Isabella Mary Kelly Mural at Wingham Museum

Left - the Isabella Mary Kelly portrait behind it's creator, James Pearson. Right - the mural being installed on July 23. Photos supplied
Left - the Isabella Mary Kelly portrait behind it's creator, James Pearson. Right - the mural being installed on July 23. Photos supplied

Driving west past Wingham Museum on Farquhar Street, you can't miss it - a large portrait of pioneer Isabella Mary Kelly.

The portrait, painted by James Pearson, is the latest addition to Wingham's collection of murals. But this one is slightly different as it is attached to the wall, not painted directly on the wall, as the museum is housed in a heritage building.

"Normally I just go and paint things, but here I wanted to take the proper steps, so I had to go through MidCoast Council, and then I found it was heritage listed," James explained.

When he says he just goes and paint things, James has painted a lot of things. He has travelled the world, painting murals in London, Portugal, India and Canada. His background is in animation and he has worked for Disney, Warner Brothers, Universal Studios and Sony Imageworks. He is now working for himself, and is staying with is parents in Wingham in a house he bought for them.

The first thing James did when he arrived in Wingham was looking for a space to paint on.

"I wanted to do a portrait. I wasn't sure of the area so in my learning about the area through the museum it ended up being a historical figure. It was a mutual decision," James said.

James was excited to see the other murals in Wingham.

"I saw a few of those go up basically in the months after I arrived, and it was really exciting because they're very talented artists, and it's beautiful work, and it's nice because there's a lot of creativity in the area," he said.

"I've seen elsewhere in the world how much colour and art can really bring life to an area. I haven't been here for a long time, but even just in that short space I've seen a nice transition and it seems like a lot's happening now.

"It's amazing how art can affect a town. Just to put colour on; if you have a grey wall and suddenly there's something, no matter what it is, just to have a bit of expression on it, it does something to bring life to that space and the shops benefit from that expression, even if it's not so tangible, it's like a knock-on effect.

"The more that comes in there, then the more people come to visit it and start to walk around town and it ends up everything benefits from it," James said.

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