The Muster and The Mongrel
The Muster and The Mongrel are images of Australian archetypes — and their toys. I have written a number of books about Australian social history: the goldfields, old advertising, stories about bushmen, and women, cockies, bushrangers, rebels and yobbos — these two paintings reflect my interest in, and examination of the archetypal Australian character.
The Muster is a gathering of utes. The name refers to the annual Ute Muster at Deniliquin in outback New South Wales, where thousands of bushies and their shielas turn out to 'bash the bush'. Logos, flags and signs are everywhere. Every person is identified by what they drive and what they drink, and wear their brands proudly.
The Mongrel is a term given to a bastard dog, and also to a mean ute. This bloke, surrounded by his brands, has both.
Geoff Hocking grew up in the Central Victorian goldfields city of Bendigo, in the first half of the last century. He studied art & design at what was then known as The Bendigo School of Mines, later the Bendigo Technical College.
After leaving college, Geoff worked at the World Record Club in Melbourne, then after a short stint teaching enrolled in the painting course at the Central School of Art in London. On arrival he discovered that it all cost far too much so he went in search of a job in advertising. He ended up as art director with the Paul Hamlyn record sales division Music For Pleasure, once again designing album covers. He then went freelance illustration, specialising in Educational Children's Books.
Back in Australia in 1975, Geoff freelanced for several years before joining the staff at Swinbune. He continued to design for Australian record companies and illustrated for all the major publishers. He has written and published more than 30 books, for both children and adults. His latest, the lavishly illustrated history of The World Record Club [titled It's Another World Record] , honours the star-studded alumni of artists who designed for the company in the 1960s.
Today Geoff is Senior Lecturer, in the School of Visual Arts & Design at La Trobe University, Bendigo Campus. He continues to design, illustrate, paint, write and publish — and occasionally makes sculpture.