananas and merinos in country towns. We call our best mates cunts, and our worst enemies ‘mate’. We celebrate our sporting heroes disproportionately, and lambaste our politicians to similar degrees, regardless of policy.
The most definitive proof of our madcap culture? Shoeys.
The one thing we for sure have going for us, though, is our ability to laugh at ourselves.
Campbell Walker, aka Struthless, is one artist tackling our cultural cringe, one sidesplittingly on-point piece of work at a time.
The 26-year-old Sydney native has been drawing piss-takes that make him laugh and uploading them to his insanely colourful Instagram for the past year.
In that short time, he’s amassed over 8,000 followers, been featured on Australia’s premier meme site, Brown Cardigan, and has released lines of apparel and accessories that’ve sold out in mere minutes.
Most recently, he created a big, beautiful mural for the PEDESTRIAN.TV‘s Melbourne digs, and we sat down with him afterwards to pick his brains like rabid bin chickens.
“I’ve never been to art school and I don’t think of myself in [other artists] league,” he tells PTV.“I drew a lot of comics as a kid. Always funny things. Humour and drawings I think I’ve always seen as better together.”
Struthless explains that his creative process is aided by communicating directly with fans online.
“I guess I just want to draw things that make me laugh, which sounds a bit simple when I say it. I don’t know how to write about craft honing without sounding self indulgent, but I noticed I get influenced by online feedback a lot. Like the more people like a certain thing, the more I tend to draw it.”“[Having an interactive following] massively helps. This is the best element in my opinion – I’ve never really had access to an audience before so I’m really enjoying playing with it. There’s a lot of ideas and suggestions which are all heaps of fun and a massive trip to me. Just the other day I did a thing where I asked people to vote on what tattoo a guy should get, and he got it. That was neat.”
How did you come up with the name ‘Struthless’?
“Struthless… I guess just mashing words, which I do a lot (in the same way people might whistle when they’re bored). To be honest, the name came before the idea to draw or make bumbags. I liked it so much I felt I owed it a “thing”. I didn’t know what the thing would be at the time.”“Also the 69 is only there coz “Struthless” is taken by some dude on private with 25 posts and 1 follower. Plus I’m a 12 year old boy at heart.”
Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
“Heaps of stuff… Terrible phases I’ve been through, people I’ve met, former coworkers, suburban shopping centres, wordplay, patronising ads, kitschy stuff, my dad, Australiana, share houses, growing up, pop culture, and maybe the occasional feeling about the state of the world and our country.”
A lot of your pieces sort of take the piss out of Australia’s cringe culture. Do you have strong feelings about our country’s current state?
“Wow – massive question. Short answer, yes. Long answer, there’s a lot of ways to break it down.”“Our country’s current cultural state is kinda funny because our staunch Australian identity is being merged with the new international cultural created by the internet. Like, we kinda shun people who are different but the internet makes them heroes. That’s a huge cultural conflict for Australians, and you see a lot people trying to figure out where they sit on that spectrum. There’s something really relatable about watching people figuring out who they are in public – particularly when they miss the mark. It feels equalising, like we’re united by how confused we all are and what to do with our lives. I like drawing that conflict a lot.”
What’s next on Struthless’ agenda? Who knows. You’ll have to follow him to find out.
Photo: @struthless69 / Instagram.