Fashionista mural lure

TWO new murals unveiled in central Fremantle this week will form the start of a public art trail that aims to cash in on the trend of “wall scouting”.

In an effort to make their Instagram posts stand out, fashionistas and bloggers can spend hours scouting for the perfect backdrop to give their photos a little extra zing. But it can be worth it, as “influencers” with up to 1000 followers can charge companies somewhere between $500 and $5000 to wear their gear in a post. Hit 1 million followers and that jumps to a cosy $20,000 to $100,000 per post.

Local small business organisation Freo Now wants to make it easy for the Instagrammers to find the perfect shot and give the port city some extra publicity by finding more walls featuring the work of local artists.

“We are seeking to create 20 – 30 of these types of walls in Fremantle so that we can connect the precincts via these murals and also encourage pedestrians to explore our streets and hence shops and hospitality venues,” says Freo Now board member Samantha Reece.

She says the murals and Freo Now’s zero-vacancy retail program which aims to get creative sorts into empty shops for next to nix, seeks to drive visitors to the city’s main retail precincts.

• Artists Toby Tomlinson, Brendan Lewis and Sioux Tempestt (left, centre and right) with prominent Freo landlord Joseph Geha and his property manager Mandy Thompson with one of the new murals. Photo by Steve Grant

Local landlord Joseph Geha quickly jumped on board and the Toby Tomlinson murals unveiled in the High Street Mall and Cantonment Street this week adorn temporary hoardings on two of his shops awaiting a refit.

“I am sick of ugly graffiti walls in Fremantle,” Mr Geha told the Herald.

“We are doing up the shopfronts and I thought to myself ‘in a week that’s going to be tagged’, so we thought we’d create something beautiful instead.

“It’s about bringing out the creative soul of Fremantle, and giving people like Toby the platform to express himself in a public place.”


Tomlinson, a Freo resident in his first year of a fine arts degree says it’s a great opportunity, as his only other public art project adorns a bus shelter in outer suburbia where it’ll get less exposure.

His mall mural features two pied cormorants in keeping with his usual theme of local wildlife, but the project has encouraged him to experiment and the Cantonment Street one features his first crack at adding people.

Mr Geha says when the shopfronts are complete, the murals will be moved around the city.

Other artists to be featured include Sioux Tempestt who’s promising a conversation-starter with a rare abstract mural, and Brendan Lewis who’s work is based around Jonathon Pitre, a young man with the condition “butterfly skin”.

“My work aims to give recognition to people with disabilities, to make them beautiful to the public eye,” says Lewis.


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