Painting a mural with joy as Casino water tower gets its first colours

ABOVE: Steve Falco and Jordan Bruce painting the mural on Casino’s water tower. Photos: Susanna Freymark

Susanna Freymark

It’s not until you’re up close to the mural drawn onto Casino’s water tower that you can really know the scale of the artwork.

It is huge.

Mural painters Steve Falco and Jordan Bruce are aware of the impact the mural will have on the town’s residents. The water tower can be seen from nearly everywhere.

Steve Falco and Jordan Bruce are from Brisbane.

People honk their car horns as they drive by and see the men painting. The woman who bought the art deco house opposite the tower, waves to them from her front yard.

Steve and Jordan are from The Brightsiders team in Brisbane and they are in Casino for four weeks to paint the mural before they have a break and then return to complete the final panel.

A lot of the work though was done before they got to Casino.

“It starts with the design. When we were going for the job we came here and designed the mural from the best vantage points,” Jordan said.

With an artwork of this scale – all 975 square metres of it – there are challenges.

“On the first day our stick boom lift got stuck,” Steve said.

Like a cherry picker, the boom is operated from the platform and lifts the men 30 metres into the sky to paint the tower.

Luckily, Richmond Valley Council staff stepped up and ‘un-bogged’ the machine.

“We love our job,” Steve said. “We want to give the town an artwork that will bring good vibes. It is about bringing something positive to the community.”

This artwork is for them, not us, he said.

“We try and bring the goodness in ourselves and bring the right energy to the work.”

The men are together all the time. They do a lot of “personal work” on themselves and exercise every second day to keep themselves in shape for the job. They miss their families and are expecting them to visit soon.

“We are painting with joy,” Steve said.

And what a time they are having, up in the air for most of the day.

“It’s amazing,” Steve said, “such beautiful countryside.”

“We’ve seen beautiful sunsets,” Jordan said.

There are a lot of paint tins of every colour you could imagine.

Looking down at the paint tins.

Before work started, a solvent-based sealer was painted onto the 80-year-old concrete tower.

Then two undercoats. Exterior paint is used to paint the mural and then when complete, the painting will have two coats of UV resistant seal coating.

There is calcium leaking from the water tower and it shows in white streak marks on the tank surface.

“We can’t control that,” Steve said.

The men won’t be painting the underside of the tower.

The fingernails on this hand were bigger than my head.

Despite having painted five silos out bush recently, the men are a little nervous.

“Unless you’re doing it, you don’t understand the fear and doubt,” Steve said,

“You worry how good it will look at the end.”

Steve and Jordan welcomed locals to come have a look and a chat while they are painting.

And they needn’t worry. It’s already looking good.

Scroll through more photos below.

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