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"Smiling Dog" (2003)

etching, ed. 18/20

9 x 8cm

signed lower right

*private collection, Sydney

Mombassa (aka Chris O'Doherty) is a famous NZ-born Australian Contemporary Artist & former guitarist of Mental As Anything. He enrolled at the National Art School in Darlinghurst in 1969 but left the following year. He returned again in 1975 & obtained his Diploma of Painting in 1977. Between & during his stints at college he supported himself with menial jobs such as builder's labouring, cleaning, house painting & working on the railways. In 1976 he formed the rock band Mental as Anything with four fellow art school students, ostensibly to play at school parties. Although they did not initially intend to be a serious band, the Mentals, as they became known, eventually turned professional. Mombassa's first public showing was in a group exhibition held at Watters Gallery in Sydney in 1975 while he was still attending art college. It was at this exhibition that Patrick White purchased some works and subsequently became a patron, purchasing many others over his life. He first exhibited solo at Watters in 1986, the year he also began designing clothing for Mambo, and regularly exhibited there until the gallery closed. Alongside posters, record covers and merchandise for Mental As Anything and Dog Trumpet, he has designed record covers for the likes of PIL, Crowded House, Mondo Rock and Paul Kelly. He has gifted artwork to many charitable & environmental organisations including Greenpeace & The Wilderness Society. Mombassa's artwork is in two distinctive styles. The type of artwork he designs for Mambo – almost cartoonish & in vivid colours, incorporating religious, political and popular culture themes – is probably the style he is most widely known for. However, his landscapes & portraits, many of which are inspired by his childhood in New Zealand, are equally sought after. His artworks can be found in the Art Gallery of NSW, the National Gallery of Australia & other important regional galleries. Patrick White, Elton John and Ewan McGregor have all famously purchased his work!

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