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Wall of art

Monday, 18th January, 2016

Damien Mitchell puts the finishing touches on his mural in Wolfram Lane. Damien Mitchell puts the finishing touches on his mural in Wolfram Lane.

By Michael Murphy

The artist behind an outstanding new mural hopes more paint hits the barren walls of the Silver City, and provides the momentum for a festival of wall art.

A stream of onlookers made their way down Wolfram Lane, just off Oxide Street, over the weekend to watch New York-based graffiti and mural artist Damien Mitchell turn an old, ordinary wall into something special.

In its full glory, the artwork depicts four local youngsters - all cousins - arm in arm with smiles as wide as the Line of Lode.

“I’ve been painting portraits for a while, it was a little different in that I usually come with a sketch prepared,” Damien said yesterday while putting the finishing touches on the city’s latest attraction.

“So having to go out on the fly was a bit different for me.

“But I think when you are coming to a small town to paint people it’s worthwhile meeting some of them.

“If I was to come here and paint somebody else it wouldn’t have been the same ... I wouldn’t feel the same connections with the town and the town wouldn’t feel the same connections with the mural.”

When he arrived in Broken Hill last week, Damien walked around the city streets introducing himself and taking photos, mostly of adults.

But he didn’t quite capture the energy he envisioned for the mural.

“Kids usually have that certain spark in them ... and they will be growing up looking at it, too ... it would be good to show kids, hanging out with their mates at a time in life when everything is happy.”

He called the PCYC and the local land council, and Nathan Kickett eventually introduced him to the youngsters who now appear on the 13-metre wall. 

The lads wandered down over the weekend to check it out.

“They loved it,” Damien said.

“I gave them a spray can, you know, show them what I do, how I do it, let them write their names and help me out a little bit.

“I think the idea of keeping it of local kids ... they are going to have a sense of ownership towards it, so hopefully it wouldn’t get tagged up.”

Lots of people wandered by and asked Damien to paint their walls, and although he works in the United States, he wanted to help make it happen.

“A bunch of people who own walls have been in contact, and are interested in getting their wall done ... which is good,” Damien said.

“Hopefully over the next couple of years more and more walls will pop up.”

He advised people interested in the movement to get in touch with the BH Art Exchange or BH Print Collective.

“They kind of organised for me to get down, and I want to give them a list of other artists who are available to paint, so hopefully they have some kind of festival, you know, a dozen walls all at the same time.”

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