The streets of Launceston are transformed by art of every type thanks to the work of hundreds of school children and artists involved in the Streets Alive Junky to Funky Arts Trail.
An example of this is Steve Colwell’s Spring Cheer, plastic ball flowers that are planted throughout the Civic Square. Delightful clusters of these colourful creations are made from cutting up rubber balls and reconfiguring them into flowers. Sandbags Alive was created by Access Arts Link artists and sit in a garden on the corner of Cameron and St John Streets. Quirky sandbag people are made from the sandbags that were originally used to protect The Studio – the home of Interweave Arts at Inveresk. These have been made by artists and children through Access Arts. Proud and welcoming, this and many other works on the Art Trail provide humour and an invitation to all ages to enjoy such creations. There is also an overwhelming sense of joy created by both these works.
The aim of the Art Trail is to transform public spaces and that is exactly what they have achieved. Linda Barker’s dragonflies made from bark and sticks are suspended from trees in the civic square. She has greeted hundreds of children over the last 2 days inviting them to make, create and show their pieces in public alongside other artists.
Martin Cole and Karen Austin have produced colourful flags in Tent Dream. These hang along Paterson Street that are made from old tents used at the Falls Festival. It is a delight to wander the streets and find these treasures and that is the intention of the work as curator, Ralf Haertel explains.
‘It’s about putting art in places where people happen upon it and brightening people’s experience of the city.’
If that doesn’t bring a smile to your dial, try resisting Mr Happy Happy, a character created by artist Gerard Smith who uses a computer to generate the images. Copied images of Mr Happy Happy in all sorts of situations are pasted around the city, so look out for them.
Mother and daughter team, Minna and Ro have produced a series of collages exhibited on Gender Lane (ArtTas Building). The piece titled Straight Messages explores the mass media and advertising and its effect on individuals.
Upcycled street art, recycled from Stompin Youth’s production titled Home cover the windows of the old Rik Sloane Cycles shop on Paterson Street. Bold and raw, they leap out at people and are perfectly suited to the urban location.
While there is too much to mention in this short blog there are a few stand out works. A highlight is Liz Russell-Arnot’s Toxic Beauty 2; a collection of underwater creatures exquisitely crafted from plastic bottles. It is clear that this artist has spent time exploring this medium and it has paid off. She has produced a delicate, beautiful and evocative work that is worthy of much greater attention than the passing foot traffic in the Brisbane Arcade. It is quite breathtaking.
What I Say is a work by Aboriginal artist Vicki West that has been recycled from a previous piece. Installed on the front of the Office of Premier Building in Paterson Street, it is a beautifully produced work made from Dodda vine, an indigenous plant and introduced species New Zealand flax. The title gives away a little of the intention of this work that is a commentary on the treatment of indigenous communities by government. Ironic but appropriate then that it hangs on such a building. The loops of textured, plaited and woven fibre that hang on the facade remind me of coronation decorations signalling a celebration.
Another sweet but significant piece is Butterflies in Flight by Louisa Jones and for a big finish check out Richie Ares Dona’s Grasp which is a rhythmical and organic celebration of milk bottles suspended en masse
It took me about an hour to see this, but I still missed some. So get a coffee from Two Hands Coffee in Civic Square and have a wander. It is well worth it.
Streets Alive is a program of Interweave Arts. Maps for the Art Trail are available from the information tent in Civic Square.