When I left for my interview with Matt Dampney this was the preparation I had received:
“Matt is a beard with an exceptionally talented and witty person attached to it. He has a store and a label which oozes with so much cool its Damp – literally.”
I had heard other things, from various different cools cats… like Ape Seven (an artist who has been portrayed as a “gaze into the future of the human condition”) was this month’s resident artist at the Damp store and also at one point in time, Matt sent a bunch of ugly bunnies to a few different creative types and basically said, “make these cool”. That they did (I spy a funny bunny on his desk). He seems to have pull, this beard with a man attached.
So I popped down to the Damp store to see what it was really all about, and lets just say…his beard was groomed, so I was impressed.
But, before I was able to start the interview, someone walked in. He was young and surfer-cool looking, cause who else would come to such a hip spot, and his name was Konan, which is worth a mention in itself.
He was interested in getting some design work done, but he didn’t know what he needed and his business partner was in Bali (of course), so the conversation didn’t go far. We figured out, whatever brand identity ‘stuff’ Konan needed, Matt could supply. Then Matt told Konan he had a rad shirt on, and Konan said thanks, unawares he was wearing one of the Damp shirts… pretty cool, oozing almost.
Then we had a chat…
TKA: Background goes like…
MD: I got to the point of Art Director in agency world…advertising agency land…and the soul finally got completely deep-fried. Then the GFC hit and it gave me an excuse to break away. So I started a label on the side, but designing was always the main breadwinner. Having art, and different exhibitions in the shop keeps it interesting.
TKA: And the strategy of this “space”…
MD: It’s mainly just fun, it’s lifestyle driven, it’s how do you get paid and have fun at the end of the day, that’s it.
TKA: Do you find other creatives breaking from the mainstream, traditional corporate work life?
MD: Part of me feels like modern business models are more inclined to think a little left field… the old school way of doing things is…stale.
TKA: So then, with this shift of creative empowerment, what would you like to see happen in the Northern Beaches, given our strong artistic community?
MD: Ahhhh, good question, I mean there is so much talent here, the other side of the bridge is completely unaware, you know we’re not all trackie wearing bogan surfers. Yeah, culture…without sticking your nose in the air. There’s a lot of creativity going on, and a lot of the drive is to have the store as a vehicle for those people to be able to showcase things.
TKA: With that being said, what’s going on Friday night?
MD: Yes Friday night, we have a local café: Sea Monkey, putting on a soup kitchen out the front. We have a local father and son duo, the Gillans, both also great surfers, Jackson is sponsored from the Damp label. They are going to be playing ukulele and kazoo, so proper old school surf music. Toohey’s extra Dry is sponsoring us with grog which is awesome and we’re showcasing this beautiful wall mural from Ape Seven.
TKA: Should be a good night… We’ll see yah then.
As always, so much more was said, like stuff about skateboards and surfboards and where the hell are the chick’s clothes? But we can’t print everything now can we. So get your bum down to the Damp store in Curl Curl and check it out for yourself….
Interview by Tatianna K Alpert
Local Focus is lovingly produced in collaboration with Little Hobo Project