You may not know the name Joel Van Moore, but living in Adelaide you’d probably be familiar with his many faces.
Splashed in bold, bright colour across large scale walls of the city and suburbs are the spectacular works of Vans The Omega, aka Joel Van Moore. His subjects are often intricate faces, many of which are Adelaide locals, which he then takes to the extreme in colour palette and size.
Another role you may or may not know Joel’s work for is the curator of one of the largest scale (literally) art displays in the state; the famed Wonderwalls Festival, Port Adelaide.
On the verge of its second iteration in our Port, we took a closer look at the man himself, his history and what led him to bringing this iconic festival to the Port’s historic streets.
Joel began honing his craft at a very young age, a journey he believes he’ll never find the end of. Learning from his grandmother, Joel stretched his ability to higher heights, perfecting his skills along the way.
He grew up in Blackwood and went to school with several other ‘hoodlums’ of the Adelaide scene (whose lyrics you’d probably know, see ‘Nosebleed Section’), an avenue which actually helped foster his creativity
“Sitting in detention I think actually helped me work on my talent.”
Onward from his rascal high school days, he spent fifteen years travelling the world, learning and painting on his way — a journey that forged the path for his future here in his home state.
“Lots of the geometrical patterns I paint are inspired by unique things I’ve seen in my travels,” said Joel.
Flash forward to 2012 and this craft that he had travelled the world with, was coming home (well, almost) to Australia. Wonderwalls Festival began in Wollongong, home of co-creator Simon Grant, but it wasn’t long before Joel was able to bring the world-class phenomenon to South Australia.
He explains how his travels not only inspired his works, but also tied into building his network and, subsequently, being able to share his passion for Port Adelaide with them.
“While painting and travelling, I grew this international family. It’s about bringing them here, bringing them home… to my home. They’re all hard workers, they’re all friendly people and we’ve built this great community. Wonderwalls lets me bring them back to this place that I love.
Amongst the array arriving on our shores are huge international names in the street art scene such as Inti, Telmo Miel, Fats, Natalia Rak as well as homegrown heroes like Jimmy C, KAB101 and Elizabeth Close.
View this post on Instagram
Close up – A'o Mai I Kou Hewa (Learn From Your Mistakes) Pow!Wow!Hawaii 2017 🇺🇸 @powwowworldwide // Supported by @hawaiihta @montanacans @montanacans_usa @hawaiianairlines @modernhonolulu @monsterenergy @olukai @eptmusa @47brand @1xrun @thinkspace_art @ourkakaako @citymill // #powwowhawaii #powwowworldwide #telmomiel #sobercollective #honolulu #muslecrab #bigbadwolfkids @bigbadwolfkids
So why did he choose Port Adelaide for a festival of such large scale?
“It obviously helps that the Port has lots of vacant wall spaces. But the infrastructure itself is amazing. We just said, ‘We want to be a part of this.’ It feels like it’s really on the up and coming.”
This year is set to bring even more wonderment to the Port Adelaide streets, filling every nook and cranny that we have to offer with the works of over twenty outstanding artists.
The festival itself will span three days with guided tours, photography classes, workshops, artist talks and, not one, but two spectacular street parties (including DJs, food trucks and drinks from the Fruitful Pursuit.)
Most of the works will be permanent, so do not panic if you can’t make it on the weekend itself. Takeaway maps will be made available to guide yourself through the winding streets viewing both new and old creations of the Wonderwalls Festival.