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on a grand scale

From Habitat magazine - issue 20

Artist Julian Bale is not a man afraid of public scrutiny. Why else would you reveal your talents on a grand scale in very public places – as murals and painted sculpture?

Julian Bale

Julian with the results of a recent project where he made a series of caricature sculpted figures of well-known Tasmanians (this one is Ricky Ponting), all finished in Resene paint. Photograph by Gary Price.

Julian has been a key administrator and artist in the International Mural Fest Sheffield event, run each year in Tasmania, Australia. All Mural Fest competitors began using Resene paints exclusively last year. Stepping back from any management roles this year, Julian is enjoying focussing purely on his art.

Sheffield is internationally renowned as Australia’s ‘Town of Murals’. Since the first mural was commissioned in 1986, more than 60 other permanent murals have followed, all with a common theme around the history of this idyllic part of Tasmania. These murals are based on real characters – pioneers, farmers, community leaders – and real stories and events of the past. The first of its kind in the world, the competition is held each March or April in Mural Park, a purpose-built outdoor art gallery, and attracts artists and visitors from around the nation and globe.

Julian Bale mural
Julian’s winning mural The Homesteaders, inspired by a fellow artisan who was carving a long wall out of timber.

Julian came first equal in the competition in 2010 with one of his favourite murals, The Homesteaders, inspired by a fellow artisan who was carving a 100-metre long wall out of timber. Another favourite is one he painted with his father and son about 10 years ago. “As a piece of art depicting a harvesting scene done by three generations of my family, it holds special significance for me.”

Julian loves the medium of murals: “It is so visual and public. It has great impact because of the scale. It’s also a great advertisement for you as an artist. They are more interesting because there’s often a narrative or a story being told.”

Julian prefers working in the style of the Old Masters, which is a style that suits the historic location of Sheffield.

He also restores murals. As artworks that are out in the open, murals are subject to weathering and fading so need to be touched up every 15-20 years.

The need for longevity is one of the reasons Julian will only use Resene paints for his work. “The paints blend really well, they have strong colour, are a great quality – they’re a delight to work with,” says Julian.

Create a masterpiece

Resene not only helps with various community mural competitions but also runs an annual Resene Mural Masterpieces competition open to both professional artists and community groups and schools. With $7000 in prizes, entries close on 12 November 2014. See more details and view previous winners and entrants.

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