How did the mural project come about?
I’d been going to Badde Manors since 1987. Last year Martin Sheiban [café owner] had entertained the idea of painting a mural, perhaps incorporating the history of Glebe. I sketched out some designs that were eventually abandoned (by me).
The meter boxes posed some problems. I wanted to keep the colours muted and the images subtle so the work would not be too overpowering for the customers.
I focused instead on the native birds and wildlife found in and around the Glebe area. It’s still a work in progress. The majority of the work was painted between 1 and 4 in the morning …
So, the native wildlife was the inspiration?
Yes. Martin had made some suggestions, as did certain customers … but I pretty much had a free rein.
I used acrylic and chalk-based paints because of their versatility and quick-drying nature. The rough brickwork forced me to change my technique to a more stylised format as areas had to be repainted to cover the pitted nature of the surface.
Badde Manors has an art deco feel. So I didn’t want to stray too far from the colour scheme … I would still like to go over the work with some darker washes and to add to the Morton Bay fig tree canopy.
What have the responses been so far?
Martin appears pleased with the work. At least there haven’t been any pots and pans flying in my direction!
One of the kitchen hands wanted to be incorporated into the image as a cherub (since scrapped).
One or two regulars weren’t pleased by the change … but then others like to be photographed in front of the work. The possum and the cupcake are popular with the little people.