It's been five years since the Berkeley Prawn served the community with joy - or disgust. The colourful, sculpted mosaic body an eyesore to some but an icon to others.
It was Wollongong City Council's controversial decision to fry the much loved prawn in June 2015, as it was classed dangerous and past its used-by date. While Council replaced the sculpture with a mosaic mural and boat-shaped seating, it was still a raw deal for some.
But the prawn is to enjoy a resurrection of sorts.
Seafood lovers may now rejoice with Shellharbour Council commissioning a family of prawns to be erected by the banks of Lake Illawarra this month, by an artist famous for his giant mechatronic robots.
The party of five crustaceans will be a tribute to 150 years of prawning along the lake, and will be suspended on poles chasing a three meter diameter moon.
The prawn tale is that of diversification from Hurricane Bestman and his company XYZ Dimensions. In March, Bestman literally found himself standing in a field of robots in Brisbane, as the country was forced into lockdown.
He was to install a smaller version of Robot SPACELand (as seen at last year's Vivid Sydney) at a science and technology event, but a pandemic got in the way.
"We got up there and we used this crane to unload these two shipping containers full of robots off this [semi-trailer] that we'd had sent up," he said.
"We landed them in the park and then got a phone call saying ...'I'm sorry guys, the whole thing's off'
"That was going to be a major project for us and we had already put a couple of months of preparation into it."
Bestman is a festival stage designer and producer with his extravagant creations seen popping up at events, music festivals, films and on television. His first job was creating light-sabers for the movie Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
But a need for giant Transformers-like beasts disappeared when pandemic restrictions came into play.
Currently his tribe of robots which landed in Brisbane are still there, patiently hibernating in snug shipping containers, ready for live events to be allowed again.
With the company's income "obliterated overnight", they turned their focus to public artworks and custom furniture for private clients. They also moved their workshop to Port Kembla, partnering with entertainment venue, The Servo, also hard done by the pandemic.
Bestman rents the garage at the Servo Food Truck Bar. He also brought in a shipping container workshop along with a convertible stage which has allowed the bar to reopen for outdoor gigs.
He described his work space as "somewhere between this archaic robot-maker lab and the storage room from the back of a natural history museum" with an edgy, urban feel.
We're still able to gain personal satisfaction of getting our creations out there to bring and share joy and inspireHurricane Bestman
This is where the family of prawns are currently residing, waiting to swim out into the world and be cast upon metal poles. Each of the pieces have been laser cut - like an Ikea flat pack - and fit together like a puzzle.
The prawns are not mechanical with lazer-beams shining from their eyes or tentatcles like many of his other works, but will sit static so to endure wild weather events that will present over the next 25 years.
Other projects on the horizon for XYZ Dimensions include an interactive spaceship which is part of an art installation in Penrith; plus plans to build a giant pelican with 10 meter wingspan, made from reclaimed metal (like old real estate signs).
The main drivers for pursuing this unique line of work is to share his creative vision and bring joy to others.
"We used to do that in the context of large crowds at festivals," he said.
"Now they're a little bit more unique and personal experiences and viewed by smaller audiences, but we're still able to gain personal satisfaction of getting our creations out there to bring and share joy and inspire."
And if the creative had the funds to build his own dream creature to play with at home, it would be a giant octopus-like monster.
"A 60-meter Kraken, like an interactive one where you can climb through the tentacles, they're all spiraling tentacles and they're all lined with pink fur."
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