Street artists hit the (wonder) walls for festival

Words on the street: Adelaide artist Vans the Omega outlines part of his mural on the back wall of Piccadilly Motor Inn. Pictures: Adam McLean.

Words on the street: Adelaide artist Vans the Omega outlines part of his mural on the back wall of Piccadilly Motor Inn. Pictures: Adam McLean.

A fleet of orange cherry pickers rolled in to the laneways and side streets in Wollongong on Friday morning, signalling the start of the fourth Wonderwalls Festival.

This year, 31 artists from around Australia and the world will paint 27 walls over three days, filling some of the most run-down parts of the city with colour and life.

On Friday morning, rail commuters stared as five different artists set up along the vast navy blue Piccadilly Motor Inn wall near Wollongong station.

Sydney artist Georgia Hill will collaborate with Beastman over the weekend, combining her bold, monochromatic style with his colourful, textured painting to breathe life into the city’s forgotten western edge.

“In my experience, it’s amazing how art work can completely change how people look at a space,” Ms Hill said.

Collaboration: UK artist Gary will join Vans the Omega, Beastman and Georgia Hill to transform the walkway near Wollongong railway station.

Collaboration: UK artist Gary will join Vans the Omega, Beastman and Georgia Hill to transform the walkway near Wollongong railway station.

“It makes people walk through their town a different way, and value the space themselves. Like anything, if you should it a bit of love and attention, it kind of can turn into something else completely.”

Further up the pathway, London typographic artist Gary and Adelaide’s Vans the Omega got to work, while 45RPM transformed the walls next to Dicey Rileys pub and Maid added a splash of pink along Gladstone Avenue.

“The biggest thing the art does, is just brightens people’s day – it’s simple but you walk past a bare wall that has no interest and you don’t engage someone,” Vans the Omega said.

New life: The wall behind Dicey Rileys pub, along western Crown Street, will be revamped by Scott Nagy, Krimson and 45RPM over the Wonderwalls weekend.

New life: The wall behind Dicey Rileys pub, along western Crown Street, will be revamped by Scott Nagy, Krimson and 45RPM over the Wonderwalls weekend.

“I see walls that just lift people’s spirits, it causes conversation and gets people energised.”

Over the weekend, the public is encouraged to get out and follow the Wonderwalls mural map around town to watch the art works take shape.

Other key locations include the former Sam’s Warehouse site (Re-up Crew), GPT’s Keira Street car park (Claire Foxton), Wollongong Central loading lock (Jarus and Jessee Lee Johns).

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