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Creative Clout: Chelsea Agno

Josephine Walsh

FORGET THE ALLEYWAYS OF MELBOURNE OR THE INNER NOOKS OF SYDNEY –  CANBERRA IS A CITY EXPLODING WITH ART IN EVERY CORNER.

Gone are the days when you could make the honest mistake of believing that our art scene could only be found in a white-washed gallery with a cover charge.

Our streets are thrumming with immersive, experimental performance, city walls and buildings awash with graffiti, murals and paste-ups, and much to the envy of other major cities, our festival scene is stronger than ever before.

For Magazine: Break The Mould, we profiled six creative women who are sending an electric current through the cultural landscape, and challenging the perception of what it means to be a Canberra artist.

CHELSEA AGNO

Mr. Manok

Mr. Manok

If you love cartoons, junk food and have a keen eye for lowbrow art, you’d probably find a lot to talk about with Chelsea Agno.

“I like to draw and create, I watch too many cartoons and my junk food intake isn’t as high as it should be,” Chelsea says cheekily.

Going by the moniker of Mr Manok, Chelsea is a self described donut-taker, sticker maker and pro daydreamer.

“Most people view the term ‘art’ as something that only applies to certain styles, the term usually doesn’t venture beyond art galleries,” says Chelsea.

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“I guess my work breaks the mould of what art is and challenges perceptions because it isn’t considered to be conventional art. It’s super cartoon influenced and can be a little crude sometimes.”

Chelsea discovered her artistic spark as a child, watching her mother drawing. She has strong memories of sitting with her sister and being allowed to colour in her mum’s intricate portraits.

“I remember one time I attempted to colour one of her sketches
with ballpoint pen – I absolutely ruined it and felt guilty for about a week,” she says.

Chelsea Agno

Mr. Manok

Seeing the work of American lowbrow artist Jeremyville, and the hectic style of graffiti crew, 123KLAN, made her want to pursue illustration and graphic design.

“I realised all the opportunities and benefits that arise from a creative career,” says Chelsea. You can read Chelsea’s bold and cheeky works however you like.

“I want [people] to experience what they want. I don’t take myself too seriously and there are rarely any deep meanings behind the things that I create,” she says.

“If they hate it or love it or it makes them feel numb inside – feelings of any kind are fun and exciting.”

Chelsea Agno

THREE THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT CHELSEA AGNO

The weirdest, strangest, most unexpected experience that inspired me was “Watching Yo Gabba Gabba for the first time. I’m still a fan, but I wish they had more merch.”

Something I’ve done that I never thought I’d do “I got to design a poster for (American hip-hop artist) J.Cole’s Forest Hills Drive Tour! Adobe Students and Dreamville ran a design competition in 2015 and chose the top 10 designers to create a tour poster. I was chosen to create a poster for Rochester, NY.

It was such an honour to design something for J.Cole as I’ve been a fan for a long time. This happened around the time that Forest Hills Drive dropped so I was listening to his album whilst designing his tour poster. Good times.”

If I could go back in time five years and tell my younger self one thing about my future, I’d say “Everything gets better after high school.”

All photography by Martin Ollman

You can read this article in full and more in our latest edition of Magazine: Break The Mould. Available for free while stocks last. Click here to find your closest stockist. 

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Josephine Walsh

Jose Walsh loves A-line skirts, the arts, and all types of pasta. She moved to Canberra in 2011 to study at ANU, and follow her dream of working in a museum. With an education background, she's currently harnessing her love of connecting people in a social media and PR role in a national institution. She loves great film, rambling about her succulents, and finding the perfect spot to share with her favourite people. More about the Author

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