You, me, pizza: disturbing 'young love' snapshot prompts poster campaign
Way back at the end of 2015, Mabbatt decided that life was just too dull working in a normal job with regular pay and good conditions. She was born to be an artist and nothing less than working as an artist would do any longer. "Life is short and death is permanent." she mused, as she submitted her resignation from the world of 'real' work to embrace a life of starving in a garret while trying to find a space in the art world for her subversive view of humanity.
With no idea where to start, Mabbatt emailed and Facebooked images of her Pop art version of domestic violence to every organisation she could think of who may be interested in the style and the message. Weeks of tactful rejections crushed all hope until, in mid November, an organisation called Our Watch contacted her saying they loved the existing work so much that they wanted to commission Mabbatt to complete 2 Pop art works on a completely new theme: encouraging and supporting young girls to love themselves enough not to accept 'any old bachelor prepared to offer a rose on Valentine's Day' just to fit in. "This is for our youth group, The Line, trying to empower 12 to 20 year olds to love themselves and to value their friendships over crap romances", the campaign organiser said. Deadline: December 31st 2015 for Valentine's Day campaign 2016. For use on The Line website, in posters and on postcards. Theme: The Bachelor, the Rose Ceremony. "And we want to tell girls to go eat pizza instead of kissing the first boy who comes along..."
After Mabbatt recovered from the panic attack brought on by this email and subsequent phone discussions with the campaign organiser (yes, it is a genuine offer and yes, we will pay you; no, it doesn't matter that you personally hate pizza), she realised that her own deadline was December 16th - 3 weeks away - because the flights to Norway for the following day were booked and paid for. "OMG....!!!!!" Faint. "I can do the images but your consultant group will have to put their own words into the mouths of the characters," Mabbatt advised, "or it won't ring true for them during the campaign." Agreed. Pop art characters/images only. Acrylic on canvas. 24"x 36" please....
Long hours of work in the studio, family feeling neglected, cats no longer recognising her, sleep and food a distant memory, Mabbatt completed the commissions, delivered them and jumped on a flight out of a sweltering Melbourne Xmas period to the wilds of the Arctic Circle in mid winter.
4 weeks later, refreshed by chasing Viking gods through snowy mountain tops and into chilled fjords, Mabbatt embraced the pressure of a sweltering Melbourne, wondering how The Line's campaign was shaping up. The campaign organiser sent images of the final graphics, with words, and everyone was happy with the progress of the campaign, except that someone needed to do some media for the launch. 'Nothing much," Mabbatt was assured, "Are you interested?" Coming out in a cold sweat, hating the spotlight, gritting her teeth, thinking about the big picture, Mabbatt reluctantly agreed. "An interview for The Age," she was advised, "Nothing to worry about." "Really?" she thought.
So more sleepless nights, panic attacks and anti-depressants later, Mabbatt fronted at The Age HQ to be grilled. "It's all about the Campaign and the conversations the paintings provoke," she kept reminding the journalist, "My story is not relevant." You can see the results above. The Age took photos of the gorgeous, trendy young woman who helped The Line as an advisor standing in front of the billboard-size posters which appeared all around inner Melbourne; Mabbatt was contacted by her hipster, inner city friends to congratulate her on the Avant Cards with the same images which had suddenly appeared in all the trendy cafes and bars for people to collect; and Mabbatt fell to wondering "Where next?"