Posters (2), 'Mambo Loud Shirts', offset print, paper, designed by Paul McNeil for Mambo Graphics Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1997
Established in 1984 by Dare Jennings and Andrew Rich, the Mambo label began as a backyard business screenprinting T-shirts for a small niche market in surfwear. The mix of surf culture, art and music influences resonated with Australian youth who loved the notoriety and controversy the designs characteristic of Mambo aroused in conservative middleclass Australia. The designs were vibrant, humorous, irreverent and of questionable taste but had broad appeal with youth both in Australia and overseas. The disintegration of accepted motifs and conventions, the portrayal of anti-realist and anti-rational popular iconography combined with imagery typifying Australian suburbia dominate Mambo designs.
The posters reveal that beneath the humour and amusing parodies, lies incisive insight, sympathy and expression of serious social concern. In parodying society┬?s sacred cows, artwork created for Mambo in visual and linguistic form, challenges existing social mores while simultaneously providing a public forum for talented graphic artists to exhibit their work.
This is an important collection of posters and is significant for the contribution Mambo Graphics has made to Australian popular culture. Artists represented in the collection include Chris O┬?Doherty (alias Reg Mombassa), David McKay, Gerry Wedd, Maria Kozic, Jeff Raglus, Jim Mitchell, Paul McNeil, Richard Allen, Seenu, Rockin Jelly Bean and Marcelle Lunam.
The posters were designed by Paul McNeil for Mambo Graphics in 1997.
Mambo was established in 1984 by Dare Jennings and Andrew Rich as a backyard business screenprinting T-shirts. Artists are commissioned to produce designs that are duplicated on Mambo products. It became a large commercial clothing and textile manufacturer with an annual turnover of more than $10 million. Mambo products are sold in Japan, America, Europe and New Zealand. As well as furniture and clothes, Mambo designs and graphics are mass produced on surfboards, surfbags, posters, CD covers and in ads.
In 2000 Jennings and co-founder Andrew Rich sold the company to Gazal corporation, a Sydney based clothing manufacturer which had manufactured and distributed Mambo clothes since 1990. This left Jennings and his artists more time to be creative and let others worry about the business and its risks.
Artists represented in this collection include Reg Mombassa, David McKay, Gerry Wedd, Maria Kozic, Jim Mitchell, Paul McNeil, Seenu, Richard Allan, Marcelle Lunam and Jeff Raglus. Their work expresses the obligatory irreverence one has come to expect from Mambo graphic design.
Originally from New Zealand, Paul McNeil, is well-known in the music industry as a reviewer, directing video clips and designing record covers and posters for bands including the Beastie Boys. In 1993, he shared with fellow Mambo designer, Richard Allan, an Aria Award for their ┬?Electric Soup┬? album cover designed for Australian band, the Hoodoo Gurus.