Creatures losing the war on nature: an exhibition in Redfern Sydney

fire and water

Longtime Mambo Artists Reg Mombassa & Glenn “Glenno” Smith have joined forces for a highly anticipated exhibition, ‘Creatures – Losing the War on Nature’, currently showing at the Rogue Pop-Up Gallery in Redfern. 

The idea for this exhibition, and formidable collaboration, was originally spawned by the question: “What would Reg’s Art look like in Glenno’s lino-print style?” This question ultimately became the seeds of ‘Creatures-’. 

We caught up with Glenn to learn a little more about his art, his recent collaboration with Reg Mombassa, and what’s next for this Sydney-based artist. 

Glenn Smith is a Sydney-based artist renowned for his incredibly recognisable lino works. 

Working independently for over 30 years, Glenn has gained considerable notoriety developing the art and cover work for international and local rock bands and events, as well as collaborating with the globally recognised Mambo Australia.

A self-proclaimed art mercenary, Glenn has proven to endure and rise above the sometimes ruthless nature of the art world, remaining concrete in his vision and creative process. Glenn offers passionate advocacy for any person that has an artistic affliction.

“The art world is so impenetrable. It’s also not such a nice place BUT making art and keeping to a personal truth as you go is the best thing anyone with a bit of originality of vision should strive for.” 

Personal truths and art with an original vision are very evident in the works and worlds of Glenno and Reg as they collaborate for Creatures – Losing the War on Nature. 

When asked how this concept came about, Glenn tells us:

“I had known Reg through my curated art festival “bein narly”. From that festival’s inception, he was keen to be a part of it and was there at the start with enthusiasm. At his last solo show, I asked him if he’d like to collaborate, and he said yes – simple as that. I was very pleased, and the collaboration has worked better than I had envisaged – the pieces are really strong, and we both love the results.”

As the exhibition evolved, lino slabs were couriered back and forth between the artist’s houses, building upon concepts and creations with each new delivery. The result; a collection of striking pieces that encapsulate Reg’s Universe brought to life by Glenn’s carvings.

“The themes present in Reg’s work are as deep and esoteric as the infinite backyards of Australian suburban mythology, as ugly as modern politics, as funny as the stuff that is worth laughing at and as weird as the crypto-zoology that slinks between the car graveyards and fossil fuel dig sites – koalas driven to terrorism – actual anti-mainstream humour and a mutated landscape bristling with tension and apathy.”

Both well-known Mambo artists, Reg now with the new collection Mambo Surf De Luxe, and Glenno with Mambo Australia, there is a strong history with the iconic surfwear brand. 

“I loved the brand, especially when I was a kid, and Reg was one of a dozen or so artists that were approaching their artistic freedom with one foot in the art world and the other in the rag trade – low-brow humour, free and surreal yardage and the parodies of Australian culture were cutting edge and funny as hell.”

Most proud of his recent lino-based stuff, Glenn is also quick to admit that he admires Art Director Nathan Sheahan’s use of the designs he makes. 

Beyond this, he tells us “it’s probably not time, commercially, for hand-screen-printed, narrative-based yardage to be made again (similar to the 80’s stuff) but we had a crack at some for this show… 100 metres of it, in fact. A repeat pattern in the prehistoric style that Reg sometimes uses called “Cut-Rate Fossil Fuel” – I plan to make some board shorts and put some aside before it sells out. The wonderful Publisher Textiles manufactured the print, and it’s stunning.”

cutprice fossil fuel yardage

Up next on Glenno’s creative radar is a very overdue solo show. Despite being a sucker for collaboration and organising group shows, he’s confessed that it’s time he knuckled down and did  some personal art for public viewing “now that galleries are starting to humanise the arts again.”

To see the works mentioned, and many more, go and check out ‘Creatures – Losing the War on Nature’, while the exhibition is on, until October 29, at Rogue-Pop Up Gallery, Redfern. 

“I hope your adventuring is as rewarding as mine has been, and you enjoy this Sydney jaunt at Diane’s wonderful Rogue Gallery.” 

To learn more about Glenn’s art, you can reach him at @glennoart or via his website: for all things cats, heavy metal, humour, parody and the line that crosses the brutal and the cute. 

gumscape mambo art