While taking my morning hike along St Kilda Road to work the other day, passing by the large stone statue depicting crossed arms that sits in front of the Victorian College of the Arts, I noticed several vividly painted large pots just a little further along. They resembled, at least in my imagination, eight huge coffee cups with scenes painted all over them. My curiosity was aroused, as like mushrooms, they seemingly sprung up overnight.
Upon investigation, I discovered that these pots form part of a new concept to be known as the "St Kilda Road Art Walk" and have been painted by both leading and unknown artists. The pots will eventually be placed along St Kilda Road on both sides of the boulevard. The brainchild of the St Kilda Road Precinct Promotion Committee, the aim is to produce ten pots each year eventually creating a display that stretches from the Arts Centre to St the Kilda Road junction. Each pot will feature a plaque naming the sponsor and the artist. The project aims to promote new artists and new art and to raise the profile of St Kilda Road.
All of the paintings are done in really vivid hues and their themes are clearly defined. Each pot stands 1.8m high and weights one tone.
The first pot I encountered is titled The Bombardier and it depicts two of our city's famous icons, Flinders Street Station and a Melbourne Tram.
The next shows many people, all with downcast eyes and long stalk bodies.
The third pot reveals what appear to be children chasing butterflies with nets on one "side" (Does a round object actually have sides?) and a female form in what looks like a spider's web on the other.
The large orange/red pot next door sports several portraits around its exterior and exhibits quite a dominant presence and the adjacent pot is decorated in a more abstract theme with red, green and white stripes running vertically down a black background.
A little further along, standing apart from the rest are three more painted pots. These too have paintings in a more abstract form.
The first is a city with its structures outlined in white against a black background. Unfortunately, if I dallied long enough to analyse the scene, I would have been late for work, but I suspect that it represented our fair city. The next pot along was covered with an arrangement of orange, yellow, grey, black and white swirls in amongst which were painted abstract faces, a little in the style of Picasso.
The final masterpiece, in the oranges and yellows of Autumn, left me with that warm, fuzzy feeling that children engender when they present you with their first kindergarten painting (where the mum always has curly hair and a huge smile.) This pot depicts a man and a lady, presumably adult figures, a child, clock, hand and a television set. The jumble of objects gave me the nostalgic memory of my children's rooms after a big play session.
Viewed whether from the footpath or a passing tram, the display is absolutely free and for however long it stays in the present location, you are able to view all of the pots in the one trip: 24 hours a day.
So if you don't make frequent forays into the city, just catch a train into Flinders Street Station and hop on a tram right outside in St Kilda Road. Any tram will do except No.8 (South Melbourne beach) and alight at the stop after the Arts precinct, or better still take a ten minute stroll from the station. They are there for your enjoyment.