Who is Mr Bucket?

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By Steve Anderssen

Recently I had a friend from interstate stay for a long weekend and thought we’d check out the Sunday morning atmosphere of St Kilda. I normally sleep through Sunday mornings, so it was a rare to experience the things that go on in my patch at that time of the week.

Luna Park was in full swing, which was just as well because we needed a toilet break before weaving our way along the Sunday Market on the Upper Esplanade. It had been years since I had bothered to go along and support our local arts and craft producers and I was very impressed by what I saw.

There were all manner of interesting things on display: Chinese calligraphy, leather belts, silk scarves, ceramic wind chimes, wooden money boxes and all manner of arts and crafts were on display. There was even one talented artist who was applying paint to canvas with a trowel, like cement but ever so delicately, while onlookers stood by in awe of her skill.

As we made our way under the towering palm trees, the Restaurant Tram rattling by, adding to the flavours of my beloved St Kilda, I was feeling very proud to be part of such an eclectic and arty community.

Then, suddenly, my attention was drawn to an unusual figure propped against a pole. At first I thought it might be the ghost of Ned Kelly, who had decided to come to St Kilda for a coffee and spot of browsing. But, on closer inspection, it turned out to be nothing more than a mannequin with a bucket on its head.

I was very intrigued by it, partly because it seemed to stand apart from the market stalls. But, as I got closer to it, I found that I had been drawn, unwittingly, to one of the tents displaying t-shirts of various Mr Bucket designs.

“So, who is Mr Bucket?” I asked the storeholder.

“He is a man of mystery and the wild man of fashion,” said the man, rather enigmatically. “He started life as a metaphorical concept” he went on to say, “and has become an accidental hero.”

It all sounded a little metaphysical, so I kept quizzing him, in the hope that he’d give something a little more concrete. And he turned out the right person to do it because he is David Marsh, the man responsible for creating Mr Bucket.

I was already designing t-shirts and was looking for an identity or logo,” he said.

“I was driving along one day with my sister and my nephew, whom she called “bucket head” as a joke, and that is how Mr Bucket was born.”

The original character was a Carey Grant type figure with a bucket on his head, but he evolved into a “Mr Suburbia”, or a 1950’s style dad figure.

Mr Bucket now features in various scenarios with accompanying sayings like ‘Mr Bucket mows the lawn’ or riding a motor bike with ‘Rebel with a bucket’. Each design depicts a different story and narrative and there is even a Mrs Bucket. The t-shirts are then presented in uniquely designed packaging that looks something like a paper carton with Mr Bucket on the lid.

David has been selling his original t-shirts at the Sunday Esplanade Markets for the last 4 years, from 10 am to 5pm. His designs are inspired by real life, like ‘Mr Bucket being attacked by magpies’ or ‘Vote for Mr Bucket’. Could Mr Bucket become a St Kilda character with cult following?

I am not sure, but I can tell you that as we continued on our way towards the St Kilda Pier for lunch, we happened upon a couple getting married on the beach in formal attire and I couldn’t help but imagine the bride and groom with buckets on their heads.  I’m sure that David has a t-shirt design for that occasion too.

Check out David’s designs on: www.mrbucket.com.au

For more info on the Sunday Market, go to: www.stkildamarket.com

“Get me Mr Bucket” photo © David Marsh

All other photos © Steve Anderssen 2012

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