It was there that Sonny met his business partner (and now wife), Biddy Maroney. It was there he launched his own coffee brand (Golden Cobra) with business partner David Gilfillan, and it was there that he eventually moved into working his passion – full-time design.
Sonny is inspired by music (aren’t we all?) and is always working with some kind of music on. Fittingly, the start of his professional design output was for friends and contacts in the music industry. His staple was creating tour posters that reverberated with a fresh and textured energy, and from there it was a natural next step diversify his mediums – designing band merch.
His business with Biddy (W$YK) lists some familiar clients (The New York Times, Penguin, Sydney Dance Company, Disney, Apple, Element Skateboards, Adidas, Rolling Stone, Urban Outfitters, MTV, Converse, Universal Music) but Sonny’s personal mural art also speaks for itself.
Sonny’s painting projects embody a mythical surrealism. They are like looking at the art equivalent of a tropical fruit cocktail with a heavy pour of spirits. His work often combines delicate and dangerous elements – it’s not uncommon to see a shark paired with a flower, a skull accompanied by a tube of lipstick, or a revolver with a butterfly. There is a bright playfulness here, something like modern pop art meets street art, meets a punch of colour. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like it.
Sonny’s art also has a special place in PHH itself. Before the official opening of the hotel, he stayed in residence for several weeks, leaving his mark on corridor and bedroom walls. Come see a shark swim with a cigarette, or two high-heeled legs lounge out of a peace-sign, or every time you step into our elevator you’ll be enveloped by his pink hibiscuses and diving man. Then when the time sadly comes to say ‘goodbye’, Sonny’s art is one of the last things you’ll see on your way out – reminding you to return your room keys with a mural of a keychain, an alien-head, and a red rose.