FORMER Freo street artist Brolga has found himself in the limelight after one of his murals was co-opted by fans of Muhammad Ali to mourn the boxing champion’s death on Friday.
The graphic designer who now lives in Brooklyn, painted a large mural of the boxing legend on a wall next to famed pizza joint Joe’s Pizza last year.
New Yorker’s have been streaming past and laying flowers at the colourful image to pay their respects to the three-time heavyweight champion and social activist.
“It’s been visited by uncountable well-wishers and fans,” Brolga says.
Several international news organisations have also used the image in eulogies to the iconic fighter.
Brolga started off in Brooklyn wheat-pasting huge illustrations on walls around the city.
“I find it really interesting to see characters that have come straight from my sketchbook get thrown into the New York City landscape,” he says.
“Once they’re out there, the characters wear with the city and just become a part of the daily life.”
Brolga enjoys New York life, but says it can be tough for artists because of high rents and a huge talent pool to compete against.
He’s got a solo exhibition in Tokyo later this year, but is more excited to be returning home. He’ll be back in Freo in July to paint a mural across the back of the Newport Hotel.
Brolga says street art around Fremantle inspired him to translate his work from paper to brick walls. A praying mantis on the old Myer building was one of his favourite pieces of public art.
“Fremantle’s a special place that is hard to forget,” Brolga says.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM