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26 August 2020
BY DYLAN DE JONG
St Arnaud born and bred artist Kyle Torney is using his creative talent to transform his home town into a gateway to the Wimmera-Mallee’s silo art trail.
Torney, known in the region for his sketches in charcoal, biro and spray paint art works, is painting two large silos with images that reflect St Arnaud’s gold mining history.
The Wimmera artist has so far painted a gold prospector on one silo and is finishing off the piece with the prospector’s wife and son.
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The concept design underpins St Arnaud’s origins as an area economically grounded in its gold mining fortunes dating back to 1855.
“I’m depicting a pretty prominent part of a St Arnaud’s history. It’s a bit of a narrative the community was keen on,” Torney said.
“This is the first time painting silos for me. It’s like painting a canvas, but much bigger – although you have to contend with the arc of the silo.”
Torney gained financial support for his volunteer project with backing from community group St Arnaud ArtSpace and Northern Grampians Shire Council.
He said the St Arnaud community wanted to springboard off the tourism benefits associated with the region’s silo art trail.
“A group in the community pushed really hard to get this going because it’s a project that will really help St Arnaud in terms of tourism,” he said.
“We need any bit of help we can get. The small businesses here are struggling.
“This also gives people a sense of pride when outsiders come to town, they will want to show tourists around.”
Wimmera tourism leaders deem the trail, coined ‘Australia’s largest outdoor gallery’, as a major tourist attraction in regional and rural Victoria.
Torney said the tourism potential was needed to support the Northern Grampians town of less than 2500.
“We really hope, once everyone is allowed, it will bring tourist through town,” he said.
“Ultimately our goal is to make St Arnaud the gateway to the silo art trail up through the Wimmera.
“We’re already one of the first stops, particularly for people coming from south up to the silo trail.”
Torney’s art is well-known to residents of St Arnaud, where he has completed four murals in the town including art teacher Andrea Hicks and Australian boxing legends Jeff Fenech and Lionel Rose.
He said it was a ‘special feeling’ to be able to feature his own art across a town he grew up in.
“My family has got pretty strong ties with the town. I grew up here but moved to Melbourne for four or five years and moved back recently and started a family with my wife who is also a local girl,” he said.
“I take a lot of pride in where I’m from and I like to see it do well. I have my own business here in town as well, so I know how difficult it is to get by.”
The entire August 26, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire August 26, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!