Artists get free hand to create a revolution

Coronation Hotel owner Bridget McLean wants to see youth culture like street art encouraged.
Coronation Hotel owner Bridget McLean wants to see youth culture like street art encouraged. David Nielsen

WORK with young street artists on a worthwhile project and the results can be stunning.

That is the experience The Coronation Hotel in Ipswich had when it commissioned artists Charles West, Corey Eggmolesse and Declan Balassa to paint their courtyard in a vibrant street art style.

Graffiti has been a hot topic in The QT in the past fortnight.

Wanton tagging at Rosewood skate bowl has been criticised heavily by Cr David Pahlke. Ipswich arts identity Gilbert Burgh has since put up his hand to work with Cr Pahlke and council to set up a pilot project where artists create street art works that the city can be proud of.

Coronation Hotel publican Bridget McLean is rightly proud of what the artists produced at her pub.

Local artists Charles West and Corey Eggmolesse and the art with which they decorated the beer garden at the Coronation Hotel in West Ipswich. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Local artists Charles West and Corey Eggmolesse and the art with which they decorated the beer garden at the Coronation Hotel in West Ipswich. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

The art gives the hotel the exact urban feel that it was looking for. A city scape with the word "Coro" decorates the back wall while other colourful designs have been painted by Mr Eggmolesse and Mr West on what were once bare walls. A motif of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara has also been painted by Mr Balassa, a graphic design student, on one of the courtyard's tables and is a favourite of patrons.

Ms McLean said the courtyard was a perfect place for the artists to express themselves.

"They were over the moon that we gave them the opportunity to have such a big area to work on," she said.

"It livened up such a dull area and one we didn't really know what to do with.

"People that see it, think it is awesome. Not everyone is an artist, but everyone can appreciate something that someone has done with their hands.

"There is nothing different to an artist graffiting this area to someone building a deck extension on their house, making a quilt or designing their own clothes.

"I don't agree with tagging, because I think it is tacky and the majority that do it are not artists.

"But this is quality street art and the young ones appreciate it. We wanted to create a point of difference here and we like art."

The hotel made the creation of the works a public art performance with the artists completing their designs in front of patrons.

"The artists are so talented, but there aren't a lot of places where they get the opportunity to express their talent," Ms McLean said.

"We gave them a space and let them do what they wanted with it. All we asked was for it to be colourful, bright and a talking point ... and they did the rest."

Ms McLean said she thought the same concept would work at skate bowls and in places linked to urban culture.

"We are going back towards that urban style.

"Being a hotel, we deal a lot with Red Bull. They have their own graffiti competition and from that they employ an artist to do work for them ... and that attracts the youth."

The pub is planning to get the artists back to paint some more famous faces from the past. Winston Churchill is next on the list with Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley not far behind. They were all revolutionaries in their own way, like Ms McLean.

"We chose Che because he was a revolutionary ... and that is the way we want to do things here," she grinned.

"We are rebels in the industry and we do things different. The art work out here is urban and that is what we are going to work with. It is going to get bigger and better."

Topics:  david pahlke graffiti tagging

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