Narrandera’s water tower is taking on a new lease of life with a montage of native animals, the Murrumbidgee River, historic buildings and indigenous symbols under the hands of a team of artists.
The street and digital artists from Apparition Media are working to make the water tower one of the most iconic tourist landmarks in the Riverina.
The $129,950 Art on the Water Tower project, funded under the Drought Communities Program, is the outcome of a series of workshops between local artists, youth and Apparition Media staff to create a stunning local design.
Four artists have been working at height using boom lifts since Monday to hand paint the design using around 60 litres of paint.
Apparition Media director Tristan Minter said the design featured a lizard, koala, river red gums, historic buildings and the river, together with indigenious symbols.
Last year, the company completed 200 separate murals, ranging from large advertising signs to offices and live paintings at events, but the water tower is their largest canvas to date.
“A bit of luck and things go smoothly with the weather, it should be done by Friday afternoon,” Mr Minter said. “This is the first water tower we have done and could be the start of many – people legimately travel to see these artworks bringing money into the community.
“Having tourists come through and enjoy the river and town is really important, and the more that can be done to boost that, the better.”
Riverina born and bred, Mr Minter was familiar with the area but had never visited Narrandera before.
“My first impression was a lovely country town with a vibrant main street with a really nice feel to it,” he said. “Having community input to the design was important to me and the Council – we wanted something the community could feel was their own and represented the town well.
“We had community consultations with a diverse breadth of opinions, and we did some workshops with local kids.
“The subject matter had to be what represented Narrandera the best.”
Mr Minter said the artwork would measure 20 metres wide by 15 metres high, starting four metres from the ground and finishing one metre from the top.
“There are two large art works on the southern and north eastern sides, linked by the river wrapping around the tower,” he said. “Our artists did the concept drawing inspiration from submissions by local artists. There was an exhaustive process going back and forth with Council until everyone was happy.
“With winter coming, we had to get the project done quickly before the weather got worse.
“There are four artists working on the tower – two on the southern side and two on the north eastern side.”
Mr Minter said preparation work involved isolating the key colours so they could be mixed locally.
“The other process is called pouncing, a traditional technique of transferring the outline as an image and upscaling it,” he said. “We line draw the design digitally and print it out on a piece of paper. The paper is rolled out on the tower and chalk used to draw the design on the surface.”
Digital and street artist Julian Delio said high quality exterior house paint was being used to ensure longevity of the mural.
“Some colours like black will only need one layer of paint but yellow, white and red require a few layers as they can be quite transparent,” Mr Delio said. “The challenge for us is being faithful to the artwork we have been given and doing it justice.
“A lot of work has gone into designing the artwork and making sure it is suitable for the area.
“It’s being put as an attraction so we want to give it our best as it will be here for a long time.”
Mr Minter said art on public water towers and grain silos was a change in the way art was being approached.
“The transformation of public spaces with art is significant,” he said.
Narrandera Council sealed the road around the tower and a small adjacent parking area, with visitor seating to be installed.