Artists link to remember Lou

NATTY KNITTING : Knitter-designer Mary Adams and photographer Katrina Mathieson have joined together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Lou Reed’s first tour in Australia.
NATTY KNITTING : Knitter-designer Mary Adams and photographer Katrina Mathieson have joined together to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Lou Reed’s first tour in Australia. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

WHEN Lou Reed wrote lyrics for his iconic album Transformer, he probably never imagined they would be inscribed for posterity on knitted woollen sweaters.

Or on display at an eclectic market in subtropical Australia.

After all, The Channon markets are a world away from cold, brittle New York.

Emblazoned with images and lyrics of the songwriter, the 48 sweaters are the creation of Canadian-born former Sydney-based visual artist Mary Adams.

Ms Adams made them as a tribute to the man she described as a "brilliant poet" and "generous, gracious, with an amazing sense of humour".

When Reed died last year, Ms Adams felt compelled to expand her sweater collection - the first of which she knitted for his Australian tour in 1974 - and enlarged the collection significantly.

Visitors to The Channon yesterday had the opportunity to be photographed wearing one of the sweaters for an upcoming exhibition in Lismore, approved by Reed's surviving partner and his record label Sister Ray.

The exhibition will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the former Velvet Underground frontman's first tour of Australia in 1974.

"I decided I really wanted to pay tribute," Ms Adams said.

"He didn't know anything about Australia, he didn't expect any positive response here.

"But all the shows were sold out and he had to do an extra one in Sydney."

Among those photographed were lifelong fan Fiona Strelan and her 16-year-old daughter Indy.

"He's been a very key part of my life probably since I was 16 or 17," Ms Strelan said.

"What I love about Lou is he survived the music scene right through 'till the end. And he maintained his integrity."

Indy reckoned she was listening to Lou Reed by the age of two, given her parents were both avid fans.

She liked his "artistic flair, the fact that he was so different from anything that had been up until that point.

"The way he brought these artists and fringe dwellers into the light. His music and words really touched me."

Topics:  lou reed

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