James Dodd, an artist originally from Bordertown in the south east spent last week painting two crabs on the Recorder wall for the Big Picture Fest which took over the town.
With a love for painting sea creatures, James had the thought to paint something that the people of the upper Spencer Gulf could relate to. He had the thought of cuttlefish but did not want to take that away from Whyalla.
“I have some blue swimmer crabs up there. I have lots of friends who go fishing down near Port Broughton and up towards this region and they say there are lots of crabs to be had. It seemed to me to be a nice iconic thing to do”, James explained.
“I set with the crab because it was an easy crowd pleaser.”
With a the variety of blues mixing in with the background that sits behind the mural of Des Parker, James continued his theme of painting big things.
“I like painting big walls and I have a strong connection with regional places, I grew up in the south east in Bordertown. I often work with Country Arts SA doing regional projects, I have just been in the Riverland doing somethings.”
“I actually did a gig here in Port Pirie almost eight years ago with one of the primary schools, doing some stencil workshops. I quite like travelling.”
The idea of the festival, making public art accessible but also providing another tourism factor to the town resonates with James.
He sees the value that it has in a regional centre and how the popularity of murals has grown throughout the country.
“Public art everywhere really makes a positive contribution to the environment of the people using it all the time. Once they start to see it, they realise just how invigorating it can be”, James explained.
“At the moment there is a bit of a wave of popularity with supporting projects like this one and it is the kind of work I like to do so it is a bit of a no brainer for me to say yes.”
The reaction from the public, as described by James has been positive.
“Lots of people have been giving me thumbs up in their cars, lots wanting to talk about Des who is there alrady. I also had a chat with Des. Lots of positivity and curiosity and people saying they had seen all the other paintings which gives it a good vibe and momentum”, James said.