Over a sunny weekend in June 2023, Newcastle based street artist Mul, took over Level 1 here at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art to create some disco magic. Working with Baltic Shop, Mul (or Alex Mulholland to use his real name) also produced some spectacular Merchandise to commemorate this fun and sensory exhibition including screen prints, t-shirts, beer and a tote bag!
Mul's personal relationship with Baltic began back in 2006 when (at just 11 years old) he came to visit Spank the Monkey, the exhibition of international contemporary urban art that took over all the floors, from a skate park on Level 4 to the fantastical landscapes of Chiho Aoshima on the ground floor. The exhibition made an indelible impact on Alex, providing inspiration for his future artistic practice as well as aspirations to one day have his own work shown at Baltic. Jump forward to 2023 and he did just that, bringing his 'DiscoVibes' to the very building that inspired him in the first place. That's one heck of a journey!
So what did a visit to Life is a Disco entail? Glitter ball? Check. Disco music? Check. Vans covered in Mul's signature style? Check. An ice cream van serving Mul's own Life is a Disco beer collaboration with Wylam Brewery? Of course, check! Most importantly, there was the artwork, displaying a cacophony of Mul's colourful characters from the Running Heart motif to Magpies to, Disco Balls (again!) and Telephones and Mouths. And, unusually for Baltic, it was all for sale! And sell it did, with visitors snapping up limited editions, originals canvases and larger pieces throughout the weekend. And with the easy download of an App called Artivive, there was Augmented Reality to experience through the spray painting. No wonder there was a real buzz over the whole four days, it was an event to celebrate the creative heart of the north east which brought with it positive energy only!
On the last day of the exhibition, a boy of about 10 years old came to look round and was over the moon to see that the actual Mul was in the exhibition space. He was so excited, in fact, he even invited him to his birthday party! It was a real full circle moment for Alex, taking him back to his experience of Spank the Monkey all those years ago and the influence that had on his future. He can only hope that now his work is inspiring the next generation of street artists to start producing their work whether it's on walls, vehicles, lamp posts or internationally acclaimed contemporary art galleries a la Baltic.
Check out the wonderfully produced Merch through visiting Baltic Shop in person or heading to shop.balticmill.com. And look out for the upcoming Mul Pop Up Shop, launching in July on the ground floor bringing more