COONAMBLE artist Jeremy Richardson is slowly but surely making his mark around the shire.
Soon after he completed the cheesey pizza that drips off the wall of his family’s hotel in Tooloon Street he was approached by Council staff to add some colour to the Wingadee Rest Area around 60 kilometres along the road to Walgett.
“They asked me to do up a design and approved the concept fairly quickly,” Mr Richardson said.
“There was graffiti all over it, it was just looking dirty and dull.
“I started looking at birds and the colours of the black cockatoos worked well,” he said.
“I went with that design too because it’s easy for me to fix if it gets damaged.
“I wanted to brighten it up.”
As it turns out, his choice of subject is appropriate.
“There’s so much wildlife out there. I’d be painting and be surrounded by birds,” he said.
It took about two weeks to prepare and paint three sides of the toilet building and both sides of the brick screening wall but Mr Richardson says he was rarely alone for long.
“It’s a very popular stop. There’s always three or four vans there,” Mr Richardson said.
“They pull up, stretch their legs, walk around and have a look about.”
He says the travellers admired his work but were concerned for his welfare.
“No-one knew if I was legally meant to be doing it,” Mr Richardson said.
“They’d say ‘This looks awesome but you’re not going to get into trouble are you?'”
Jeremy has lived in Coonamble for three years.
The first 12 months on a part-time basis and the past two years full-time as he juggles his art commitments with co-managing the Bucking Bull Hotel.
An automotive spray painter by trade, Mr Richardson’s apprenticeship included airbrushing, a skill which has unlocked a new sideline in mural painting.
“I was always doing something creative but it was the automotive stuff before I came out here,” he said.
Ellen Hodgson’s hairdressing signage was one of his first commissions in Coonamble, followed by the Artesian Motel and a number of works within the Bucking Bull.
His murals are essentially airbrushed with some hand painting when it is needed and he uses the materials he is familiar with from his automotive trade.
“It’s the same as auto paint so the mural will last out there as long as a vehicle sitting in a paddock,” Mr Richardson said.
He says there’s several reasons why using local artists is a good idea.
“If damaged I can go straight out and fix it. I bought all the stuff right here at the hardware,” he said.
“If you’ve got these assets why not use them?
“It looked like a nothing stop, there’s not much out there. Now it’s a cool place to stop.
“All these things put you on the map, all the travellers talk,” he said.