CQ University Vice Chancellor Scott Bowman with artist Bill Gannon discussing one of Bill's murals at the Rockhampton campus.
CQ University Vice Chancellor Scott Bowman with artist Bill Gannon discussing one of Bill's murals at the Rockhampton campus. Chris Ison ROK131016cuniart3

CQUniversity campus becomes a canvas

CQUNIVERSITY'S North Rockhampton campus has turned into a canvas with a vision people will walk through an Australian-themed outdoor art gallery in the future.

Artist Bill Gannon has started transforming the outside walls of buildings into startling, intriguing and delightful colourful murals.

The Yeppoon-based artist was approached by CQUni's vice-chancellor Scott Bowman in July about a project that will see the campus turn into an outdoor art gallery, including sculptures.

Gannon walked The Bulletin through the vision for the project recently.

It includes scenes depicting Australian bush, native animals, indigenous artworks and involving art students from CQU studying under Patrick Connor.

Gannon said the architecture of the buildings at the university was mixed and the mural project would, hopefully, link the spaces.

"I call it animating the space,” he said.

As you walk from the vice-chancellor's office now, you can see the work under way on the creative arts building.

The wall is being transformed into a piano keyboard and art pencils which kick starts the theme of artists at work at the education facility.

From there, Gannon's vision is of an Australian landscape theme being painted on the walls opposite the Greig Turner Building with the courtyard featuring columns and walls painted with different Australian flora and fauna, along with actual plants growing up an existing large lattice-like structure.

Gannon said the indigenous artists involved with the project were looking at doing some sculptures and carvings of native animals, such as dingoes, to place in the courtyard.

Moving along towards the path, Gannon says the vision includes sculptures all around the library.

From there, turn back up towards the shops and you see a very large emu painted on the side of the wall. But you need to stop and look what is under its feet - a real water bubbler for humans.

Gannon said he was a bit experimental when he painted this, using a roller and brush and then adding water to make the paint dribble.

You might be a little startled when you first come across the next mural, and that's exactly what the artist wants.

Walk up the path to the shops where the Bird Cage Bar and Cafe is located and down the side wall is a very large painting of a rainbow lorikeet.

"Sometimes to startle with artwork is good,” Gannon said.

He said the three things he is aiming for with the murals is to startle, intrigue and delight those that come across the artworks.

And the lorikeet is not the only bird Gannon has planned to be featured on the outside walls of the Bird Cage.

Gannon wants to paint a red goshawk, which is a native mainly to the savanna woodlands of northern Australia, and Capricorn yellow chat which feed, nest and breed at Twelve Mile Creek, just south of Rockhampton.

"I hope to put a whole (up) heap of little ones (yellow chats) having a chat,” Gannon said.

The last art piece on the tour (at this stage) is a little bit controversial.

Gannon has made a statement with this piece he has titled 'Learning is Freedom' which features a man in prison stripes wearing a mortarboard.

It is featured on a wall in the courtyard of the shops, opposite the university bookshop.

Gannon hopes to have just about every wall of that courtyard covered with murals by the end of the project which is expected to take a year to complete.

Indigenous artists are developing a concept for a mural around the corner from the prison strips street art mural.

"They will have their own walls to talk (through art) about their ways,” Gannon said.

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