Several months ago Australian Indigenous art specialists Muk Muk Fine Art were approached by the promoters of American rock band Blink-182 to commission a local up-and-coming Australian artist to paint the band’s mascot, a 1.5ft tall white vinyl bunny. The painted bunny is being used by Blink-182 as part of a competition to promote their upcoming Australian tour.
The artist selected to paint the bunny was Utopia, Northern Territory painter Margaret Loy Pula, winner of the 2012 Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize. Loy Pula’s “Anatye Bunny” portrays the story of the native bush potato or “Anatye” as it is referred to by the Aboriginal people. It is an important food source for the Anmatyerre people of Central Australia.
“This painting is about my culture. That’s my father’s dreaming. This is from my father’s country, that country is called ‘Unjangola.’ That is north of Utopia, not too far but really desert country,” explains Margaret Loy Pula.
The “Anatye Bunny” was hidden somewhere in Central Australia by Blink-182 promoters who then gave clues as to the whereabouts of the bunny. To win the competition, fans had to guess where the bunny had been hidden. Shortly after the first clue was given, one lucky fan correctly identified the location of the bunny as the Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
Another bunny painted by Australian pop artist Johnny Romeo was used as part of a separate Blink-182 competition launched at the end of January. Rambunctious and irrepressibly energetic, Romeo’s “Skull Bunny” combines the grittiness and urgency of punk with the exuberant colour and playfulness of pop.
Instead of guessing the location of “Skull Bunny,” Sydneysiders were asked to actually locate the bunny using the clues provided. The prize for finding “Skull Bunny” was tickets to the Blink-182 Sydney concert.
Johnny Romeo is an Australian born painter whose work is critically acclaimed in its attempt to represent a visual type of poetic and rhythmic blending of word, symbol, and image. His work centres on pop culture, cultural homogenisation, the failures of blind consumerism, media saturation, celebrity fetish, and brand name heroes.