THE defeat of Hannibal at the hands of Scipio in 202BC was being played out on the pavement of Fremantle’s High Street Mall last week.
For the best part of a decade artist Garry Donnellan has been creating large works of art on canvases, using streets as his studio.
“I don’t make much,” he quietly concedes as the occasional coin clatters into largely empty buckets.
“But I make enough to just get by.”
In the past Donnellan would copy classical works by Caravaggio and other masters but now he prefers to compose his own epic landscapes, with historical reference his muse. His current work—likely to be 15 metres long by the time it’s finished—depicts the Battle of Zama, where Rome defeated long-time rival Carthage.
Passers-by have a chance at immortality, with Donellan asking them to pose so he can capture their images as characters: one man laid down, and is depicted as a dying soldier. At the far left is a group of grimacing warriors, Italian backpackers happy to lend their visages to the task.
“About a week later one of their friends saw it and freaked out, saying ‘that’s Nadir!” Donnellan laughs.
Describing himself as a man whose home is wherever he sits down to paint, Donnellan has been on the road for 10 years or more, with street art just one string to his bow; he’s also an accomplished sculptor and commissioned artist.
So far he’s spent 300 hours on the Zama piece, patiently laying down a base of blacks and whites in artist’s acrylic, which he’ll later layer with vibrant colours. Donnellan will soon roll up the unfinished work and unfurl it in Perth and at other haunts, hoping to hear the clatter of more coins in his buckets.
See more at http://www.internationalartprojects.com
by BRIAN MITCHELL