Over the past couple of years, Russell “MOW” Murchie has created a name for himself by producing chopper and Kustom Kulture art. Every piece really draws you in, due to Russell’s impeccable attention to detail, subject matter, and psychedelic colors that transport you back to the 70’s. Russell was recently commissioned by Biltwell Inc. to create a shirt design for the upcoming El Diablo Run, and boy did he deliver! The same goes for his designs for the Dirty Love Show In Australia, so you can see that Russell is known worldwide. Notoriety typically brings on a superior attitude, but when you speak to Russell he is far from conceited; he's just a humble dude that enjoys drawing. I recently had the chance to talk to Russell about life, and this is the result of our conversation. Enjoy.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I live on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, I spent nearly a decade working in video games after dropping out of a university degree in commercial photography, tried being a rock star, worked a corporate job and gave up riding for a while. Neither is conducive to a good mental health plan. I’m a child of the 70’s and am pretty much happy to stay there.
How did you get the nickname MOW and what does it mean? I once got this random junk mail from Singapore addressed to Mr. Lussle Mowchai, my name in a bad Asian accent. Mow, Mr.Mow, Mowchai… all good!
How has art always played a role in your life? I have a terrible memory, but people assure me I drew a lot as a kid.
When did you decide to leave your nine to five and commit to all things art? It's been a long path to get to that point, but I stepped away from my tattoo apprenticeship earlier this year, I showed some work at the 2017 Moon Xmas party and was received warmly by so many people who also supported what I was doing, that I realized it was what made me happiest, and you gotta be happy.
Do you miss your old day job? Tattooing, yeah that was fun.. corporate? Hell no.
Have you created any artwork for brands? I did a majority of the art for Australian Custom bike show and blog Throttle Roll for a while there. Most of the brands I’ve worked with have been the independent builders, even if its a single guy working out of his garage. It’s a good feeling to be able to create quality work for them to help them become recognizable.
What type of motorcycle do you currently own? A fairly stock Dyna Wideglide is my daily ride; I also have a 1979 hardtail Sporty which hopefully will be rideable by the time this interview goes up; I had the tank painted by Joel Meyer-England and had the great pleasure after meeting him at Chopperfest.
If you could choose one stretch of road to ride upon which would it be and why? All of the romantic American chopper roads you see edited together in films, never-ending and desolate, the Arizona and New Mexico deserts, the two lanes through some midwestern forest, the California beachfront roads.
Everyone that attended the Chopper Festival and Born-Free was lucky enough to see your work up close and personal. How did it feel to come to the States to show your art? Yeah really great, everyone has been incredibly accepting and enthusiastic, I have freaked that so many people came up to, and knew, me. But it was nice to talk with the folk checking out my art and talking them through it, there are lots of small details and subtle things you can't see on a 2000px image in Instagram, I'm sure my enthusiasm scared people away.
Who inspires you at the moment? Pretty much any of the counterculture artists of the 50’s-70’s, especially the psychedelic scenes. But there's just so many good peeps out there doing so much cool work, how can you not just be grabbing and filing away ideas from so many artists, painters, photographers, not to mention the archives of photographs from the bike scenes of the 60’s that are all becoming accessible. As much as a significant amount of social media is crap, its sometimes an excellent source of seeing what obscure guys are up to and on a global scale.
How do you feel when you see people getting tattoos using your artwork as the reference? Yeah there's been 2 I know of so far, the first was a (now) good friend in LA who had my sausage chopper tattooed on his leg, the other popped up on my feed one time, dunno where it is. It is relatively strange for me to see, it makes it so damn real.
Are you currently working on anything that you’d like to tell our readers about? Pretty chuffed to be doing the artwork for Dirty Love (Australia chopper show) and just balancing my time between small commissions and jamming more ‘fuckit’ stuff out.
What do you consider a perfect day? Pretty much every day I'm waking up, drawing bikes and whatever grabs me, having the freedom to say fuckit and jump on my bike to go hang out and clear my head.. I’d say I'm pretty damn close to that on a daily basis`.
Would you like to thank anyone? B, she’s fantastic, my family. So many good art guys I've met who have been super supportive like Nik of Fartco, J.Cruz, Donny Conrad, The Nash & Cynar, Anna Marco. It's a ridiculous list of good folk who have spent their time helping me through all of this!
How can our readers see more of your work? I’m mainly on Instagram under russell.murchie, I'm never sure what people want to see, so if people want to look at something specific, let me know. I sell prints and merch at mrmow.bigcartel.com.
I would like to thank Russell for his time and help with this feature!
PS - If you've made it this far you should just treat yourself to a print or two :)