The new large-scale public artwork championing Melbourne’s brightest artistic talents
11.12.2019

The new large-scale public artwork championing Melbourne’s brightest artistic talents

Words by Fergus Neal

We chat to the guys behind the Mycelium Studios Landmark Mural Project, the large-scale public artwork headed by artistic whiz Mike Makatron.

To celebrate five years of operations, Mycelium Studios is creating a landmark public artwork to further identify the studios as a creative beacon in the City of Moreland.

The large-scale artwork will be painted on the front facade of the building and will be visible to the thousands of commuters, pedestrians and bicycle riders that travel Moreland Road daily.

Jeremy Taylor, a director at Mycelium Studios, is responsible for heading up the project alongside renowned artist Mike Makatron. Established artists, who specialise in large-scale murals will work collaboratively and as mentors for three young emerging artists selected through an EOI process. It is hoped the mural will provide a guiding light for artists in the community wanting to enter a collaborative and inspired creative space.

“Our purpose is to provide affordable studios and facilities to creative enterprise, and to foster a community that creates opportunities for collaboration,” says Taylor. “Now that we are settled in our East Brunswick home [having moved from Abbotsford in 2017] we have been able to focus more of our efforts into creating opportunities for public engagement with the creative projects that go on within the building.

“We had always wanted to paint the facade of the new space in a similar fashion to the back area of our last warehouse. I had been talking to Bryan and Maka about the idea for some time before I came across Creative Victoria’s Innovation in Marketing Fund. With the support of Haymes paint and Danny Duke at Superb Touch Paint, we were successful in our application for some funding to enhance the visibility of the business through a large-scale public art piece.”

The mentorship aspect of the project strongly aligns with the aims of Mycelium to become further recognised as an incubator of bold new ideas, supporters of emerging artists and generators of ambitious new artworks.

“An important element of this project is that it is being undertaken as a mentorship program. Three emerging artists (Sophie Gaffney-Smith, Mia Peeters and Shaun Devenney) were selected through an EOI process to work closely with four established muralists (Mike Makatron, Bryan Itch, Lucy Lucy, Jack Rowland and Chuck Mayfield) over a series of workshops we held at the studios.

“It has been a great opportunity for the younger artists to work on a large-scale mural project from the concept development stage through to the execution of the painting alongside some highly-experienced and prolific Melbourne painters. We also provided them with some working at heights training to operate the elevated work platforms, a useful ticket they can take with them at the completion of the project.”

The project will take place in mid-December, and the artwork can be first viewed at the unveiling party at the end of the work’s completion. Apart from being a great excuse for a party, it will also be an opportunity to meet the painters, listen to talks from a range of other artists, designers and ecologists, check out the open studios, eat some food and listen to some good music.

When asked what the desired outcome of such a huge project is, Taylor responds with a resolution for what Mycelium Studios will continue to be doing into the future.

“Having been a part of the concept development workshops I am really happy with what our artists have come up with. It is exciting to develop a large-scale artwork that the public can enjoy for years to come. As a creative studio, it is important for Mycelium to be understood in the public realm as such.

“I think this project goes some way to doing that, not only in a visual sense but also in our ability to foster talent in new and meaningful ways. I also hope that the experience helps Sophie, Mia, and Shaun to go on and create more murals and develop their careers in the arts. Personally, the experience has reinforced how fulfilling it is working in collaboration with other artists and motivates me to develop other similar projects in the near future.”

The Mycelium Studios Landmark Mural Project will be launched as part of the studios’ five-year celebration Open Day taking place at the studios themselves on Saturday December 14. Find out more via their Facebook page, facebook.com/mycelium.