Making our city more colourful one wall at a time
Over the years you may have noticed the walls of our beautiful city slowly become filled with colours, designs and jaw-dropping creative displays. With the Big Picture Fest taking over the city in October last year and more and more businesses looking for artists to get make the most of their blank canvas exterior walls there’s one woman in town that’s helping make it all happen: Jacinta Fintan and her business, The Wall Station.
Growing up in Newcastle, Jacinta moved to Sydney to pursue her career within the marketing and arts sectors before making the jump to move back to Newcastle in 2019 when her little one was due to start primary school.
With a unique and colourful background in arts including founding the international Stencil Art Prize; the largest stencil event in the world launched in 2009 featuring upwards of 70 artists from over 25 countries. When looking to move back to town, it was almost a no brainer to look at building a new business idea.
“When I was doing the Stencil Art Prize, people would just ring me and say you know artists, do you know an artist who would be interested in doing a piece on this wall? Then I thought, why don’t I try and make this a thing. Then I just started doing it and it worked and even some councils approached me.
“I was building a lot of trust with artists through the Stencil Art Prize, and I had worked in community radio, so I was used to working in that kind of environment. Working with bands and artists; basically, people that don’t work the usual 9-5. Artists might have spent 12 hours on a ladder and the last thing they need is someone down their neck wondering why they haven’t answered their emails.”
Since its inception in 2017, and prior to COVID-19, Jacinta was frequently found traveling interstate to organise murals and public artworks around the country, but has been currently focussing on something a little closer to home.
“The Wall Station creates inspiring public art, street art, murals and workshops that capture and celebrate the visual narrative of the communities and clients that we work with.
“The artists that we work with have a strong sense of social responsibility and enjoy giving back to local communities. As a business, the concept of building meaning and connecting people through creative expression is paramount to everything we do.”
Just last year Jacinta organised two local murals right in the heart of town. One with local street artist Jordan Lucky who created the colourful pieces you can find on the walls at Marketown Shopping Centre. The beautiful flora and fauna designs can be found at both the entrance to Coles and the refurbed outdoor food court near Officeworks.
The other is none other than the beautiful piece that has been created on the side wall of The Soul Kollective in Merewether. Brought to you by the City of Newcastle’s ‘Boost Your Place’ placemaking grant, artist Nick Fintan, and students from Cooks Hill High School, the local mural was unveiled to locals in November 2020.
Not one for sticking with just one endeavour, Jacinta has been working tirelessly behind the scenes on a number of other projects. The first is the launch of her book in February ‘CUT: 10 Years of the Stencil Art Prize,’ a unique piece to celebrate the end of 10 years of the Stencil Art Prize.
“I began the Stencil Art Prize a decade ago and the book documents how the prize grew from humble beginnings to a touring exhibition that travels around Australia and the book also takes a look at our winners and finalists over the years. The book is being published through the independent publisher Not Quite Newtown who specialise in street art books.”
The second project is the launch of the collective start-up, Mural In A Box. A resource kit with everything needed to install a mural with students at a school or community group without the need for an artist to visit the school. Designed by street artists and with a step-by-step guide, the Mural In A Box is engaging, easy to follow and also aligns with the NSW high school visual arts curriculum.
“When the pandemic shut down the arts industry, I found myself in a position where my public art agency business, The Wall Station, was very quiet. I work with dozens of mural artists and street artists every year and opportunities for them had stalled. I’d had the idea for Mural In A Box for some time. Particularly for regional and remote schools who don’t have the opportunity to bring artists long distances to their campuses.”
Teaming up with Sydney Street Artist, CRISP and Newcastle artist and visual arts high school teacher, Natalie Sherring, the trio had decided to give it a red hot go. With a few schools already on the books and new mural boxes in the works with more artists, we’re excited to see what Mural In A Box can do for schools and community groups across the state (and beyond)!