Reg Mombassa : Behind the works

Looking at Reg Mombassa's playful landscapes, featuring a world where a one-eyed koala looks down on a 'Kengaroo' with a footy, and an iconic Australian Jesus sends BBQ smoke into the sea air, it's very easy to feel a sense of melancholy as an Australian. Amazing melancholy. 

We were so thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with this rock star, and took the chance to also find out a bit more of what's behind the works featured in our new collection. 


But first an introduction from Reg..
As a child, I enjoyed being in the landscape. We lived in outer suburban and semi-rural areas around Auckland and I spent a lot of time wandering around exploring fields, creeks, bush and beaches.  Studying art at high school I started copying paintings from art books. They were mainly impressionist landscapes and I have retained an interest in depicting the landscape in paintings drawings and graphics since that time.  Traveling around with bands has also been useful in terms of observing the landscape and doing drawings as we traveled.  

The original artwork for these pictures were drawn in charcoal and coloured pencil in the studio of my house in the inner western suburbs of Sydney.

Beachside Barbecue was drawn in 2015 for the inside front and back cover of The Great Australian cookbook.  It is an imaginary typical Australian beach scene featuring some of my favoured subject matter.  The 50’s, 60’s style of suburban house, native and domestic animals, gum trees and a telegraph pole.  The sun is setting so the picture is bathed in a late afternoon golden glow and has the long shadows that add a numinous quality to any landscape. 

This picture was done for an Australia Day cover for the Sydney Morning Herald in 2013 and features some of the natural, cultural and built icons peculiar to Australia : the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Uluru, an oppressively hot sun, suburban houses, a football, a crushed beer can , some gum trees and shrubs and some modified native animals.  The Kengaroo is a trans-Tasman amalgam of the Kiwi and the Kangaroo.  The spelling indicates a New Zealand pronunciation of Kangaroo.   One of the gums has a gob of earth blood spurting from a lopped bought.


This picture was also an Australia Day cover for the SMH in 2008.  It features that great Australian social institution the backyard barbecue.  The barbecue is in a rural area and has the Harbour Bridge and an Opera House clad in rusty corrugated iron and fibrolite.  Australian Jesus is mouthing silent words from a blank bible and is accompanied by a one-eyed space dog and a large salivating blowfly perched on a Weber barbecue.  I have always thought that the blowfly would be a good national animal symbol as they are numerous and ubiquitous. Some people find them unattractive and annoying but they can be beautiful, particularly when their wings glisten as they frolic in the afternoon sun.  They also have cute babies.

Reg Mombassa, what a TREAT! 


Kitty Sutherland

Featured Blog Posts

November Christmas Gift Guide


Here's a selection of our favourite gifts for entertaining, gifting or decorating in this festive season. 

Nice handmade gifts

Splatter Mug Large Short X Peter Shire    

Hand Built and all uniquely splatter painted, these amazing mugs made by Echo Park Pottery in California USA are a Third Drawer Down favourite. Functional and sculptural, how all mugs should be we say! 


Light Pink Dog Vase x Katie

We are so excited to have animal-themed ceramic art at Third Drawer Down from Cali babe Katie Kimmel. There's no discrimination between cats and dogs here either, we love both! The detail in the speckles and slightly off-centre faces is adorable, you will be naming your vase and keeping it forever.


Wall Art

Opening Hours Tea Towel x David Shrigley

David Shrigley is most commonly known for his Black and White illustrations which is why we thought it about time we did a Black and White Tea Towel! The Opening Hours Tea Towel makes for exceptionally cynical wall art and we love it.


Life Is Fantastic Tea Towel x David Shrigley

Third Drawer Down in collaboration with Scottish artist David Shrigley present Life is Fantastic, a Domestic Art Tea Towel. This is a digitally printed artwork on 100% linen. It can be seen as a functional domestic art tea towel or an artwork to be framed, loved and displayed in the home. A best seller and an eternal favourite of the studios. 

Afromuses Tea Towel x Chris Ofili

The humble tea towel is one of Third Drawer Down's signature artist products. A practical and fun way to dry the dishes, it can also be stretched onto a canvas at your local framer and double up as an affordable artwork for your home, as pictured here, in fact we insist you have these two framed-it's a must!?

Dancing Ladies Tea Towel x Frances Canon

Frances's Dancing Ladies work has been a studio favourite for a long time so having it adapted to a pretty pink tea towel is incredibly dreamy. Perfect for framing but also functional in the kitchen if you would like some dancing ladies there. Who doesn't. 

Practical but fun gifts

Ridiculous Stress Swan X David Shrigley 

First, we gave you the Ridiculous Inflatable Swan-Thing (which went viral - but that's another story) now, this holiday season, we bring you the Ridiculous Stress Swan-Thing. It's time to solve stress with swans! Packaged in the cutest box with a little hole so he can say hay, this desk companion is a must-have. 


Contour Keyring x Areaware

These contour keyrings by Areaware are simple and user-friendly, yet elegant in design. The brass metal screw clasp closes neatly and firmly, while the larger shapes allow you to either clip the ring to your belt or wear around your wrist. 

The keyring comes in two designs: The bell and the drop.

Memo bottle / Slim

Slim, stylish reusable water bottles in the new Slim size. Designed in Melbourne, the Memo Bottle is ideal for travel, the office, your bedside or simply slipped into your back pocket. Originally a kickstarter campaign, the Memo bottle was hugely successful and is now a Third Drawer Down best seller! Designed to fit perfectly in the palm of your hand, the Memo Bottle Slim is 450ml and BPA free Tritan. 

Insulated Traveller Bottle x S'Well / Splatter

Triple walled, stainless steel insulated bottle perfect for hot and cold drinks, keeping them warm for 12 hours and cold for 24. Designed to fit perfectly in your hand with a wide mouth to enable ice in your beverages! 470ml, high grade stainless steel, non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free.


Squeeze Banana

This is the squeeze banana perfect for receiving stress in adults and being stretchy and fun for kids. Part of our new pocket money collection. 



Stay tuned for the December gift guide! 

Read more

ART VAULT: How Jon Campbell's yeah flag project encourages people to think differently

Jon Campbell’s Yeah Flag has a broad history. It was first made for an exhibition in New Zealand in 2004. Since then the flag has been flown all over the world including the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Read more
Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart