Introducing: Filthy Ratbag
Celeste Mountjoy, aka Filthy Ratbag, is not your average seventeen-year-old. The highly opinionated Melbourne-based visual artist creates illustrations infused with dark, dry humour that poke fun at the world in a manner that reflects a maturity and reflexivity of someone far beyond her years. She’s uber feminist and highly critical of our social media obsessed culture (although without it, 131k people wouldn’t recognise her gift for ingenious illustration). Even her nick-name denotes her provocative and contrary approach to drawing. Her ridiculing of the world's suspect politicians and celebs, whilst also taking aim at racism, relationships and even revision is particularly refreshing. Mountjoy’s interest in people, stereotypes and humanity is entirely apparent in her works.
All her drawings reflect an honesty, which is both relatable, but charged with a profuse sarcasm. Her mantra, ‘Don’t be Shit’, draws on the more questionable side of human nature, and she finds inspiration in those around her: “people are weird and dark and hilarious all the time without even trying to be”. Most of her work comes from the every-day dialogue she has either overheard or taken part in herself, exaggerating and mocking it using hand drawn or digitally created comic strips. Her work is comparable to many visual artists of today, particularly British artist Polly Nor. Similarly, Nor is an advocate for women’s rights, with her work incorporating feminist ideals, taking London by storm with her drawings of ‘women and their demons’. Glasgow born David Shrigley, another key influence, is more high profile than the rest due to his expertise in varying mediums as opposed to being confined to drawing, yet both identify with aspects of life’s seriousness and turn them into childish doodles and sketches. Mountjoy would have given her full approval to his obtrusive post-brexit ‘Really Good’ sculpture unveiled in Trafalgar Square last month, a glaring 7ft ‘thumbs up’ which one cannot help but consider a total mockery of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
Mountjoy is another young artist foregoing more traditional platforms in favour of Instagram to show her work, immedietely showing her creativity on a global scale, giving her illustrations the ability to be recognised and appreciated by a greater audience in a shorter amount of time and her self the opportunity to generate a huge body of work without the pains of a formal gallery show. Check out more of her amazing creations here, and if you like what you see give our intro to Kalen Holloman a read here.
Words by: Tilly