Familiar faces have been captured in new artwork at Community Lifestyle Support by artist Joel Fergie, also known as The Zookeeper.
The two-storey high murals portray some well-known CLS clients and carers; with each wrapping around the exterior of several older buildings providing an uplifting makeover.
While still in the process of creating the murals, Joel said the eye-catching artwork had already sparked a lot of conversation from the viewers.
Taking a shot right next to Community Lifestyle Support’s basketball court, is the portrait of Liam, a shooting star in his own right, and an avid basketball fan.
“I wanted to have a sport element in this mural, and it worked out Liam was the right fit and perfect for this,” Joel said.
“The space here is a such a beautiful space, it’s really calming and can pull you outside, and we are trying to marry these older buildings to fit this.
“All of the characters, the whole way round, are either clients or carers. From Carter who is a client but is also known as the site manager; to Chris who actually passed away a year or so ago.
“Chris epitomised what CLS represents; as people here have known all week that I was going to paint him, so I’ve heard endless stories which helps me with the painting.
“All of the characters, as you walk around, you can see represent the vibrancy of this place.”
Before Joel found his feet within the art world, he was a support worker and assisted clients similar to those at CLS.
“I haven’t been involved in the industry for a while, but I sort of have an idea on how it operates, and it was a big eye opener for me as you just don’t realise how much support some people need to get through their daily life,” he said.
“What I have actually loved about painting this work here is that I get unfiltered responses to the work that I know I probably wouldn’t get elsewhere, it’s just an honest response based on emotion and a whole range of things, so there is a cool energy painting here – that’s the best part about it.”
It’s the first time Joel has produced artwork in the Bundaberg Region, and he has previously painted large silos in western Queensland, with graffiti artist Drapl.
The 31-year-old artist said the hardest part about creating large murals of people was capturing the personalities of each subject and ensuring they were projected in his work.
“The painting isn’t so much of a challenge for me anymore, it’s coming up with an artwork where people can feel like they are incorporated into it,” he said.
“That can be as simple as a conversation and allow them to feel part of it, so I spent a bit of time here getting to know everyone.”