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Transforming Public Spaces Through Art: The Power of Creative Expression

"Our primary objective for the project was to add visual interest to a substantial blank wall that interfaced with Groom Park.  At the same time, it was crucially important that the work tied into the natural setting/elements of the park and complimented the setting rather than overwhelming it. The installation has a hugely disarming influence on what would have otherwise been a jarring visual engagement from the park; turning what could have been a negative public opinion of the building’s inclusion to this setting into a positive.  Instead of fielding complaints from the community as is often the case with such a substantial building with no glass elements on the back side, we have actually fielded resident and park-user commentary complimenting the mural’s success in delivering something that is visually interesting and calming." 

"The whole experience was a genuine positive in the lens of the project.  It has re-emphasised not only the value of considered public art as a means to add visual interest to a building; but its ability to bring about more positive engagement with the local community."

Jon Crampton, Director Motif Properties

Artist Statement (Video Audio)

As a visual artist it’s an exciting challenge to create something of this scale.  These two paintings were part of a new development in Toowoomba, Queensland. The client grew up locally and learnt to ride a bike at Groom park, like many generations of Toowoomba kids. They wished to give back to the community by including a custom designed mural on the back of the new building. Acting as a backdrop to the neighbouring park, the mural features large organic shapes and bold colours. 

The playful design creates a rhythmic motion along the wall - much like the wind is behind you and the sky's the limit. It is a celebration of wide-open spaces, childhood and the joy of play. Artworks in urban settings such as this are a testament to the power of art to inspire, to welcome visitors, create safe spaces and evoke a sense of wonder. It encourages our little ones to dream big, to embrace the beauty of nature, and to never stop exploring the world around them. This was summed up perfectly by a mother driving past with her children and her seven-year-old said “Mum that wall makes me feel like I'm going to have a good day.”

Art has the incredible ability to transform spaces and ignite emotions. As an artist, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the community in this way, and I hope this mural serves as a source of inspiration for generations to come.

Australian Artist, Katie Whyte

The Design Commission Process

"The process was very simple and professional.  Following a brief scoping discussion on site, we were delivered high level concepts which we were able to engage with and guide to the ultimate design.  We were happy to take a backseat to the design exercise but were appreciative of the opportunity to help guide minor elements such as the extent and colour palette to some degree.  The process was seamless and we were very happy with how the work came together."

Jon Crampton, Director Motif Properties

The commission process was broken down into two stages - designing and installing. This allowed time to consult with the client, project manager the local council to ensure the design I delivered ticked all the boxes before I started.  My goal for the project was to use this opportunity to paint something for a younger audience as the nearby park is frequently used by schools to teach road safety to primary school aged kids on bikes and scooters.

The design process started with conversations with the client about their desired outcome and timeframe. Once invoiced, I started with initial sketches to develop a concept to cover the entire wall, keeping the shapes large and details to a minimum to reduce overall painting time. These drawings were then developed with further consultation with the client and council to produce a design pitch, installation recommendations and to-scale digital plans of the artwork on the confirmed wall surfaces. After the designs were approved, I began planning the installation stage, acquiring materials, identifying potential risk factors, and scheduling dates to be on site - 5 weeks minus a few days of bad weather.

The mural consisted of two separate walls. The total length of the mural exceeded 70m, with the height of 6m at the rear wall and 7-8m on the side wall. The design was marked up by hand using a 1x1m grid method. That is a total of 458.5 square meters painted by hand, by one person.

This was an enjoyable project working with Motif Properties and Hutchinson Builders to deliver my largest mural yet. The whole process was quite quick, and was made easy by clear and professional communication between all parties and flexibility in times of challenges. This was a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the construction of a new building, create something for the community and to practice my painting skills on a grand scale. The biggest challenge was marking-up a design by hand with curved lines 20+ meters long, and learning to read the rain radar. I'm a professional rain predictor now.

I look forward to developing more large scale murals in the future, applying new painting techniques to create compositions of colour and shapes to capture the imagination of new spaces and those who occupy them. I am currently available to work anywhere in Australia and look forward to having more conversations about how art can transform public spaces and have a positive impact on those who experience it, at any age.

Australian Artist, Katie Whyte

Contact the artist here.

Mural documentation by Castle & Crown, Toowoomba.

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