A NEWLY painted mural has added a splash of colour to Moree, after fine artist James Ellis visited the town over the weekend to paint the larger-than-life-sized artwork.
LJ Hooker commissioned the three story and 12 meter long mural to be painted on the building at the corner of Heber Street and Roslyn Lane. With as few as two days and only a stockpile of spray cans at his disposal, James tackled the mammoth task.
“I have been working from sunrise to sunset, sometimes as late as 10pm,” he said.
The Brisbane-born artist worked closely with the real estate agency to determine the subject matter of the painting.
“I wanted to paint something that resonated with the community,” said James.
The end result: a visually vibrant portrait of a farmer and calf nestled in a field of oats.
“Moree has a rich history of farming, and agriculture is such an important aspect of the town,” said James.
The rising artist is quickly making a name for himself, having already painted murals in Queensland and towns surrounding Moree, such as Goondiwindi.
The 22-year old’s passion for art dates back to his early days, where he painted the streets of Brisbane during his teenage days. Police picked him up when was 19, which marked a turning point in the young man’s life.
“I didn’t want to stop painting, but obviously I didn’t want to break the law,” he said.
He said mural painting allowed him to pursue his passion and sidestep trouble.
“I strongly encourage anyone who has a passion for street art to become a mural or fine artist. It’s about doing what you love without running up against the law.”
He understands that some people might be daunted with the idea of making a living from art, saying there is a misconception of insecurity linked with the vocation.
“The starving artist is a myth. People think that they can’t make enough money from their passion. But once you believe in yourself, people will start to believe in you too.”
He is quick to correct anyone who might call him a graffiti artist, explaining the word is packed with negative connotations.
“Graffiti suggests that I am illegally painting the street walls, but that’s not what I’m doing. I’m being paid and also working closely with local councils to create these artworks.”
James said painting murals also had the power to change communities in a positive way.
“They help to brighten and improve a town. You can see it when a local walks past an artwork with a smile on their faces.”
He said that while locals were always supportive of adding a bit of colour to their streets, they often misplaced the responsibility in council.
“They think it’s up to their council to take the initiative and commission the artwork.”
He said it was up to locals to work closely with businesses.
“It’s in their hands, it’s up to them to take pride in their community.”
James thanked LJ Hooker for commissioning the artwork, Coateshire for the scissor lift and Moree Plains Shire Council for the speedy approval process.
“They have been supportive and good, helping to get this project off its feet.”