From early 2020, visitors to Grace Park in Hawthorn may have noticed a colourful new artwork coming to life. Melbourne artist James Price created a vibrant mural, which celebrates the fun of getting active outdoors on the double-sided rebound wall alongside the basketball courts.
Covering both sides of the 11 by 2.7 metre brick wall, James has used bold patterns, lines and shapes to create a tennis graphic on one side and a soccer scene on the reverse. Spending almost 5 days working on each side, James painted the block base colours first, before drawing the illustration on top and applying the final layers of paint. The wall's composition was designed to create multiple focus points to draw the viewer's eye endlessly around the work.
This mural is part of a broader initiative of the City of Boroondara, which aims to transform rebound walls throughout the city. The Arts and Culture, and Parks and Infrastructure departments coordinated the project, in consultation with the Grace Park Association. James’ proposal stood out for his energetic and joyful interpretation of the tennis and soccer theme and his use of colour, which is bright but also complements the existing aesthetic of Grace Park.
James Price is an internationally acclaimed artist and maker, who has completed murals throughout Melbourne, Sydney and New York. He describes his multidisciplinary arts practice that includes drawing, film, painting, installation and writing, as mixing "elements of contemporary folk art and cultural storytelling to help connect the dots between our history and our identity."
James says, "Obviously I was really excited to make the work, but the project took on an even greater importance as COVID-19 took an impact on our communities. To be able to create work in such a public place, for the Boroondara community to see and enjoy during this challenging time, made the project one of the most meaningful projects I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with."
The transformation of rebound walls throughout Boroondara is a response to Council’s Graffiti Management Strategy 2016, which aims to discourage vandalism and enhance the community’s engagement with, and enjoyment of the local parks and streetscape.