Thinking inside the box

VINCENT is living up to its reputation as WA’s funkiest council with a new mural cum public art work.

The city has affixed eight lightboxes to a mural by artist Drew Stalker in the laneway beside St Michael’s restaurant on Beaufort Street.

Every three months a new artist will be allowed to display their works in the illuminated boxes. Kicking off the series is artist Martin E Wills, renowned for painting spindly aliens with bouffants: “The paintings were originally inspired by research into the new age philosophy of the Heaven’s Gate cult,” he says.

• Mural with light boxes in Vincent. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Mural with light boxes in Vincent. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

“For instance, I thought there was great irony in the cult’s ritual suicide which began with a ‘cleansing’ citrus drink, which was then followed by vodka and phenobarbital.

“The series became a wry nod to the middle-income decadence of day spas and ‘beauty therapy’.

“The idea of the pinnacle of intergalactic life being a franchised day spa experience is intended to be a humorous exploration of current day concerns about commercialism, the environment and beauty ideals.”

Unlike his coiffured aliens, Wills says his own hairstyle is distinctly ad hoc.

“My own hair is as functional as it comes, but I do own a weirdly high amount of wigs,” he says.

“I’m really curious about the universe…I guess to me painting half-dissected aliens with gravity-defying pompadours is a pretty natural way of expressing those interests.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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