One of my final acts before I left the hated day job was to commission a mural to fill the front courtyard of our Arts Centre. The building is too far back from the road, and the courtyard was the kind of dull grey-brown landscape you get when you ask Council planners to make a space attractive. As consequence, the building disappears from the road– it simply doesn’t attract the attention of passers-by as it should.
I was fortunate in that one of the submissions for the work came from one of the most artistically ambitious and unafraid artists in the region: Jacq Chorlton, who proposed a swirling vortex of stark black and white striations that swirled past the edge of the courtyard and onto the footpaths beyond.
I fought, largely unsuccessfully, for eight years to get work into local open spaces that were more than simple representations– Rockingham’s public art is largely vanilla, with nothing to truly capture the imagination or stick in the memory. The Arts Centre is one space where I had a few successes: the building looks like nothing around it, and had I stayed, I would have pushed that envelope further and further.