Spotlight on street art

Ian Ballis, Jony, Indi and Hudson. (Joe Mastroianni). 212466_01

By Alesha Capone

Murals being painted along Pakington Street in Geelong West are adding colour and creativity to the area – already known as a cosmopolitan and cultural hotspot.

Artist and curator Ian Ballis from The Garage – a renovated 1950s garage which is now a vintage fashion store, gallery and art studio located on “Pako” Street – has joined forces with local traders, landlords and tenants for the art project.

Ballis said there were about 40 walls on Pakington Street, between Gordon Avenue to Church Street, which he was hoping to get painted.

“We’re activating the street as a street-art attraction,” Mr Ballis said.

“Pakington Street is very diverse.

“The theme of the murals is multiculturalism … we’re building on that theme and the Pako Festa which we held earlier this year in February, before the pandemic lockdown started.”

Ballis said that 11 of the murals have been completed so far. He said many more would have been finished if it were not for the coronavirus pandemic.

“The best aspect of painting murals in the street is the response from the public, as they pass by in amazement of what can be done with a spray can,” he said.

Ballis said Pakington Street traders had funded the first two murals, and that he and other local artists were doing the rest at cost, about $600.

“We supply the materials and the equipment, such as the paints and the scissor lifts for the artists to go up and paint in,” he said.

Ballis said that when pandemic restrictions allowed, The Garage also acted as a base for artists and offered street art classes for adults and children.

“The look on their faces is gold, as you describe how we interpret the image off our phone and paint it 100 times larger,” he said.

“Children are excited as we allow them to join in with a rattle of the can and a squirt of colour whilst adults stare with amazement.”

Details: facebook.com/thegaragegeelong/, instagram.com/garagegeelong/

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