For over 30 years Surf Coast artist Jeff Raglus has been creating songs, images and artworks that have entertained and inspired thousands of people. Raglus has performed in a number of popular bands including Bachelors of Prague, The Feeling Groovies, Dubbledub and The Beachniks. His artwork has featured at exhibitions around Australia, in books and on Mambo t-shirts.
A keen surfer Raglus lives on the Surf Coast surfing and painting in between gigs. “I started surfing in 1970. Chris O’Dowd and myself bought two ‘Ockanui’s’. These were very heavy little malibu looking boards and we used to surf Lonny Front beach (which is actually inside Port Phillip Bay!) The biggest influences on my surfing were my old gang and the older guys in Point Lonsdale.
I really started drawing and painting in Grade 4. I would imitate Big Daddy Roth who was into crazy drawings of hot rod cars. A few years later I started airbrushing surfboards and then failed art school because the teachers didn’t like my cartoonish style.
I held my first exhibitions in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy in 1990. They were pretty amazing and I sold lots of paintings straight away. Soon I was designing for Mambo and writing books whilst still performing live music around the country.
My creative and artistic influences vary from modernist cartoons of the 1950s and 1960s to Picasso, Dali and Paul Klee. Roll that all together. I’ve also been influenced by some of the great surf artists including John Severson and Rick Griffin.”
Raglus is currently putting the finishing touches to his latest collection of paintings destined for a new exhibition in Melbourne this month.
“This exhibition represents almost two years of painting so it’s a really big show for me. In 2014, with my partner in life and art, Victoriana Gaye, we toured and played music in the UK, Scotland, Copenhagen, Germany, Holland and France. We also checked out every art gallery we came across. I did no art for four months, just played music and looked.
On return to Australia, I decided to exhibit again, and have been painting since then, towards this show at fortyfivedownstairs. At the same time, we have still toured around Australia a few times. (And managed to release an EP!) Travelling on the back roads and through small country towns was particularly inspiring visually. We regularly play in Melbourne, and a lot of the work in this exhibition is based on Melbourne as seen by an outsider arriving or leaving from the West.”
You can catch Raglus’ new exhibition titled BE BOB POP at fortyfivedownstairs . Flinders Lane, Melbourne from 8- 24th March.
Check out his website – www.jeffraglus.com and Instagram site for information on other exhibitions and gigs.
Written by John Foss