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Issue: March, 2016

Macabre Visions

An Interview with Melbourne Artist Joel Stephen Birnie

Joel Stephen Birnie (a.k.a @BlixPoxAndBlunder) is a visual artist and filmmaker. As a mixed-media/multi-media artist Birnie made his debut in 2000 with a solo exhibition at NACI, Adelaide. Birnie has subsequently exhibited as a visual artist throughout Australia with both solo (Darwin, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne) and group exhibitions. Joel is based in Melbourne.

Joel's ability to capture the breathtaking in the macabre, whilst offering audiences a glimpse into aesthetically pleasurable mediums is inspiring. When an artist has the ability to inspire another artist, - that is the true calling of art itself, beyond immortality

Artwork by Joel Stephen Birnie; 352x393

At what age did you discover your connection with art? And how?

Both my parents were art teachers and capable artists themselves. My dad, predominantly a painter and art history teacher, and my mum dabbled in sculpture and photography. My own connection to art began in my late teens, not knowing quite what to do with myself and existing in a kind of limbo, where art was able to fill the void.

What or whom inspires your creativity?

I've drawn the bulk of my inspiration from cinema. I have a kind of ADHD in terms of creativity, I can get bored very quickly with any particular medium, but cinema tends to retain my interest and sticks with me for days or weeks, even years. It also combines my many interests- performance, set design, costumes, special effects, photography etc. I can never really get bored with films.

You do photography as well as film, do you find both mediums equally compelling to your artistic soul or do you favour one?

I would say they are equal in favour. Photography provides the first stages of the conceptual formation of ideas. Some photographs are complete in their photographic form, others can inspire more- movement, dialogue, music. From the photograph usually comes the film.

artwork by Joel Stephen Birnie; 388x375

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

A Cannibal, definitely a cannibal.

What would you pack for space? (is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear etc. That you couldn't do without?)

A camera!

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I guess we all want recognition for what we do, and to have our work seen and enjoyed by many people across the globe, but mostly, for now at least, I would just like to entertain my audience and inspire them to continue following my work. Getting positive feedback from audiences across various social media really does encourage me to keep it up and that the hard work that goes into creating my art/films is not all for nothing.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

The really special satisfaction is the fact that I'm doing it all my own way. I'm not adhering to any particular rules or following any particular trends. My work isn't exactly commercially palatable and I don't really care, I so enjoy what I do because it's mine and reflects me. Popularity comes and goes but my art/films will always be there for anyone who cares to enjoy them.

artwork by Joel Stephen Birnie; 393x378

Where can people view your work and what is coming up for you?

These days I've lifted my work out of the 'gallery' and into the abyss of online media. I like my work to be accessible to any audience, I've tried to avoid exclusivity, so social media- YouTube, Society6, Instagram etc- has been a way of finding my own audience. However, thanks to the Adelaide Festival Biennial (2016), my fifth short film The Messengers is having its debut screening in February within the exhibition Boo! Aboriginal Ghost Stories And Other Scary Matter. This show is taking my comedy/horror film work back out of the online media and presenting it to a fine arts audience, which is both exciting and strange as it's an audience I never intended to pander to. But, from humble beginnings big things grow :-)

March, 2016

photo, Destiny West, courtesy the author; 90x105

Destiny West is an award winning author in both Erotica and Horror genres. She is also the Co-host of a Australian horror podcast called Ozploitation.

Destiny also works as a journalist for a newspaper, and is currently working on her first feature length horror film. You can find her at

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