May 14, 2015 5:22PM

Meet The Artist: The Black Math

Art equations.

The Black Math has turned doodling on magazines into a polished digital art form. We asked Sean about his intricate tribal designs, and his latest collab with Wrangler, and found out that he is scared of birds, relates to Agent Dale Cooper and wishes he could read dreams in the process.

Name: The Black Math

Where's home? Melbourne

What were you into in high school?
Hanging with friends, playing guitar, painting, skating, running amok.

In what ways have you changed since then?
My art has evolved, I don't think I can skate anymore, and I've travelled and no doubt learnt a bit. But other than that I feel like I am the same person I was then.

If you had to describe your artistic output in five words, what would you call it?
In between chaotic and calculated.

Who inspires you?
Anyone doing what they are passionate about. I've got some friends doing amazing things, some creatively and others in their own endeavours. When I see people around me killing it, it makes me want to do well too.

What inspired your designs for Wrangler?
As far as aesthetics, I worked in my own style which translated pretty easily onto the clothing. We channeled a 90s slacker vibe with the placement of art, so there are some sleeve prints and also chest/back pieces. There is also a big embroidery on the back of the denim jacket which is sick.

If you could stay a certain age forever what would it be?
That's tough…probably 29. I'm pretty happy with where I am at right now. Definitely looking forward to the future though.

If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you choose?
A hammerhead shark.

Where do you find the photos that you use in your work?
It's a real mix. Originally I started drawing on magazines. But the internet and social media have allowed me to network and collaborate with some great photographers, models, artists and brands/labels. I still scan the net for images too, every day I come across images I wanna fuck with.

What scares you most?
Heights. I've been known to freak out a bit on planes. I like to have my feet on the ground. The only animal I don't like is birds.

Best piece of advice you ever received?
I let a friend tattoo 'live fast die last' on my ribs…Not sure it's the best advice, but I definitely received it.

What is a skill you wish you possessed?
Dream reading.

What are your favourite symbols to use and what do they mean?
Some of the symbols I draw are made up, and some are more traditional. I use a lot of crosses. I like the look of crosses, not necessarily because of any associated meaning. I try and give each piece its own vibe. The symbols aren't overly significant to me on their own, it's when they're together and they make more of a narrative.

What fictional character do you most relate to, and why?
Dale Cooper. We both love the simple things, like a good cup of Joe.

What celebrity do you have a crush on?
90s Angelina Jolie, Alexa Chung and Matthew McConaughey.

Best YouTube clip you've ever seen?

Which three people (dead or alive) would be your dream party guests?
Charles Bukowski, Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Lynch.

Do you prefer crowds, small groups or being alone?
Depends on the people. I like to party but also need my time alone.

Fashion photos play a pretty big role in your work, what is your interest in these images?
I started by just drawing over fashion magazines, so I guess it has evolved from there. I like how polished they are and the way they can contrast with the art that I add to them.

What was it like working with Wrangler? 
Easy. Fun. They gave me complete freedom on the pieces which is any artist's dream for a collaboration like this.

What was the process like?
The process was smooth. They were just as excited about the pieces as I was. I'm not used to the wait that happens in the fashion industry. Normally I work on a piece and as soon as it's finished I share it. But with this, the art was done over 6 months ago and because of production times etc. [I couldn't share it]. It felt strange not being able to share it straight away.

How did you incorporate your style into the garments?
My hand drawn style translated pretty seamlessly onto the garments. I created all new pieces for the range and there are embroideries of some little symbols/drawings which are cool.

What's on rotation on your iTunes at the moment?
Mostly hip hop. Kendrick Lamar...Earl Sweatshirt, Run the Jewels. But I've always got time for classics.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Happy.

Who else's work do you admire, who are doing cool things atm?
AREAS is a band a couple of friends have started who are creating some amazing music. ATTAK are a studio from The Netherlands and they're always releasing rad artwork. Jesse Draxler is putting out some insane art as well. And, Twin Peaks is returning! (albeit without the genius direction of Lynch… at least he wrote it).

Will you send us a selfie?
Sure.

Photos: The Black Math and @theblackmath

Lucy Jones