Nathan loves street art
HE IS a chef by trade, but an artist at heart, and on Saturday Lismore's Nathan Eyres put the first touches to a public art project he has been cooking up for two years.
The 25-year-old Caddies chef is the project co-ordinator of the Back Alley Gallery - an initiative backed by Lismore City Council to create a community street art gallery in Eggins Laneway, Lismore.
Over the weekend, Mr Eyres and his team of seven artists began transforming the plain brick wall of the old Salvos building in Eggins Lwy into a colourful public gallery complete with "frames" that have been painted onto a black background.
"The idea is loosely based on Melbourne's laneway art," Mr Eyres said, adding the intention was to brighten up forgotten parts of the city's CDB and engage the public with the work of local artists.
But rather than anonymous and random graffiti-style art appearing, each artist has been delegated a particular frame to work with along the 30-metre-long wall.
The laneway chosen for the gallery is one Mr Eyres walks past regularly on his way to work, and, after discovering Lismore City Council's Art in the Heart project, he began to dream of the back alley gallery.
The theme of the permanent "exhibition" is the Worlds Around Us, with each artist interpreting the theme in their own way.
In his "frame" Mr Eyres has planned a giant octopus with mechanical tentacles in a steam-punk style.
"I've always been a street artist," Mr Eyres said.
"My work is often political - I like to cause a mental reaction with my paintings.
"Whether the reaction is negative or positive, it doesn't matter - a reaction means people are thinking and expressing their opinion."
Instead of allowing only a select few to view their work, street artists want their art and its message available to everybody, not only gallery-goers, Mr Eyres said.
As well as engaging the public with street art, Mr Eyres said he hoped local artists would also show their respect for the new gallery and the work each artist has put into the wall.