Colour swirl features in art festival

Artist at work: Josh Foley working on his latest artwork at Muralfest at Sheffield. Picture: Neil Richardson

Artist at work: Josh Foley working on his latest artwork at Muralfest at Sheffield. Picture: Neil Richardson

In the middle of a Sheffield street Launceston-based artist, Josh Foley, feels like he is back in art school.

Foley is at Sheffield as one of nine finalists painting in the International Mural Fest.

The accomplished artist has spent the past few days on his mural, Lollipop Land. 

"It’s swirly and similar to some of the other work I’ve been doing,” he said of the half-complete creation.

There is a variety of techniques including airbrushing and masking being used by the finalists.

Foley is using three base colours and mixing them to create what he hopes will be a masterpiece. 

“My technique involves a bit of digital projection at the start and at the moment I’m painting black and white,” he said. 

In 2011 Foley won Tasmania’s Glover Prize for his landscape painting, titled Gee’s Lookout.

He said there was a good vibe around Sheffield during the Kentish Arts Festival.

“It’s a nice sensible atmosphere with lots activities and it’s heaps of fun,” he said. 

“It’s a different thing than what I’m used to doing.”

Foley said he was enjoying painting with other like-minded people – something he is not used to. 

“When I’m working towards a show it seems a bit more intellectual and solitary,” he said. 

“When I’ve done public art previously – when I’ve been commissioned – it’s still just me doing something in isolation – even if it is in public.”

He said late-night painting and grabbing takeaway for dinner made him feel like he was back at art school.

Foley and the eight artists must finish their creations before 1pm on Saturday.

A panel of judges will then decide the winner of the event’s major prize, the $15,000 Tasmazia Prize Award. 

International Mural Fest president Des Brown said the record 29 entries had proved the event was a significant one.

“It’s absolutely magnificent,” he said.

“The weather is fantastic and the quality of the artists is incredible.”

Nine finalists have come from across Tasmania, Australia and the world to compete. 

Since the first mural was commissioned in 1986 more than 60 other permanent murals have been established to tell the story of the northern Tasmanian region. 

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