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October 31, 2017
Adelaide's Best

Vardon Avenue Mural

The new Vardon Avenue mural by artist Tristan Kerr revels in South Australia's typographic history and celebrates names both familiar and foreign.

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  • Story: Josh Fanning

“Every dull surface should be painted,” says the owner of Adelaide’s most recent piece of street art – property developer Steve Maras. “They should represent something of Adelaide’s past or present… [walls] can give something to the street.”

Steve originally sought to engage artist Matthew Stuckey to create the new mural on Vardon Avenue. Matthew and Steve have  partnered on many of the East End’s iconic, large scale murals but when Steve brought his idea of painting the back of the Stag Hotel with iconic name brands of South Australia, Matthew graciously sought to put him in contact with fellow artist, Tristan Kerr.

“He thought the direction that Steve wanted – to incorporate iconic SA brands – really suited my body of work, specifically with Coopers,” says Tristan Kerr who’s executing this mural for the first time through his type-centric creative agency – Uppercase Studio.

Names like Holden, Rosella, Amscol and Bushells define the Vardon Avenue mural and create a nostalgia for Australian-made products.

“I’ve had a long fascination with old corner stores and old shopfronts,” says Steve. “You’d see these sorts of large-scale advertisements on the sides of buildings, on milk bars, when I was a kid growing up and I think – because no one has done this sort of a mural before – it will have an affect on people passing by.”

More nostalgic even than the brands, Tristan used an extremely old fashioned method for creating the Vardon Avenue mural. Electro pouncing is a method for creating large scale artworks often used by hand painted advertising companies. Tristan believes he might be the only sign writer in Adelaide with this specific machine that consists of a hot metal wand that essentially zaps holes in paper to create a perforated stencil of the artwork. The time honoured method then requires chalk dust to create an outline before the art is rendered in paint.

“The East End has always had a lot of murals,” says Steve. “Where Burger Theory is now was one of the first, a huge piece by Everfresh is still there behind the walls.”

Across the neighbourhood, artists like Jimmy C, Matthew Stuckey, Lucas Croal and even Tristan’s brother Cam are represented. The latest Vardon Avenue mural adds to the narrative of change and development while paying homage to Australia’s archaeology.




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