A Concrete Canvas

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One of my favourite things is to stumble upon an unexpected burst of colour in my travels around the neighbourhood. A liberal splashing of paint over an otherwise bland and ugly wall is a welcome surprise in more than one St Kilda location.

It’s even more exciting when the artist happens to be still working on the project and you get to see the masterpiece evolve before your eyes. Recently, I had the good fortune to witness the creation of two separate ‘works in progress’ on Inkerman Street walls.

The first is a simple but brilliant concept that I learnt of, quite by accident, when I passed by Mary Lou Pavlovic hand painting on top of a ladder.

This spectacular 80 square meter public artwork, entitled ‘Outsider’, has been created by Mary Lou Pavlovic with help from other local community members and is located on the walls of the Telstra St Kilda Telephone exchange, at 62 Inkerman Street. It was funded through the City of Port Phillip ‘cultural development fund’ and was presented as part of the St Kilda festival.

Mary Lou Pavlovic says that the project came about as a direct call to Telstra, requesting to paint their walls, of where she works and lives.

“It acts as a type of intervention in the local landscape, as now the area incorporates the artistic values of some of its residents, rather than what is put in place at the corporate or multi-million dollar level”.

Acting Mayor, Cr Frank O’Connor says, “The work is a kaleidoscopic delight, transforming this area into one of community enjoyment. The City of Port Phillip is proud to support the work of local artists, like Mary Lou Pavlovic, who create work in collaboration with the local community.

Photo © Steve Anderssen 2012


Mary Lou Pavlovic


“The best part of working on this project has been talking to passers-by as we are making it, from all walks of life. Through this I have realized how little of this type of joyous, creative work is present in our environment and for many it has a high degree of positive emotional impact.”

The second art location is an otherwise ordinary laneway that runs between 169 & 171 Inkerman Street, through to Pakington Street. There is an existing mural that runs the full length of the walkway on one side. This impressive work was painted some time ago by various community artists and depicts themes, ranging from rain forest & conservation to modern sci fi fantasy.

The recent erection of a new apartment block in this laneway saw the emergence of yet another concrete canvas, several meters long. A spray painted mural has been commissioned by the building owners, to compliment this already spectacular thoroughfare.

I frequently use this short cut to admire the art and on various occasions have found a lone masked figure up a ladder, intently spraying cans of paint. He is a 28 year old, Malaysian-born artist, known as Drew Funk.

I feel privileged seeing him transform this wall into art that culminates with an impressive dragon at the centre of the walk.

For weeks, I have passed quietly by, not wishing to disturb an artist at work, until one day curiosity got the better of me.

“Is this in honour of the Chinese Year of the Dragon?” I asked.

“No not really, I have painted many dragons but this is my first one this year.”

Upon further questioning I discovered that this work is titled ‘Dragon Fisherman’ and was inspired by another piece that he had painted called ‘The Origami God’.

Drew Funk’s talents started as a hobby some eleven years ago. He has since gained a degree with RMIT (Bachelor of Multi Media) and has been painting professionally for the past four years. His work is also visible at www.drewfunk.com and has been featured in the Age and the Herald Sun.

If you wish to support, contact or commission these or any other artistic members of our local creative community, I urge you to contact the City of Port Phillip. www.portphillip.vic.gov.au

By Stever Anderssen

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