Coonalpyn is a farming town in South Australia southeast of Adelaide with population around 200 people. It’s nearly a quiet town where the local government is trying its ways to make a big smash all over Australia. Well thanks to the mural of Guido van Helten,it’s now the talk of the towndue to its most recent giant portrait of five school kids on the 30m massive silo canvas project. One can do a personalized artwork by going to Coonalpyn.
It got its attention from motorists and spectators who never failed to gaze at the large-scale public artwork amidst the highway of Coonalpyn. Mr. van Helten is a world renowned artist who has made a name for himself in key cities of U.S. and Europe. He tells BBC that “Coonalpyn is indeed a small town between Melbourne and Adelaide. People drive through this area without even knowing the maker of the artwork.” This project for him is considered a personalized artwork to please Coonalpyn residents.
Three businesses were said to open when the artwork project began. The first to open was a café, where its customers patiently waiteduntil the project fully completed. A retired lorry driver, spending most of his time capturing photos of the huge painting, has made himself appear like a local celebrity. It’s a long way from the decorated laneways of Melbourne, and in a way, up to this point. The town’s officials hired Mr. van Helten to help boost the tourism of the small town, in the same way he boosted Brim, another dwindling farming town in Victoria.
Based in Brisbane, the artist said his work focuses more on spaces and places. He normally arrives in cities with no concept in mind until he introduces himself to the local communities as part of the process. He said, “it’s a bit of global movement to distinguish the value of mural art as a tool for restoration.” You can also see some of his personalized artwork in other locations in Australia.
His plans for personalize artwork include traveling next to Raukkan, anotheraboriginal community in South Australia, then to by Nashville and Dubai. He claims that there are no invites from New York. The offers he gets from local government are those that are forgotten and want a recognition by improving infrastructure in a more creative away.