A HUGE mural at the back of Fremantle’s Dome cafe is just a big ad says an unhappy neighbouring business owner.
Recently sneaker-maker Converse (a subsidiary of the Nike conglomerate) commissioned the mural as part of a global branding strategy that seeks to tie its image to urban sub-culture. The company’s name and campaign slogan were included in the mural but were painted over on Thursday.
Gino’s Cafe owner Laura Saccone doesn’t think that’s good enough: “What’s Converse got to do with Fremantle?” she asks. “The mural is not Fremantle and it should have been about local culture.”
Her comments are backed by Fremantle Society president Henty Farrar, who says the line between art and advertising has clearly been crossed.
Mr Farrar says it’s just plain wrong to cover the inner city in advertising of this scale.
The Fremantle BID accepted local ideas for the design, which was sprayed on by a team including former Perth artist The Yok, who now lives in New York. The result is a range of random pictures wrapped around the heritage-listed former library, including a caterpillar wearing shoes, a toucan, a pizza, a cat with three eyes, a dog wearing Victorian clothing and the Converse branding.
Council PR spruiker Jason Cunningham says there will be no links to the company when the branding goes so he doesn’t see it as an ad: “If it’s good enough for New York, Barcelona and Amsterdam then we think it’s good enough for Freo.”
Mayor Brad Pettitt says he wasn’t involved and its approval was a recommendation of the public art advisory committee.
The Herald caught up with project manager Sara Toby on Monday as they were finishing up. She says there’s been great feedback from passers-by: “What Converse aims to do is bring colour to dull walls and transform them into works of art,” she says.
by CLARE KENYON