New artist to reimagine Arden Station’s history through public art commission

New artist to reimagine Arden Station’s history through public art commission
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Following a call out to local artists to paint a mural on two Laurens St electrical boxes opposite the future Arden Station, Michael Zampogna was selected as the chosen artist on October 26. 

The project is one that Mr Zampogna said he was “very happy and proud” to be chosen for, which was offered by the City of Melbourne in partnership with CitiPower. He was among six shortlisted artists and was asked to produce a detailed artwork concept for the electrical boxes which explored the rich and diverse history of the area. 

“Being two electrical boxes, I wanted to focus on two phases and stages of history,” he said. 

 

“One box will display the natural beauty of the area 200 years ago when the very vast Blue Lake with lots of surrounding wildlife used to exist [on the site of Arden Station prior to European settlement], and it will be very organic with lots of flowing and cool lines.”

 

“I will then contrast it with the second box which will reflect almost like the history of the manufacturing industry in the area, and there will be more rigid lines and warmer tones.”

The two electrical boxes are situated side by side and Mr Zampogna is already in the process of starting the work, although the unpredictable weather has been slowing down the process. 

Despite this, he can’t be happier with the opportunity to finally have his first official mural gig, after wanting to pursue his passion of painting for quite some time. 

“My background is in graphic design, and I have always been looking to move into large scale mural work or commercial art, and so this seems like a natural progression,” he said. 

“I have always been a fan of traditional art and painting on the side as a hobby, then overtime I found that commercial art has a lot of similarities with graphic design, in terms of how you interpret a brief and execute the entire framework.”

After practising at home on larger canvases and seeing the benefits of art being used to enhance public spaces, Mr Zampogna is looking forward to being able to use his vision and work to display something special for locals. 

“It’s a good opportunity for me, and for artists to be able to decorate and enhance space that would otherwise be left to be tagged or [in this case] left to be just ordinary electric boxes,” he said. 

Establishing Melbourne as an arts and cultural hub through the use of public art is of high interest to the City of Melbourne and Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it was “very proud to work with Melbourne’s thriving creative sector”. 

“Our Public Art Framework aims to set Melbourne apart as one of the world’s leading cultural cities, with public art commissions that express the city’s unique identity,” Cr Capp said. 

“Through extraordinary public artworks, we can highlight the city’s spirit, culture and liveability, and draw visitors from near and far to enjoy our creative offerings.”

Weather permitting, Mr Zampogna is aiming to have the work completed during November. •

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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