If you’ve flicked through 16-year-old, Melbourne-based artist Celeste Mountjoy’s work (aka Filthyratbag) before reading this then you’ll quickly realise that she’s wise beyond her years. With a satirical take on global issues – toying with everything from feminism, questionable world leaders, the visibility of race issues, and our dependency on social media in the two short years she’s been illustrating – her work is a far cry from what most of us concerned ourselves with in our mid teens.
Quick to pay homage to fellow Australian illustrator like Michael Leunig, who she says was the first artist to influence her, David Shrigley, and London’s own Polly Nor, it’s her ability to borrow from everyday conversations with the people around her that she pays tribute to most in her work.
“Almost every conversation and situation can be broken down, pulled apart and then diluted into a concentrated essence of someone's brain or character,” she says. “Not just the nice bits of who they are, it's interesting to call out the shitty parts of humans and human nature and make fun of them too. I think most of the characters in my comics are based off people I've encountered and then amplified to be over the top and to the point. People are weird and dark and hilarious all the time without even trying to be – you just need to look at things a little different to recognise that.”
With an ability to bravely poke fun at some of humanity’s most hideous attributes (because if we can’t have a laugh then what else have we got?), Mountjoy illustrates our collective shitty behaviours and all the problems that come with being, in fact, shitty. All of which are glaringly obvious yet remain unchallenged for the most part. Plus, who doesn’t get a kick out of Donald Trump posing as Kim Kardashian for her infamous “Break The Internet” cover shoot.