Artist turns up the volume at Belconnen Library

Cass Proudfoot 31 December 2020
Paul Summerfield

Artist Paul Summerfield creates large-scale art on a standard-size laptop. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra artist Paul Summerfield does intricate art on a massive scale. His latest public artwork is a huge 10-metre vinyl mural spread across four walls inside the Belconnen Library.

“The work includes lots of fantastical motifs that often appear in my artworks. Things like flying whales, birds and ships,” says Summerfield.

There are also jungle plants, trees, vines and puffy clouds. This is a mural you can look at a dozen times and still find something new.

“There are a lot of interesting and funny details to discover in the work upon closer inspection,” he says.

The vinyl wallpaper mural was installed by Screenmakers last month and was no easy task. It took two people over five hours to completely install the work in the space.

Paul Summerfield has made similar large and detailed murals for the Canberra Hospital adolescent ward and Garran Primary School. The new library mural is the biggest of all but is still full of the whimsical figures and tiny details that Summerfield loves.

Hospitalmural

This Paul Summerfield vinyl mural is a bright spot on the hospital ward. Photo: Supplied.

“The work presented several challenges while I was creating it,” he says. “The first being the size of the finished work. While I worked from a 13-inch laptop, I needed to keep the finished size fresh in my mind.”

He created a life-size mock-up of the finished mural to help keep the walls’ size in mind while drawing the small details. Drawing the mural was done in many tiny sections, the size of a laptop screen.

The chance to create the Belconnen Library mural came out of a lost opportunity. A planned solo exhibition in 2020 was another casualty of COVID-19.

“This work grew out of a large artwork I was creating for my exhibition Futurescape, which was cancelled because of the COVID lockdown earlier this year. But luckily I was able to evolve the work and it morphed into the vinyl wallpaper mural that’s been installed into the Belconnen Library,” explains Summerfield.


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He is now planning an exhibition for 2021 and found other ways to display his work in 2020.

“I’m working on an illustrated map of Lyneham for the Lyneham Community Association,” he says.

“I’ve also been involved with the Ginninderry Artist Trail, which means I have 14 framed artworks across several display homes in the Ginninderry village.”

Summerfield has created the poster and artwork for the Folk Festival for several years, including this year, but it too fell victim to COVID-19.

“The arts have been hit hard by COVID-times and I am sure many artists have found it a very challenging time,” Summerfield comments.

Library mural

Birds, books and butterflies are all part of the new Belconnen library mural. Photo: Supplied.

He was very pleased to get an ACT Creative Endeavour Grant to get the intricate Belconnen Library mural out of the laptop and onto the wall.

“It was quite a special chance to create something unique for the space,” he says.

“It was challenging trying to keep the work consistent across the four separate panels. But I think it all worked in the end. When I look at this work, it makes me feel inspired and I want to create more large-scale artwork like this.”

To see more art by Paul Summerfield, visit Age of Wonder.

Mural in detail

A detailed section of the Belconnen Library mural. Photo: Supplied.


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