Signal Box Public Art Project
During October, a group of Strathmore students participated in a project called “Matter of Fact Signals”. It was a local initiative, funded and promoted by Moonee Valley City Council. The aim of the project was to revitalise a number of electrical boxes located in the Council’s catchment area. Along with commissioned artists, the idea was for the community will be engaged (in this case, Strathmore students), by being guided in the design and painting of two of the boxes. These are located on the corner of Lincoln and Mt. Alexander Rds, and 8 Keilor Rd (outside China Max), North Essendon.
Artist James Voller, one of the organisers, introduced the project to the Artist-in-Residence class. All students learnt about site-specific art and started designing the boxes, keeping in mind the emphasis on local motifs. Students were selected based on their designs, as well as their ability to work both independently and cooperatively. For 8 hours, over 3 sessions, they toiled over their creations, fully committed to producing visually engaging art.
Although only a small number of students was required to do the actual painting on site (given the limited number of boxes), parts of all designs were considered and, where possible, incorporated. In addition, the whole class is currently working on applying their combined signal box designs and ideas into a multi-piece mural at the College.
The students involved were:
Isabella Dedrick 9A2
Isabelle Houghton 8S2
Henry Smith 8S2
Dilara Yilmazer 9B3
Hina Shaw 9S2
Lisa Mokbel 8S1
Amber Oliver 9C2
Molly Sullivan 9D1
Stephanie McDonald 9B2
Here are some of their thoughts:
“Painting the signal box was an amazing experience. From drawing the designs to seeing them on the box, our combined vision was coming to life. The box reflects the native fauna and flora of the area, with a very colourful spin. We all worked together cohesively and even though we each focused on our individual elements, the end result reflects our hard work and cooperation. The signal box is no longer dull and boring, but stands out from the space and creates a beautiful display of student talent. I am very proud of our work and I am excited to have a piece of my own artwork and creativity on display for the public to see.”
“Designing and producing the public art of painting the signal boxes was a great experience. The process started by designing a template at school with 2 other girls- Dilara and Hina, ready to transfer onto the signal boxes on Keilor Rd. We did this to make it quicker to paint as we didn't have much time and couldn't be in the way of the public for long. Finally, there was just the need to paint it, and add the final details. During this project, I learnt a lot of new techniques such as stencilling and spray painting. I also learnt how working in a public space is very different to working just at school or in a studio.”
“My team did a design that incorporated a brightly coloured bird and a possum. It was a really amazing experience to work on painting the signal boxes. I especially enjoyed the compliments from all the people passing by, and hope I can do another piece like this again.”
“The design we created on our box outside “China Max” was a small coffee shop and a bike, to represent a part of Moonee Valley. To add colour, we sprayed paint as well as applied it with sponges and brushes to create different techniques and effects. Overall, it was a great experience to be able to paint a lasting art piece for the local community.”
Visual Arts Faculty