As you all know Freddie has played a million gigs in various bands and still plays at least three times a week, and also has his weekly Pub strip which hes been doing for almost thirty years, but Fred has known for his work in the painting field of the art world. Several St Kilda Pubs carry his work on the walls or Bars, and in the last two years he has had two very successful exhibitions with his paintings being the focus of the expos. Much like his pub strip and music, St Kilda, its pubs and the ning nongs that fill them are Freds focus and what inspires him. And also like the Pub Strip you/ll find St Kilda locals and famous musos on the same panel/canvas. Fred and I spoke at the card table at the Balaclava hotel, with special guest appearance by a bowl of chips.
Munster: when did start painting?
Fed: Probably at school. Ive been painting on and off most of my life. It started proper when i was doing murals with Paul Fraser. Great artist from Sydney. We did murals for the front bar of the ESPY. Not where the band played but near the Sunday stairs, there was a bar there and we went nuts. When that was gone they put it in the Star Wars bar and that was perfect because everyone in that mural drank in that bar. After that more murals and me and Steve Prictor did the other ESPY bar and others round St Kilda. It was there I learned how to paint, doing murals with great painters
Munster: which painters influenced you?
Fred: almost everyone. If you look at my paintings theres a bit of everything. A lot of its cartoony but bits and pieces theres a bit of art history because I do like to references. I like the old dadas, Marcel Duchamp, thats why I did that door at the exhibition, but unlike him I didn/t want to grab a door and throw it for sale I had to do something to it. So im not a true dadaist, im not anti art. I wouldnt ave an expo where I had string everywhere so you cant see the paintings
Munster: I asked you how you draw once and you said you do an outline on the canvas and you paint from there?
Fred: yeah like how I do my comics and everything I pencil everything. Im not an action painter I cant just go slap on the canvas. Im very formalist and deigned. But within that ill ave background pics where I can go nuts with color and make it up, like i said a bit of everything
Munster: was gonna say your backgrounds are amazing in the detail you put into it, I know you take photos now but what did you do in the past? Did you just draw everything?
Fred: I used to stand there and draw everything. It got hard, especially these days I used to sit on the tram or at pubs and draw everyone, it hard these days because people think its evasive. Take a quick photo and say its for art.
Bowl of chips with gravy boat arrive
Fred: I want to paint that. Just the gravy boat
Munster: one of my favourite Pub Strips in recent times was when Pascie and Matty were wrestling each other in the front bar screaming HOOK THE BEAR did you draw that or just remember it?
Fred: that was memory. Something stay in your head. Just weird when you walking into a pub and stuff like that happens. Hook the bear whatever that means. The bar was empty and me and Mad Rad are rolling our eyes like what the fuck. It went for five minutes wrestling then they went outside. I was like that was interesting. Don/t see that everyday. One of the reasons I like pubs
Munster: you mentioned the Pub Strip is your way of documenting all the Ning nongs of St Kilda but you only get so many panels so is the murals a way of documenting everyone in a particular Pub?
Fred: yeah true. You can get a lot more people in a mural. Everone puts their hand up and says put me in the pub strip so theres so few space. I look back at some of the old Pub strips its like a mural theres so many people. And I used to draw them all in pubs. Start at 12 on a Monday id ave it finished Tuesday at noon. Deadline has changed now with the website.
Munster: The Lost Mural was that your first mural solo?
Munster: what did people like Steve Prictor and Paul Fraser teach you?
Fred: I learned a lot from both, technical stuff which I forgot but it comes back when the paint the Lost wall. Stuff like certain colours to use and how stuff stands out. I said anyone who wants to be in has to show up, otherwise you wont be in it.
Munster: Do you want to do more paintings and make that a priority?
Fred: yes I love the paintings, I want to do more. And id love to do bigger canvases. I want to do that gravy boat. I want people to walk into the nationally Gallery and see that gravy boat and think I need to get chips from the café. Thats art
Muster: Awhile ago you mentioned you and Pascie would work together on a canvas for a painting, is that still happening?
Fred: yes that will happen. We both got very business so we aven/t found the time but when we do we/ll do it. We/ll both do a half a canvas each and see what happens.
For those interested in Fred Paintings please visit https://frednegro.com.au/paintings/?v=6cc98ba2045f on this Very site
Oh and chips where great. No toothpicks either