This Melbourne-based Street Artist Has Built His Own Ghost Train

mysterious al
Mysterious Al’s SPOOKHOUSE exterior

Prolific Melbourne-based street artist Mysterious Al has made a ghost train out of different artworks, and you can ride in it from tonight

SPOOKHOUSE is the name of the rideable installation, and it’s housed within HoMie’s warehouse, in Collingwood. 

“I’ve always been fascinated with ghost trains,” Al tells us over the phone today.

“I’ve been wanting to do an art exhibition in one for the past 15 years, but never had the means. SPOOKHOUSE has been two years in the works, and it’s worth it.”

Al’s background is in street art, and has a history of curating exhibitions in unusual and unexpected places. He once built an entire museum with his collection ‘Blinking into the Sunlight’, in a derelict warehouse for an entire weekend, without any permits. He waited until 6pm when the council people had gone home, set up a museum, shared the location on his Instagram, sold all his art and then cooly gave the keys back on Sunday evening. 

Throughout the early 2000s to now, Al has developed notoriety for his explosive street art, and street installations. He’s collaborated with major brands like Levi, Vans, Carhartt, Adidas, and Eastpak on co-branded apparel. 

Regardless of his success, he remains an artist that is truly passionate about connecting with people of true diversity. 

“I like to think my art has different subtexts to it, something like a Pixar film,” he says.

“There’s the way kids see it, through their simplified lens and then there’s a more complex story through the lens of an adult. At first glance, my art is bright, colourful, fun and simple but if you look a bit deeper, there’s something darker about it. It’s below the surface, but only just below.”

This vision and interpretation of his own work, is what inspired Mysterious Al’s ghost train experience, SPOOKHOUSE. 

“I feel like a fairground ghost train has a similar dark underbelly. Behind the kitsch exterior, is something creepy, something dark. There’s this thing that happens as you lurch into the darkness of a ghost train, it’s a nostalgic fear of the unexpected, it’s wicked.”

Although the ride is designed to be funny, not scary, the element of surprise is what resonates with Al and his work, similarly to a pop-up installation and the transience of street art. 

Just in case you’re still confused about what to expect, let’s take you through his process.

Al set out to find an actual ghost train, because the legitimacy of the experience was super important for him. 

“I’ve got a real ghost train, it’s like 40 years old and it’s scared a lot of people in it’s time, it’s got a history. I had to go down a few rabbit holes to get it, but it’s incredible.”

“I’m renting it off this guy. He drove it down here to Melbourne from Queensland, we’ve re-panelled the whole thing so I could paint it, and then I made all the scares, props and effects that happen inside.” Al explains.

So basically, he’s rented a full-formed ghost-train ride, deconstructed it and rebuilt it using his own art. Imagine the typical bat and ghost props, replaced with animated sculptures and paintings. He’s even made the sound effects and all the moving parts; picking up some amateur robotics skills on YouTube.

We don’t want to give too much more away, because the beauty of the experience is the excitement of the unexpected. 
You can go check it out from Friday 19 March – Sunday 28 March. Tickets range from $8 – $12. Book here.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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