Australian artist and musician Daisy Knight aka Daisy Attack has created a whole universe for herself (& us all) to live in – Filled with toys, installations, films, clothing, music, painted cars, digital art and more! All of which are vibrant, in your face and poptasitic – A glorious blend of pop, retro-futurism, sci-fi and trash culture. Bringing to mind fellow multi-dimensional creatives such as Rammellzee, The Sucklord & Andy Warhol.
Born in 1993 to a religious family, Daisy spent her youth as a self described art loving gremlin & after a few mutations over the years, continues to create art of all genres.
To put it simply – Reality just isn’t magical or colourful enough for Daisy, so she has crated her own artistic galaxy of never-ending playtime fun instead.
Wanting to get to know her better we sent Daisy some questions to answer over email.
Check out her colourful and creative life below…
Name + D.O.B?
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
City, State and Country you’re from?
Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Please describe some memories – such as art, music, comics, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, work, crime, religion, performing… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood:
I was a weird lil gremlin child.
We grew up pretty poor, my family lived in Enmore just around the corner from the Enmore Theatre. When adults asked tiny gremlin Daiso what I wanted to be when I grew up I would always proudly say I wanted to be thin air? I dunno why, I think I enjoyed the idea of floating around and maybe being breathed in, I also enjoyed how uncomfortable this answer made the adults.
I would obsessively make time capsules of garbage and gift them to my parents and they would throw them away.
I was also obsessed with bubbles and wanted to live inside a bubble. This lead to me constantly stealing the dishwashing liquid and pouring it everywhere and rolling around in it, one time my grandma slipped in what my parents named “Daisy’s soapy fun time” and had to go to hospital, I felt so bad. I found a childhood diary a few years ago and everyday I just wrote that I watched Pokemon, I had sick Pokemon light up sneakers my mum bought for me as bribe to make me go to the school bush dance; where for some reason the school made us wear trash bags.
Childhood feels like a fever dream.
* Your teenage years:
Weird time in the Daisyland, I went to Newtown High School of the Performing Arts and I thought it was so shit cause they made me wear shoes and in primary school I just went barefoot everyday.
It was a weird dynamic cause I was a local student while the other students were there by audition, so at 12 years old a bunch of adults told me I couldn’t dance or act or sing. Which later in life I was like, “fuck that” and attempted to do all those things, but at the time I believed them.
My parents were super religious so I grew up going to church and very scared of Satan.
I collected many Jesus’s from Op shops and got bullied at school and at church for my Jesus collection and I was always like nah man gotta collect the Jesuses.
I also worked at Civic Video for most of my teens which lead to me watching 1000s of shitty movies, I was obsessed with making my life like a movie, so I would dress like a 70s athlete and write weird things in chalk everywhere. I consumed a steady diet of indie shit, I was obsessed with Wes Anderson films, Ghost World and Amelie – as an adult I realised my home life was a bit abusive?
So I think I just obsessed on these twee alternate worlds in movies and escaped the mess that was my life.
I befriended all the local op shop workers and collected many wonderful weird things and clothes, I got my first 80s Casiotone (still in original box! 6 bucks!) and I also bought a banjo with my first Civic Video pay check which lead to me learning to write shitty lil songs.
I also used to buy weird ugly clothes and cut them up and sew these cursed Frankenstein outfits, I was obsessed with Fruits magazine and wished to dress in Harajuku fashion but I was broke and chubby so had to improvise.
I was scared of alcohol and dating and well most things so I just watched movies all day and night and worked all the time.
* Your 20s so far:
I went to Art school!
Art school is a hoot!
I was one of the last year groups to get to go to Sydney College of the Arts when it was located in the old mental hospital at Callan Park, and it was so fun and so dinky.
When I was at art school I got super into outsider art and outsider music after watching The Devil and Daniel Johnston. I got super bullied at church so I had a spiritual crisis and my parents were like, “you can’t leave church you’ll never find a husband” haha.
I made some freaky God inspired installations, including a neon church I named CHRIST ME$$ inspired by Salvation Mountain and a fully silver and gold room made out of shock blankets and tinfoil I named “Emulate the Saints” which was inspired by James Hamptons’ “Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly.”
When I was studying, minimalism was very hip and cool so I was like, I must do the opposite of what is hip and cool, and can also be made out of trash.
While I was at uni, I noticed the uni band comp had no girl bands and I was like, I must make a band so my life can be like a movie, I was listening to a lot of The Shaggs at the time so I sent a message to a few friends saying “Wanna be in the worst band ever for a joke?” and then 3 friends were keen. We wrote 15 minutes of music for the competition and I made us space costumes out of house paint and tablecloths I found in a bin as well as huge paper mache helmets and somehow we won the competition?
After uni we continued being a band for 7 years and played all over the place.
I really enjoyed thinking up elaborate costumes and gags – Our kinda concept was aliens who got lost on the way to earth to compete in Eurovision in the 80s, so we would try to create these feeble arena shows in random bars. I loved it so much but it also burnt me out.
When I left art school I had a massive mental breakdown.
I think I was unwell for a long time – but I just stayed busy with working and making things and then it all hit me in a big wave of heck! I’m still in therapy and medicated but it was a pretty rough way to enter the art world.
I got a studio at Mothership Studios and did a few exhibitions around the place.
I started painting murals for the Inner West Council, and I love murals so much!
With art I try to just take any opportunity and give it a red hot go.
I fell in love with a Wollongong boy, we met when our bands played together, the first thing I ever said to him was “I vomited 3 times on the way here.”
I moved the Wollongong at the start of this year.
Recently I started making lil resin toys, I’m also organising a halloween-themed zine fair called Zine Spooktacular!
I just like to mess around, challenge myself and throw lots of art at things and see what works.
“Make a bunch of stuff.”
I think people want to be able to categorise people into neat boxes y’know like “painter” but I never felt comfy with one medium, I guess with my health issues being so up and down I just try to make something every single day to the best of my ability that day. It’s like making pancakes, the first few are quite cursed but you get some cool stuff the more you make; plus you have a wealth of stuff stored up to draw on when you feel stuck.
“Embrace being a bit shit.“
Like when I started making music I didn’t know how to play instruments – I still don’t! But I think just giving things a go and not worrying about being a bit shit is so freeing.
I set myself a goal of writing a song a day – and I did it for a few months, so at like 2am I would crack open GarageBand and make a lil wonky beat and sing into my laptop speaker and it made me cringe but also be like haha it exists.
There is beauty in the wonky and magic in trying your best.
“Trash is a valid art medium.“
You don’t need the best stuff to make stuff, be a lil gremlin – dig through a bin. I think it’s too easy to set barriers and be like if I had this or that, but growing up poor, I never had this or that – I had trash and food dye and dish washing liquid and and bins full of cardboard and so that’s where my practice started and that’s where I feel most comfy.
What role did toys play in your childhood?
There was this amazing shop near my house growing up called something like “Polka Dot Bear”. It’s a laundromat now, but in the 90s it was a weird hoarder style shop of wonders! They had this huge collection of cursed bootleg toys and old weird McDonalds toys and I would beg to go there and look at all the weird things like everyday.
I had a bootleg neon green Godzilla that I loved a lot and was sad when I realised Godzilla is in fact not neon green and I think growing up not super wealthy made me love the weird neon discolouring that cheap knock off toys used to have – I defs think that has influenced my art choices now.
I used to cut up and glue gun my McDonalds toys together like Sid in Toy Story, I don’t know why I found him inspirational.
I had this weird Harry Potter Potions Kit that made gross candies, I still think about it all the time.
I loved the Lion King too and used to have heaps of lion toys and carry them around in my mouth, they were all heavily chewed. When Op shopping I still constantly pick up weird lil plastic friends. I think Toy Story messed me up and I think of them as people and worry about their fates a bit too much.
Art, Music & Creativity Questions
When and why did you first become interested in art, music and everything creative?
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?
I’ve always made things, I think growing up in Sydney’s Inner West meant I was surrounded by lots of weird art in formative years. When I was 13 I attended this cute event I read on a flyer taped to a telephone pole called “Colour Parade” which was just people dressed in eccentric bright clothes dancing and blowing bubbles walking around the city and it blew my tiny mind.
My Mum always made things too, she is kinda the opposite of me in that she is very perfectionist with her crafts, this however lead to her often being embarrassed or worried my art is bad haha.
My first ever encounter with outsider art was the house across the road that went up for sale and we went to the house inspection – the son was really into Dungeons and Dragons and under the floor there was a trapdoor to a basement which he had transformed with expandable foam and tin foil into this silver cave?
Mind blowing stuff.
I had this wonderful neighbour too, we used to bump into each other when digging through bins, he would nail weird toys and things he found in the bin to telephone poles, his house was amazing. One time his garage was open and it was an outsider art dreamland in there – he also worked the doors at Enmore theatre and would just let me in to see bands for free growing up.
What a champion.
If you had to explain your creative endeavours to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
Messy chaotic collections of neon, slimy and shiny things.
I try my best.
Who are some of your favourite artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?
I would say for music definitely Sufjan Stevens, the lil teen indie nerd in me just really attached to his music in high school, I was a fan but I became a tragic die hard when he released the Age of Adz, I just love that he went from sweet folky music to WHAM space crisis techno!
He was also a crucial part of my introduction to outsider art with that album being an ode to Prophet Royal Robertson’s life.
Daniel Johnston is a huge influence too, I was in my parents backseat being dropped off at church and FBI radio announced that Daniel Johnston was in fact not dead just living a hermit life in his parents basement and they played “Don’t let the sun go down on your Grievances” and I was just so obsessed, I then rushed to rent his documentary from Civic Video.
I just really love his drawings and his music so much.
I also watched Barbarella when I was like 10 and I just thought it was the coolest movie, that movie is definitely to blame for me going on to make an alien girl band I think. I was obsessed, I dressed up as her for the Civic Video Christmas party at Manhattan Super Bowl (an iconic 50s inspired bowling alley in Sydney with hilarious scary Elvis statues everywhere, another obsession) and I rocked up with my beehive and shiny outfit and no one else was dressed up haha.
We were saddened to hear about the end of your epic band Dweeb City and where wondering…
* What do you have planned next musically yourself?
Not really sure!
It ended pretty roughly, so I’ve been a bit weird about music.
I need to get back into it, I recorded a bunch of songs about sandwiches a few years ago under the name Sandwich Magic! I thought they were super crappy cause I was very depressed when I made them but my partner is obsessed and listens to them all the time in his car haha so I was thinking it might be funny to make another sandwich album and maybe make a dinky stage show with Anpanman inspired costumes.
I really miss performing.
* What are the other members of Dweeb City all currently up to?
Scabman has a solo act called “Happy Shadowz” and Steelman said she’s working on some solo stuff too.
Suman is working as a graphic designer.
* Care to share some of your favourite memories of the band for those reading at home?
There’s so many funny dinky memories.
One of my faves is when we were performing a Halloween gig at the Townie in Newtown, and I thought it would be a genius idea to do a cover of Ben Lee’s classic Aussie hit “Catch my Disease” but like we are zombies – so we got these rubber hearts and we would play the whole gig with them shoved in our costumes, and then at the right moment rip them out and smash zip lock bags of blood on our faces, then chew Berocca tablets and green food dye and spit it out all demon, you know, just professional musician things. Anyway – after we would do this we would crawl out into the audience screaming “PLEASE BABY PLEASE” “OPEN YOUR HEART” except I tripped on the way off the stage and kicked a fold back speaker across the venue and fell really dramatically, I kept performing and crawling on the floor – then the gig ended and I couldn’t get up, and yeah I tore my ACL and had to have a knee reconstruction.
I waited a whole year for the surgery, while waiting, my knee would pop out of alignment – then again at another gig my knee popped out and I fell in a gutter and I broke my wrist, I ended up waiting in the ER for 9 hours in my dweeb uniform, they wouldn’t give me pain meds cause they thought I was on drugs.
Still have a scar on my knee, I call it Ben Lee.
* Why did you guys break up anyhow?
It was pretty gnarly, I got pretty hurt by it. I think it kinda boiled down to people losing interest after years, having different hopes for the band and also low-key them being kinda mad at me for moving to Wollongong (I was still coming to Sydney for band practice and gigs) but yeah, it was pretty sad.
I worked really hard on Dweeb over the 7 years and sort of put growing up on hold and ended up feeling pretty used. But things were pretty tense for a few years, covid was really hard time, communication broke down and it culminated in big fight with some of them and we don’t speak anymore.
If people wanted to check out your art and music, work with you or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?
I’m kinda tragic at self promotion – You can check out my art on my instagram @daisyattack people usually just send me a message there and I make things for them that way.
I also have some of my wonky toys for sale at “This is Not a Toy Store” in Melbourne.
Dweeb City’s music is all on streaming services, we had a lot of music videos (I love making videos) on YouTube, and merch is still available through our BandCamp haha get it before I donate it to Salvos haha.
Odds & Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
The FUTURE! I have hopes humans pull their shit together- but also low-key wanna see if its a mess.
If we gotta go to the past, probably America in the 80s cause I love movies from that era and I reckon it would be so iconic and like a shitty girl remake of Back to the Future and I would get all the cool toys.
What does “God” mean to you?
When I was a young kid I thought of God sitting at a kitchen bench with one of those Play-Doh press machines that squeeze the dough out into shapes, but He just squeezing out humans haha.
Now I’m an adult I still have my Jesus collection but I also have a bunch of religious trauma but I still like the image of god playdoughing humans haha I dunno.
Does sex change everything?
Nah. I’m Asexual, never been a big thing for me.
What are the top 3 items you own?
… and what is it about each of them that you so love?
Salvation Mountain souvenir.
My supervisor at uni said that Leonard Knight is a hack and a one trick pony. I however, am a huge fan – so he gifted me this weird lil pen holder made by Leonard Knight when I finished uni. I love that its made out of trash (cardboard and glass bottles and liquid nails!) We share a last name and love of Trash.
Glow in the dark disco Jesus.
The pinnacle of my Jesus collection. I particularly love Jesuses who flash with disco lights – I have a few but this one my partner recently got me on a trip to Melbourne from a two dollar store and it makes me so happy whenever I see it.
Anpanman money box.
I saw this money box in Chinatown as a kid and I obsessed on it. I just love the design, the lil bread dude riding inside a car that’s also a toaster- unknowing what Anpanman was, I named him Mr Toast and would draw him heaps.
As a teen when I got a job I went back years later and it was still in this clothing shop, but was discounted to 5 bucks-I was so happy to finally have my own money to buy silly plastic lumps.
I would rather marry the Gobbledok but I feel that Louie is a lil scrappy and would play nasty I reckon, Gobbledok is hella fast tho – unless he is eating chips, but then Louie would be easily yeeted by a Mortien force field.
I’m gonna go for Louie, the Goobledok seems more goofy and less out for blood.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
A weird thing I’ve learnt is that some people don’t dream when they are depressed? So I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a dream eek.
I think I was filling out stressful paper work at Centrelink in my dreams hahaha how disappointing.
Of everything you have done so far, what would you most like to be remembered for?
All my weird lil creations are like cursed children to me its hard to pick a fave, maybe just cause its the most recent, but I just painted my car and it makes me so happy.
I used to love seeing weird painted cars around when I was younger (I feel like there are less these days) but I promised myself to paint my first car and I recently started painting it and everyone lets me merge now I love it.
All images supplied by Daisy.