For those of you who have warmly followed the journey of this project, the wait is over! I have a few simple pictures of the final result of this mural. For those of you who don’t know WTF I’m talking about, lemme bring you up to speed...
In November of last year, 2018 SA Senior Australian of the Year nominee and all round people's champion, Glyn Scott, commissioned me to paint a mural on the outside wall of the Love Hope & Gratitude Foundation's new Cafe and Treasure Trove situated on McLaren street in Mt Barker. This was my very first ever wall mural, which was a very positive and exciting challenge for me….
And oh boy, challenging it was!
The first challenge: The side wall was 30 meters long (98.4 feet) and on a slope. This made working on scaffolding a little precarious at times and tricky for little old weeny-weakling me to move the frame and secure it from wobbles on my own (Here is where I’d like to thank Dave Innes, Jeff Innes and Dylan Kelly for being able to assist and ensure my safety. I salute you!)
Second challenge: The texture of the wall was bagged with a coarse gravel finish which required several coats of paint to cover crevasses the brushes would miss (Here I would like to thank Dylan Kelly, Cheryl Day and Annette Innes for doing some of the under-painting touch ups).
Challenge three was the trickiest and cruelest. The weather. Some days were so hot that it was just dangerous to be outside. Adelaide's record for hottest day ever was broken during my engagement on this project (January 24th 2019, 46.2C). Mornings painting the side wall in shade was fine until the sun would find me at about midday. Painting the front wall was fine from the mid afternoon until the sun began to set. However some days were so hot that it was impossible to be outside, and not just because it was uncomfortable and dangerous, the heat would turn the paint to plastic so that it would be unusable.
Some of the things I really enjoyed about the overall project experience was the interaction and feedback I would get from passing locals who would stop and comment on the work. In particular young children cos they have no filter. Almost all feedback was positive and encouraging which was reassuring. I also enjoyed zoning out and being in "my zen" as I painted. Often when I paint it’s like meditation where my mind goes completely blank, and is a really lovely peaceful feeling.
Some of other favourite moments about this experience was walking from Littlehampton into Mt Barker and back via an old abandoned train line. I would be completely alone on those walks in the early morning or pre sunset. Often I’d see bunny-wunnies on this walk. One time there was a kangaroo and a blue tongue lizard, I even saw a small tiger snake shoot across the path in front of me! It was pretty special having that time to myself walking along the train track, it is a memory I’ll cherish. However my all-time favorite thing about this project experience was staying with Dave and Annette Innes. They generously put me up in their home in Littlehampton and often drove me about on really hot days during the project. During my time at their place I was plied with very nice wines and good conversation. I had some really memorable and deLIPcious meals at their place, specifically the pork belly, then the chateaubriand….. and also the roast chicken…. Arrrgh! Look the list could go on. Nom nom nom! And I especially felt very fortunate and appreciative to have been invited to spend last Christmas with them and their family. Thank you Annette and Dave.
Other people I would like to thank Chris Carpenter of Hills Radio for the interviews, support and encouragement. The Weekender Herald for the publicity in the paper and Bob Ellisdon of Outback Bob Photography who took the beautiful photos of me working on the wall which went into the Weekender Herald. Finally I would also like to take the opportunity to thank my beautiful friend Jennifer Innes, for she was the connection that advocated I do this commission in the first place. Without her I would have never had this experience. Fanks dude!
Despite the challenges and setbacks, this was a very rewarding adventure in itself. I learnt a lot. For example, next time I would invest in getting a cherry picker license and I would want to use spray cans in addition to paint brushes. Also I would be mindful of the season and weather, cos burnt ears and overly tanned ankles contrasting white lily calves is not a sexy look.
Almost a month on from talented Writer and Publisher Aaron Brindle's book launch at Moon Dog Craft Brewery, and his two new children's books "Fly Sebastian Fly" and "Sebastian's Wonderful Find" continue to snowball in sales and popularity. Amongst all the excitement and hype here I am feeling quite pleased and self satisfied with myself. You see I did the illustrations... and I happen to think I did a pretty great job.
However... perhaps before I do get too ahead of myself I should acknowledge the truth of the matter, and the truth is - I could not have done such a awesome job on the illustrations if it hadn't have been for Brindle in the first place. It was his clear and clever writing style that made envisaging his story characters so natural and real. Also Brindle's carefully considered direction, planning and communication made collaborating with him so easy and fun! It's always a pleasure when you get a client who's organised and thorough... and who actually knows what they want! (... Oops! Is that too rude to admit out loud?)
I'm so genuinely proud of the artwork I created for Brindle's books, but I could not have done it with a Writer and Publisher who was so passionate and clear about their vision in the first place. If you are interested in checking out and purchasing a copy of the Sebastian books, or "The Den of Lost Hours" poetry book - I think Aaron may still have a few copies left and you can contact him here: www.aaronbrindle.com
Alternatively you can also purchase eBook versions via the following websites:
Kobo CLICK HERE
iTunes CLICK HERE
Booktopia CLICK HERE
Amazon CLICK HERE
Have you ever seen the movie "Big"?
Made in 1988, starring Tom Hanks. In the film there is an amusement park fortunetelling machine called "Zoltar" which grants a young boy's wish... to be Big. It's a great film if you've not seen it.
Last year concept artist Robert Lingham approached me with an unusual project. He was making his own fortunetelling automation inspired by the film's Zoltar machine. However his invention would be made of his own style and design. He called this his "Pet project" and it had no real deadline as building the machine and getting it right was key priority. What he asked me was, would I be interested in designing and illustrating the posters that would feature on the side of the masterpiece.
"Hell's yeah!" was my response. Having previously executed my own artwork and exhibitions inspired by the "Sideshow" theme and wanting the opportunity to create more vintage looking work, this project was gold!
We collaborated together on how the poster should look, aiming for a steampunk meets art deco meets sideshow kinda image. Eventually after the artwork submission from me and some final mechanical tinkering on the machine by Lingham, "Dr Ricktor's Amazing Automation" was alive!
To date Dr. Ricktor has made very popular appearances at the Rainbow Serpent Festival and White Night in Ballarat.
(Photos supplied Rob Lingham. White Night in Ballarat 2017)
Congrats to me!
This time a year ago I had just chucked my "day job" and I have never looked back.
Last year I had been balancing this particular job - which had faithfully paid my bills for the last 5 years - with the occasional illustration or painted commission. It was an alright job, my colleagues were lovely, and as I said it paid the bills. Unfortunately it wasn't a challenging role and I often felt bored. My vivid imagination was restless and ached to fly in clear blue skies of creative freedom. What bliss!
One day after watching too much of AMC's 'The Walking Dead', I thought to myself, "If the zombie apocalypse does come and I'm turned into a Walker (zombie).... what kinda zombie would I be?"
Don't get me wrong, I'd actually been thinking about quitting this job for a long time and I had invested months of thoughtful argument and vacillation. In the end the turning point, as silly as it sounds - but as a metaphor is on point - was that I didn't like the idea of being an eternal Walker (zombie) who hadn't at least tried to follow their dreams before an irreversible change - that would be sad!
For me, life is too short to not pursue things I liked and was good at. I said to myself "I'm good at drawing and painting and I like drawing and painting, so I should just do that as my full time job".
With that in mind I took a chance on the whole freelance illustration gig and I can honestly say 12 months later it was still the right decision for me. So far it's not a lot of money (yet), however it is the same money I was making in the job I said goodbye to a year ago.
Since focusing on illustration full time I've been constantly busy, challenged and I'm SO happy. If the zombie apocalypse does come I'll be a pretty happy and self fulfilled "Walker".
(Below is a sample of the illustration projects I have undertaken in the last 12 months.)
(Left to right, top to bottom) "Fly Sebastian Fly" Author Aaron Brindle, Crescent Moon Books. "Dr Ricktor's Amazing Automaton" Automation machine artist Robert Lingham. Personalised caricature for engagement gift. Personalised caricature for birthday gift. Personalised caricature for wedding gift. "My Name is Sam" Author Wes Stuart, Createspace Independent Publishing. "The Fear Collectors" Author Lauren E. Mitchell, Amazon.com. Personalised caricature for wedding gift. "I Wipe Better Than You" Author Kevin Fahey, Amazon.com. Concept illustrations for Pumpa surfboards. Personalised skateboard deck. Personalised caricature for wedding anniversary present.