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Rudin, Johann and Raph Rashid at Tattoo Connection where Rudin works as a tattooist. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Rudin at Tattoo Connection. Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Rudin Rashid preparing colours. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Details of Rudin’s tattoo parlour.  The poster to the right is from a student art show by Rashids’ talented creative Dad, Abdul Rashid, who was an artist.  That pic in the oversized student ID card is him!  Photo – Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

For this month’s Family Portrait we’re hanging out with the Rashids, three highly driven Melbourne brothers with diverse creative backgrounds.  Having grown up with their equally creative parents Abdul and Lesley in Seaford in Melbourne’s south, Rafael /Raph (38), Rudin (34) and Johann (28) have each forged their own path creatively, but are connected by an intense work ethic, a strong sense of family, and an incredible respect for both their parents.

Ok let’s face it, Raph is basically Melbourne foodie royalty.  In his own words, Raph ‘makes burgers, tacos and donuts for a living’.  Better known as the founder and proprietor of the Beatbox Kitchen burger trucks, and the Taco Truck, Raph really kickstarted Melbourne’s food truck scene, and inspired an onslaught of other mobile food offerings across Melbourne and the rest of Australia.  Raph’s contribution to Melbourne’s food industry was recently recognised by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, who inducted him into their ‘Legends’ Hall of Fame earlier this year – BRILLIANT!  ‘I have amazing people working with me to keep me on track, and I am so lucky that I live in Melbourne and can do my thing’ says Raph.

Prior to his career in food, Raph was known in Melbourne’s music scene as a DJ, he also has his own recording label at once stage, and previously worked with his partner Beci Orpin on their own clothing label.

Rudin (also called Rudi) is a tattooist at Tattoo Connection, a popular and respected tattoo parlour in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  An avid illustrator and artist, Rudin also has a small home design studio with his wife called Tokyo Whiskers.  ‘We do screen printing on t-shirts, bags, and paper, and I do a lot of illustration and design for my own projects and other businesses’ says Rudin.  Rudin documents his various creative projects on a blog over here.

The Rashids’ youngest brother Johann makes music under the names Home Travel, Promise Land and Eastlink.  He is also a video artist/filmmaker and plays in the world of experimental film, also making the visuals to accompany his music.  Johann says he floats around the world based ‘nowhere in particular’!  (We actually caught Johann for this shoot just days before a big move to the USA… he spent most of the shoot trying to convince big brother Raph to store a bunch of his stuff for him whilst he is away…!).

All three brothers credit their parents for their work ethic and creative genes.  Their father, Abdul, was an artist, art teacher and a big foodie, and much like all three boys, seemed to have numerous creative projects on the go at any given time!  After Abdul passed away, eldest brother Raph assumed a fatherly role, particularly with youngest brother Johann.  Both brothers recall Raph’s many teachings which involved an early appreciation of rap music (Wu Tang!), graffiti, fashion and film. Raph is a serious, straight talking and very hardworking dude – I can totally imagine him stepping up to keep his younger brothers informed and in line!

Raph, Rudin and Johann also have incredible respect for their Mum, who they recall spent much of their childhood sewing clothes and gardening, as well as supporting each and every one of their creative endeavours without hesitation.  ‘My parents always supported me in anything I wanted to do, I don’t ever remember being told that something was a bad idea’ says Rudin.  Johann also remembers this unconditional support – ‘when we were kids the world was filled with unlimited possibilities, I mean there was one point I really wanted to be a breakdancing magician’ he says!

Raph, Rudin and Johann on their parents

You’ve all grown up to take on very creative career paths – can you tell us what it was like growing up in the Rashid household when you were younger?

Raph – Home life was cool. My Papi was the cook and my Mum sewed the clothes, kept the garden etc. Our parents worked and worked hard, then every few years
we would go on holiday. Travel was the best, even if it was just a quick trip to Phillip Island, new scenery was so vibrant.

Rudin – I always remember our house being very vibrant, Mum would make cushions out of batik from Malaysia and my father would be cooking or working on one of his many food and craft side projects. Growing up as the middle child I did a lot of cooking/drawing with my father, playing in the garden and being outdoors with my mother, listening to rap music and being influenced in style by my older brother Raph, and caring for my younger brother. There was always something going on in our household, and a lot of it revolved around food, art, sewing, and music.

Johann – My brothers are a little bit older than me, so I remember being left to my own devices a bit.  I do remember when I was about 13 Raph gave me a Hi8 camcorder because he got a new one. The only condition for him giving it to me was that I had to make a movie every week, so I would carry the camera everywhere I went. I made random skateboard films, horror, sci fi and even got into the existential, experimental vibe really young. I remember Rudin exposing me to Twin Peaks when I was in grade two, by grade three David Lynch’s Lost Highway was my favourite film. That’s the beauty of having older brothers, they secretly expose you to all the good stuff – which for us was film, music and skateboarding.

How have your parents influenced and supported what you’re all doing today?

Raph – They probably helped me understand the balance of creativity and real life. I don’t like to think about things for too long, I like to act on things. They didn’t give me lessons, they just lived with us.

Rudin – My parents definitely inspired me to be the person I am today, I remember doing a lot of drawing with my father, he would take me to school with him and I would sit in class while he taught and hang with his students drawing comics. We also used to cook together, and I remember helping him out on the weekends with his market stalls selling spices and cook books, I think I was the bum bag wearer and keeper of monies.

My parents also instilled a sense of travel in us, as our father was from Malaysia.  Raph and I were sent over when we were younger to stay with an uncle for months at a time, and this definitely had a big impact on me. I love the Malaysian culture and try to bring it into my own family life with my wife and son, we travel there once a year and I want to send my son over when he’s older, like my parents did with me.

We grew up in a Muslim household, although living here my father taught us what he believed, but always made sure we made our own decisions about things.

My Mum worked tirelessly to keep us all fed and secure. I think I owe my strong work ethic to her, as she was great at instilling a sense of pride in working for what you wanted, and saving. I always looked up to Raph and he really opened my eyes to music, graffiti and fashion. I remember him taking me on a mission when I was 13 while he painted a wall at 3.00 in the morning! I also remember him playing me Wu Tang for the first time and making me mix tapes. He definitely influenced me a lot growing up.

My parents always supported me in anything I wanted to do, I don’t ever remember being told that something was a bad idea, besides smoking in my early twenties but I’m pretty sure everyones parents didn’t like that. Even as I got into tattooing my mum was always cool with it and supported me, she was actually one of my first clients and proudly wears her swallow tattoo whenever she goes out dancing!

Johann - Mum always let me do whatever I wanted and whatever made me happy, so we became more like buddies and still hold a strong relationship. Same with my old man, the world was filled with unlimited possibilities, I mean there was one point I really wanted to be a breakdancing magician.

I was about 15 when my father past away, and because I was so young I think I became more distant for a while, and spent a lot of my time dealing with life internally. I think this is why I feel comfortable being the lone wolf of the family.  I enjoy being in my own thoughts for creativity.

With my father not really being around much before he passed, Raph really took on the father figure role in my life, which I guess is why he is so good with his own kids. In a strange but caring way he would look after me and let me hang around the factory where he worked, or let me stay at his house a lot. Along with this he was also super staunch and stern with me. Rudin was the one that got me drunk for the first time and let me come to his house parties!

I believe sometimes unconventional upbringings really work. You have to make up the rules for life as you go, learning the hard way so that you can make your future output even more vibrant. Both Rudin and Raph really practice this in their lives. Me, I’m still figuring a few things out. But I owe everything to my family, and when I’m with them I feel at home, and even when I’m far far far away on the other side of the world, I know that I am who I am because of them.

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The three Rashid brothers in Brunswick at Raph’s burger truck, Beatbox Kitchen. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Raph closing up shop at Beatbox Kitchen. Photo - Eve Wilson. Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

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Raph makes the best burgers! Photo - Sean Fennessy, production Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.