Bird of Paradise is an original hand-painted festival banner (2013). Measuring approx. 2.65m x 2.65m, it is painted on a king sized cotton bed sheet with many layers of acrylics. About 100hrs work at a rough estimate!
My friend and Event Organiser, 'Morgs', invited me to paint several large-scale feature works for the Main Stage of his amazing event, Island Vibe Festival on Stradbroke Island. These artworks have dressed so many East Coast events in the decade since that they have become iconic among East Coast Festival goers! I feel, in a way, that everyone owns them now!
Bird of Paradise debuted in Oz's Pyramid Stage on Minjerribah (Stradbroke Is.) in 2014. At the time I painted it, the horrific plight of West Papua at the political hands of Indonesia was coming to light. Very sadly the atrocities continue, right on our doorstep!! Seeking to draw attention to the cause, I claimed artistic license to imagine a fusion between two birds' tail plumes with the black 'heart' breast plate, finishing the piece with my hand prints in a prayer for empowerment of the West Papuans.
Since then I've often seen it appear as a Phoenix Rising from the ashes of past stories to warm our hearts and activate positive change!
In the photos I am using for print, including the one of it hanging in the trees at a festival, it has had a painterly photoshop filter applied over it, which makes the whole piece look quite surreal! The reason for this is, like many of my large-scale festival banners, I didn't have enough digital knowledge at the time of their completion to photograph them in high resolution! Or often it was such a massive last minute effort to have them ready for event deadlines that I didn't immediately photograph them at all! By the time I finally found platforms to reproduce they've had so much wear and tear I'd practically have to re-paint them... enter photoshop filters, that although lost a lot of my brush detail, brought them back up to 300dpi for quality printing! You can find the Bird of Paradise art on: