As the popularity of the King St Flourish Health and Wellness classes is continually growing, we new we needed to create a space that connected more with our visitors. We enlisted the creative talent of local artist Penelope Layton (she's an Urban Strategist too!) to help bring our space to life.
How long have you been creating art?
Since the start of high school, but I became more intentional with my time in pursuing my passion around 5 years ago.
Tell us a bit about your artistic style
I have always been inspired by the Impressionist and Fauvist movements. My works generally express an unconventional use of colour connecting recognisable subject matter to an emotive experience. I love all things nature and my typical genre is landscape, however I have also dabbled in animal and family portraiture. Commissioned work often dictate a certain genre response but my style usually remains the same.
Where did you get your inspiration from for the Flourish mural?
The mural is inspired by the Place on which King St is located. The topography of the land, the natural overflow paths and the indigenous plants found along the street. The heritage fig trees have historically been a place for gathering and seeking refuge from the elements and the mural introduces the fig tree canopy as it emerges from the top of the work with low-lying vegetation below. The patterns represent the former topology and the meandering waterways and ponds the once provided sustenance to the Traditional Owners of the land and their people.
The retail use also informed the mural concept. I wanted the mural to depict the vibrancy of the natural world outside, surrounding the occupants with water flows, kills and gully's, and vegetation. The idea was to enhance the space to escape the stress of the day. The colour selection helped to blend the space seamlessly with the King St branding.
You love to work with multiple mediums, but what is your favourite?
Acrylic paint. It dries quickly, it's easy to clean up afterwards and has low to no odour. There are many products available that can be added to acrylic paint to achieve the characteristics of oil paints which was a former favourite. Most of my works incorporate acrylic paint, ink, pastels and chalk on canvas or paper.
As an Urban Strategist, how important is art in creating places for people to come together?
Very important. Art has the ability to connect people to the stories of the Place and to one another through the conversation and debate art often sparks. Art can be a locator/market for congregating such as Reko Reni's Kookaburra's on King St.
Art enhances our shared experience of a space or Place by inviting us to explore and delight in the works. For example, the gobo artworks on King St bring the street to life at night and invites children to play and engage with the light.
Lastly, what's your favourite place to grab a coffee on King St?
Emporium Barber for a grab and go. If I have time for a longer coffee break, then CAM's Cycling has a great spot to enjoy the outdoors and watch the world go by.
To see more of Penn's work or to get in touch about artwork commissions, check out her Instagram @penn_art
To see the full timetable for the Flourish classes, head here