Life & Style

The Big Picture Fest

Sydney-based social realist painter comes to Newcastle for The Big Picture Fest

The Big Picture Fest brought to you by the City of Newcastle is only around the corner and to get us all excited about the biggest art activation for Newcastle during COVID-19, we thought it was time to chat to one of the biggest names we’ll be seeing decorate our city’s walls; Sydney-based social realist painter and muralist, Fintan Magee.

Born in Lismore, Fintan grew up in Brisbane where he gained a reputation as a graffiti artist and writer before attaining a fine arts degree and relocating to Marrickville in Sydney.

Fintan Magee - Photo Credit: Birdman Photos
Fintan Magee - Photo Credit: Birdman Photos


Today, Magee’s works can be found all over the world including some of the most famous cities including London, Vienna, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Moscow, Tome, Jordan, and Dublin.

With restrictions halting overseas work, the call to be a part of The Big Picture Fest here in Newcastle couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I was contacted by Joel who is one of the organisers. He mentioned there was this fest happening and asked if I was available. It’s perfect for me because I can’t leave NSW so I just jumped at the opportunity to paint a wall. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Newcastle and I really love it.”

Fintan, with his laid-back cheery character, is known for his creation of mesmerising murals that have a strong social realism nature, inspired by his exposure to Northern Ireland social conflict.

“I spent a lot of time in Northern Ireland visiting family, so I felt like a bit of an outsider observer of that conflict. Belfast and Derry have always been known for having a lot of murals, and we didn’t have a lot of that in Brisbane growing up. I became obsessed with that idea of using the wall as a public message board or a tool of communication.

“I then got into graffiti during my early teens which is also a mode for young people to communicate…I’m interested in telling stories and speaking on the state of the world.”

Recently wrapping up work on a mural in Ipswich, Magee plans to bring elements of this new glass motif he’s been exploring to his work here in Newcastle.

“I’ll be doing something similar to the work in Ipswich. It’s kind of a new motif and visual language I’ve been exploring.”

Whilst we can’t divulge too much information on what to expect from Magee, looking at his past work we can’t wait to see what he brings to the City of Newcastle.

Where: Newcastle
When: 2-4 October
More Info: click here

Fintan's wall is sponsored by the City of Newcastle and the Official Art Sponsor, Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation.

The Big Picture Fest