Monday, 9 January 2012

New Newcastle Mural: The Vision Beyond The Vision

Article by Laura Wilson on July 5, 2011. Photography by Laura Wilson also.

Originally published by

A new public artwork has graced the streets of Newcastle! Have you noticed the new city mural on the corner of Hunter and Steel Streets yet?

The design is by nationally renowned artist Lezlie Tilley. The project has been implemented by Second Year Painting students of the Newcastle Art School (TAFE) Hunter Institute and funded by the Hunter Development Corporation. It is based on her work Pages from an A-less Novel, 2011.

The original work consists of over 50 pages, created when Tilley went through the small novel, Casey, and traced all of the a’s onto good quality paper. She then took her ‘a-less’ novel and joined the dots. The result was favourable and consistent with Tilley’s style. She likens it to telephone doodles that she has created all of her life. Overlapping, building up, a metaphor for connection, symbolising one to one communication and dialogue, when it starts and stops.

Knowing her balanced, perfectionist, style I commented that it must have been a challenge to relinquish the control that is so fundamental to her works. She responded by saying that although the work is her first public mural, it is not about her, it is a work about the art school. She said she is pleased with the end result, but just as pleasing was watching the students work so diligently to paint 90 metres of panels in just 3 days.

Impressively, much of the work was free hand, even the straight lines. The overall design was executed by using templates from Tilley’s original pages. They were projected onto a wall where large sheets of plastic were marked and small holes punched out to create the exact pattern. The sheets of plastic were then placed on the panels where small dots of paint were put through the holes to make the design template. The art students did the rest of the work.

The result is a visually stimulating, engaging, thought-provoking work that creates a positive atmosphere on what could have been dilapidated or poster cluttered walls on the city streets. Tilley’s vision has been rendered on a large scale and it is nice to also see the city with artistic vision.

Lets hope we can see more promotion of our city’s artistic talent in our new branding of Newcastle.