At the start of the year, I shared with you the wonderful news of being shortlisted for the Beerwah Library mural. I was so thrilled to receive a phone call with the exciting news that my designs had received the most amount of votes. This was fantastic news I was invited to come in and I had a lovely meeting with the staff that runs the Sunshine Coast Libraries. We made a few adjustments and some clarifications around the proposed workshop. We were good to go. This was the chosen design.
To make sure everything was still on track I called the library. Unfortunately, the news I received wasn’t great. The funding had been pulled from the project. I was so crushed and devastated and so were my fellow shortlisted artists, the Arts curator and the wonderful people from the Sunshine Coast Council. They asked to come in for a meeting. I was very curious about what this could be. First off, they let me know they were still trying to find funding elsewhere. They told me they were so taken by the design and the story behind it that they asked me if they could use the design on the inside of the library. After a good conversation with ideas going back and forth, we decided I was going to be painting a spin-off of the original design. How amazing was that?
I made a proposal for the design for the 25 meters long and 5.7-meter high wall. I made a model and presented this to the panel. They absolutely loved it and it was going to fit in very well with the planned renovations. But something threw a spanner into the works. I had an incident while ice-skating with a friend earlier in the year. I had torn off my ACL in my right knee. My ACL needed a full reconstruction and the earliest time available for the surgery was right during the renovation. This is when the library was going to be empty and scissor lifts were going to be on site. My knee needed healing and the mural got postponed a few weeks. The painters were so kind to paint the wall in my chosen background colour for my mural, which gave me a great head start.
When I was well enough to paint again we came across some logistical challenges. There now was a bookcase that was fixed to the wall. This made access to the wall very difficult. The library was also filled with new bookcases and this made access for the scissor lift very hard. With some nifty measuring and some wonderful help from the library staff, we managed to get the scissor lift through the door and through the security gates. It was a bit tricky, but I made it to the other end. I was now ready to start the 25 meters long mural.
It was a fantastic experience and the lovely comments of the staff and visitors were just amazing. Thanks for the great vibes everyone.
Thank you to everyone for putting up with the loud beeping of the scissor lift. It was definitely a nuisance but this couldn’t be helped.
Here is the final result for the inside of the Beerwah mural. Watch the video below how it was created.
During my recovery from my knee reconstruction, I had some time to think about what had taken place around the outside mural. The library had attempted to find funding elsewhere, but all attempts were unsuccessful. There was too much time invested by so many people. Everyone was so devastated it go ahead in the end. I had to find a way to find funding for the project to still go ahead. I contacted the RADF team to see what type of grant I possibly could apply for. The personal development grant fitted this project perfectly. It was not going to cover all expenses, but with a little financial support from a third party, we would get pretty far.
The Beerwah library was excited to hear I was not giving up and were jumped on board with some financial support. I had asked the IFYS Beerwah and PCYC Nambour if they were interested for their young people to take part in a workshop. The workshop would incorporate background and texture techniques and double at the same time as a graffiti prevention program. This would be a great way for the young people to engage in a community project. They would gain new skills and feel connected to the project and have a sense of ownership. They both didn’t hesitate to jump to the opportunity and were willing to contribute towards materials for the workshop.
I approached, Arts Connect INC., Landsborough Art Studio, The combined PROBUS club of the Glass House Mountains. They were all very supportive of the project and provided me with excellent letters of support for the Black Glossy Cockatoo mural and workshop.
My first full application for a RADF grant was now submitted and now all I had to do was wait 6 weeks to find out if my application was successful. It felt like an eternity, but the great news was worth the wait. Arts Queensland RADF were delighted to grant me the funding for the Black Glossy Cockatoo mural and workshop. Wow, did this really just happen? A bit of a proud moment here. The very next week I arrived on site to meet Julie Hauritz (Arts Curator, Sunshine Coast Council) for the site inspection. The scissor lift had already arrived just 5 minutes before I arrived as well. It was all happening. Even the sun came out. it was the perfect day to start the mural.
Over the weekend I had checked what the weather would be like for the week. It was going to be fine at the start of the week and showers from Thursday. The scissor lift was hired for one week and there was no room in the budget to rent it for any longer. I needed to squeeze my hours I had planned into three days and hoping I would get it done in time. Long days it was going to be and I was fine with that. As long as the result was going to be amazing.
The painting of the mural went very smooth. I was so glad I had planned it so well and prepared all my colours ahead of time in my studio. Normally I would do this on site so I could blend the colours in the light in which the mural was going to be exposed to. But it worked out well and saved me tons of time on site. I only needed to make one small adjustment. Having visited the site several times before to get a feeling for the light and space had paid off.
During the days I was working on the mural quite a few members of the public stopped to have a look and a chat. The feedback I was receiving was so positive. They were all so happy to have such a wonderful and meaningful artwork being painted in their town. A lovely lady offered to take some photos of me while working for my records. I am now so happy that I persevered and I was able to paint the mural.
The mural turned out amazing. I now had completed my first public mural. Many murals have gone before this one, but they were all privately commisioned by individuals and businesses. This mural was now for a whole community to enjoy. It has beautified the town and has created community engagement. I was able to further develop my painting techniques and work towards developing my style. Seawalls and First Coast I hope to create murals with one day. I hope this mural is one step closer to further develop myself as a successful street artist.
A few weeks after the mural was completed the texture and background workshop took place. Kylie from IFYS arrived just as I was setting up. We patiently waited for her young people to arrive, but they never did. Something had happened the week before and therefore there was more police presence in Beerwah. This had spooked the young people and they were nowhere to be seen. Right on time, the bus with the PCYS S.W.A.G crew showed up and we got started with the workshop.
I kicked off the workshop with some graffiti and street art history. So they learned the importance of storytelling through art. Instead of focussing on the negative aspects of tagging and graffiti I focussed on the positives. By showing them some very successful street artists and their work. And most importantly on how these people got to become so good. Recently I met street artist DOES who I have been following for many years and seen him develop into a very meticulous and innovative artist. I showed the young people his visual diary and videos of him at work. They could see the many years of practicing writing letters that have gone into his work. And that keeping a visual diary is a better option than tagging someone’s property.
It was an inspirational moment for the young people and they were keen to get started. They had to find inspiration in shapes, patterns and materials they could find on site. Then they could use these materials and stencils and implements I had brought along, to experiment with. I was there to assist, encourage and keep them focused on the task at hand. They showed amazing engagement and really got stuck in trying all sorts of different ways of creating textures. Just before lunch they prepped their canvasses ready to paint their canvasses based on their best experiments.
During lunch, I gave them an aerosol demo. I showed them some simple ways to creates a few different textures and patterns and gave them some tips on how to make their work pop. By using contrasting colours and a couple of highlights, this can really make a piece come to life.
Now it was time to create their own masterpieces starting with applying the background made up of patterns or textures. They got to finish off their work by adding the final layer with aerosol. They really pulled out all stops and did a wonderful job. I am very proud of their efforts. Seeing all of them out of their comfort zone and so engaged was really great. One very successful workshop.
This project was a complete success. Thanks to all the support and participation by everyone involved. I couldn’t have done it without you. A special thank you to:
- Sunshine Coast Council
- Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF)
- Arts Queensland
- Beerwah Library
- Arts Connect INC.
- Landsborough Art Studio
- The combined PROBUS club of the Glass House Mountains
- PCYC Nambour (SWAG)
- IFYS Beerwah
- Lyndon Davis (Gubbi Gubbi)