FBi Turns 10 Artist Profile :: Sprinkles

September 4th 2013


“It’s art, so apart from spelling or working to a brief, there are no critical flaws. No pitch to maintain, no lyrics or choreography to remember or forget, you’re not going to break your face doing a backflip, or take out your mates eye by getting too hectic with the shapes you’re throwing. If you don’t crush yourself with unnecessary pressure it’s just really good fun!”


Sprinkles is a self-taught, Sydney-based artist whose wild-haired skulls can be found on the streets, in galleries and tattooed on skin around the world. He’s no stranger to performing, having come from a background in hip-hop dance, so you can expect big things from his live painting at our 10th birthday party. To get us in the mood, Sprinkles told Jessica Hamilton a few tales about working for Sean Paul when he was a thing, tattoos and the importance of family.


JH: You’re self-taught, that’s pretty impressive. How did you get into art?

Sprinkles: Cheers! I always liked to draw and be creative as a young bro and had some pretty artistic family members, so I guess it started there. Then hip-hop came along and gave me a massive hug. It sent me on a tangent and I actually had a pretty decent dancing career for years before falling into art. I used to tour all the rural areas of Aus teaching hip-hop and break dancing workshops to the kids out there. I also performed alongside some wicked people for artists like Red and Meth, and Grandmaster Flash, we opened for Kelis, and did some stuff for Sean Paul when he was a thing… “Juusst gimmie tha liiight and pass de drooo, yegmnbjsdgf a mo,” right? Haha!

So with all the exposure came this weird attention that I didn’t deal with very well, and then the dance scene started to change with YouTube and all the dance movies (yes, I’m 31). People’s attitudes shifted and it didn’t feel the same. I decided to hang up my professional “dancing shoes” and jump back into graff/aerosol art that I got caught doing in school. At school… on the school. One thing lead to another, I paid attention and got my sponge on and now I’m a full time tattooer/artist!

jerry wolf

How do family and friendship come into your work?

Friends and family are the main influence in my work. I constantly draw inspiration from them. I lost my dad in a car accident when I was really young (coming back from a surfing trip cause he was a sick guy). I was lucky enough to have an awesome step-dad who’s from a Chinese background. So, my immediate family is a mix of Cook Island, Maori, Chinese and European cultures, and my brothers and sisters are all talented colourful characters whom I hold very dear. I haven’t seen them much since leaving New Zealand and miss them a lot.

I also consider myself very lucky to have quite a large group of super talented close friends, a lot of whom I also don’t get to see as much as I’d like, due to geography or life changes. They’ve helped to shape me in my career as much as my family and I’m always in awe of the hectic things they all do. Crazy talented bastards. There is a project in the works with both of my younger brothers, which is really exciting. Challenging, as I’m here in Sydney, Bryden is in Christchurch, and Jordan is based in Hong Kong… but exciting!

Where do your characters come from and what are they inspired by?

Usually in my art there is a combination of characters with a number of surrounding elements. These represent the fact that even though I’m away from the people I love, I’m still carrying them with me. Friends or family they’re always there supporting me in what I do, in animal form, usually on my head. The surrounding elements I like to draw from the different cultures I experienced in my upbringing. I also like to draw from things like Chinese Zodiac signs, personality traits, temperaments, pets… everything! I love skulls. No idea why really. I could probably waffle something deep and meaningful but I just like them. I’m also steered by tattoo art, street art and dope art in general. Lately I’ve enjoyed the history behind alcoholic spirits and their manufacturing processes. There are some rad stories there, tequila gods, monks, awesome stuff!

Running Bear Coloured

Do you change your approach depending on whether you’re painting on street walls, galleries or skin?

A little bit. I’ve had a lot of fun merging all the different techniques from each and applying them to everything I do. Of course some things work better with the different mediums, but it’s good to try to stay away from restricting works so that they fall within the confines of what is generally considered to fit well within each category. It can be easy to be star struck by some awesome form of art and then get stuck on making everything you do fall in line and take that look. For a time I know I certainly did. I’m trying to break away from categorising, especially mentally, to see what will happen and hopefully discover what’s really inside me.

How does painting in front of a live audience affect your art?

It doesn’t so much, really. Aside from often not having time to take the leisurely approach I usually do with my work and wanting to finish up so I can party too, I’m quite comfy in front of people. I attribute that to my dancing days. It’s a fair bit easier than some might think; if people want to appreciate it they can, if they don’t they can party. Those that like it will say so, those that don’t won’t normally tell you to your face haha.

It’s art, so apart from spelling or working to a brief, there are no critical flaws really. No pitch to maintain, no lyrics or choreography to remember/forget, you’re not going to break your face doing a back flip, or take out your mates eye by getting too hectic with the shapes you’re throwing. If you don’t crush yourself with unnecessary pressure it’s just really good fun!

What can we expect from Sprinkles at our 10th birthday bash?

I don’t really know! I’m looking forward to shaking my head around and seeing what falls out of my brain! I’m pretty excited. I’ve art jammed at a tonne of FBi events over the years and always enjoy myself. This one sounds killerrrrr.



Sprinkles is one of 4 artists chosen by FBi and aMBUSH Gallery to be part of FBi Turns 10!

Get familiar with them all.

WHO :: Sprinkles
WHAT :: Live art performance as part of FBi Turns 10!
WHERE :: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
WHEN :: Sunday 8th September, midday-10pm
HOW MUCH :: Final release $69 / $59 for FBi Supporters, here



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