By Taylah Eastwell
Children of the Hills transformed the Olinda Community House water tanks into a sea of colour recently, forming the next step in a collaborative community art project.
Kids of all ages from various schools across the Dandenongs, including those who are homeschooled, expressed their artistic flair on the side of the water tanks on Saturday 24 April.
Melbourne-based artist Sebastian Fransz has been chosen to work alongside the children on the project, telling the Star Mail he will take inspiration from the children’s brightly coloured drawings when designing a final mural piece for the tanks.
“This is a community engagement aspect and first and foremost it is about the kids having fun. There aren’t many opportunities for them to just go for it like this, it is often all very controlled. This is a really nice way to kick off the creative flow for the project to try and develop some ideas that I can work into the final artwork,” Mr Fransz said.
Standing back and looking at the tanks, patterns in the children’s drawings emerged, with many enjoying the opportunity to draw animals, trees, insects, butterflies, cars and write meaningful quotes.
“Children’s creativity has patterns to it and there are lots of patterns with the animals and landscapes, suns and trees, so that is basically what I’m going to be doing except in a more refined and professional way,” he said.
Mr Fransz said the final design on the tanks will be spray-painted, and is likely to feature some endangered local species such as the helmeted honey-eater and some species of tree.
“Then I’ll work some suggestions of what the children have drawn into the final artwork,” he said.
“I think that this type of community artmaking is really important and it often doesn’t get the funding or attention it deserves,” Mr Fransz said.
Principal of Sassafras Primary School, Stacey Goodger said the school had been involved in the project “right from the word go”.
“We love our community arts. I think the main thing is our kids need to feel like they are a part of the community and by doing this it’s that real link to them that this is their place,” Ms Goodger said.
“I think particularly for the last year, that link to the community is really important for our kids,” she said.
The next step in the community art project will be a workshop on 8 May, where kids can join Mr Fransz for a spray-painting ‘how-to’ workshop.
“It will be an introduction to spray-painting as a technique and will allow the group to have a go and add to the build up of the mural, we will start doing background and things like that,” he said.