Jul 2, 2021 | Community

Every now and ten

Author: Lizzie Gillespie

Illustrator: Kattattak Studio

Every now and Ten - Brunswick Daily

Sitting in his house in Fitzroy, Gustavo Morainslie (Gus) took a deep breath, closed his eyes and smiled after reading his twenty-year-old scrapbook. A 2001 entry read: “I’ve been a week in Melbourne and I love it, I believe I could live here my entire life”.

Little did he know that his belief was more accurate than he thought back then. His first once-a-decade life reflection set the stage for an adventure that could only become true by moving forward, facing challenges, and teaming up with his squad. 

Back in 2001, Gus was a twenty-year-old Graphic Design student living in Mexico. Australia got in his pathway by chance and it opened more than a few doors for him. Within six months he travelled a bit, thought about his next steps, and spent a few weeks in Melbourne where he did an “Introduction to graphic design” short course at RMIT University.

After his trip Down Under, he came back to Mexico to finish his degree, open a graphic design studio, and refine his work’s ethic. “I agreed with my studio partners that we would never do gigs that had anything to do with politics or infomercials”. Misleading, manipulative, and consuming for the sake of consuming was never part of his creative DNA. Gustavo’s real passion was in fine arts, design and the power that visual elements have to communicate, raise awareness, and trigger social and environmental change.

In 2009, he started a non-for-profit environmental campaign called “Segunda Llamada” (a last-call-to-action expression used in Mexico). This project ran for 10 years and was a call out to artists from around the world to design posters dedicated to raising social and environmental awareness. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because that same year, Gus met Claudia, a financial accountant with very similar values.

Monterrey exhibition - Brunswick Daily

Segunda llamada plastic pollution poster exhibition, Monterrey, Mexico

Meeting Claudia, stepping into the end of his second decade, and his exploratory personality took him away from Mexico for another six months. This time, Canada was the destination to think about the next steps. Gus came back to Mexico knowing he wanted to be with Claudia and focus on his work as a live gigs photographer and poster designer.

Claudia, on the other hand, was starting her financial management career. They commenced to live together and they welcomed Kimiko and Cubeta (bucket), two curious cats, to their squad. Many circumstances grew the idea to live overseas more and more every year, and by 2014, they decided to do everything that was in their power to migrate to Melbourne.

Moving to a new continent wasn’t an easy decision and at first, they even thought it was impossible. How are we going to keep our family together? Bringing pets to Australia is fucking impossible!” they thought looking at Kimiko and Cubeta, who could probably feel the tension at home. After two years of dedicated work, they were able to save money for all the bureaucracy needed to study, live a few months, and bring the two felines to the southern hemisphere. Fucking impossible now seemed like an outdated term for them. 

2016 was the year that Melbourne saw the squad landing in Australia to begin a new adventure. Their initial budget was less than they would’ve wanted, the first couple of weeks were full of uncertainty, excitement, and lethargy caused by crossing many time zones. Unexpectedly, science became the answer to unlock their next steps. After only two weeks in Melbourne, Gustavo saw a post on The Loop. A startup called Stile Education needed an Illustrator / Art Director”. He applied for the position and got the job. “We celebrated my first salary with a nice pizza at 400 Gradi on Lygon Street” he recalls. Claudia started her Master’s degree in Education at Monash University and Kimiko and Cubeta could comfortably explore their new home.

Three years went by and the words written in his old scrapbook were more colourful than ever. Melbourne was their home, he had a stable job, he started teaching at RMIT the exact same course he took back in 2001, but the end of another decade called for yet more adventures.   Backed up by Claudia who was working full time again, he decided to quit and go back to freelancing and the uncertainty that comes with it. “And what will you do?” everyone curiously asked him. “I want to paint walls… actually, I have already painted one in the office,” he told them. Gus quit on his fourth anniversary on March 16 2020, the same day three pivotal events occurred in their lives. It was their first anniversary as Australian residents, Claudia started a new job, and COVID hit Melbourne.

Stile Education - Brunswick Daily

Murals at Stile Education. Painted with co-worker and friend Toño Almazán.

The 2020 pandemic and turning 40 granted him an opportunity to do his now traditional once-a-decade life reflection. He could work from home, establish Kattattak (his new design studio), upgrade his skills as an artist using walls as canvases, and learn from others, including his family, about life. Today, he knows what he wants for the next decade. Illustration, poster design, producing murals and canvases while focusing on cultural, social and environmental projects are his goals. 

Mural Fitzroy-art collective - Brunswick Daily

Mural at the Fitzroy Art Collective

Gus, Claudia, Kimiko and Cubeta are probably writing the next story to happen in a 2021 scrapbook that will set the pathway for new and exciting adventures.

Check out Gustavo’s portfolio. If you’re interested in hiring him, send him an email, DM him on Instagram or Facebook.

This article was written on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people, whose sovereignty was never ceded. I pay my respects to Aboriginal elders, both past and present, and acknowledge the tradition of storytelling that has continued on the continent known as Australia for more than 60 000 years.

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