Street Smart

October 1, 2018

Street Smart

Ben Dalzell is a Sunshine Coast street artist who recently found his feet in the industry after 25 years of painting as a hobby. He will join five other esteemed artists at the The Nambour Street Art Festival this October to beautify the town and celebrate the unique and sometimes stigmatised medium that is street art.

From 15-21 October, Nambour Street Art Festival will see professional and emerging artists take on the biggest and most neglected walls in Nambour and turn them into masterpieces.

Event organiser and long term signwriter Lorraine Taylor has been a Sunshine Coast resident for 20 years and moved to Nambour two years ago.

“It was just a neglected town that could be lifted into a tourist destination,” she says.

All that was required was a lick of paint.

Lorraine came up with the idea for the Nambour Street Art Festival last year around the same time as local artist Ben Dalzell decided to focus on his street art full time.

One of the six invited professional artists to the Nambour Street Art Festival, Ben has been an artist for 25 years and got into street art as a young skateboarder.

“It was part of the culture. A couple of my older friends started to get into graffiti and I slowly got into it in about 1994. I’ve always been an artist, I’ve always drawn. It was just a natural progression for me. It was the right type of artwork for me to get into and I just fell in love with it.”

It was a wonderful coincidence or perhaps fate that Ben decided to focus on his art at the same time as Lorraine came up with the idea for the festival.

“It was amazing. I don’t even know how we found each other!” he says.

“I’m going to do The Shack, the homeless support building, and that’s going to be sponsored by the Endeavour Foundation. I’m quite happy about that because it’s right in the middle of Nambour. And I’ve got another big wall to do on Bury Street for the festival as well.”

While Ben doesn’t reside in Nambour, he is thrilled to be enhancing what he describes as an already beautiful little town.

Nambour Street Art Festival
Street art by Ben Dalzell

“They’re trying to gentrify Nambour and clean it up a little bit. Since I’ve been going there I’ve noticed there’s a lot of space for artwork and that’s what Lorraine wants. She wants to really pretty the town up and make steps towards cleaning it up,” he explains.

Lorraine says she was inspired by Toowoomba’s First Coat festival, which saw the town come alive with street art and has turned it into a tourist destination. She believes the newly painted street art will give people an excuse to venture to Nambour (during and long after the festival) to witness high quality art for free. Emerging Nambour is also joining in on Lorraine’s quest to bring the festival to life, and will help clean up the streets in time for the unveiling of the art.

While street art has the ability to liven up a town, there is a stigma associated with it. Ben hopes to inspire young taggers to harness their creativity and create art in a legal way. Students from local high schools will be given the opportunity to meet artists like Ben and harness their skills at the festival.

“Street art has helped me. I could have gone down a really bad road but it kept me from doing that.

“I really believe that the graffiti in a city and in a town really shows the soul of the place. It’s the part that the youth understand. I’m a big advocate for having everything painted, it’s a real shame that it’s considered vandalism. All my mates that I grew up with are really brilliant artists. Some have travelled the world doing their art but there’s still this real stigma around it,” he says.

After the festival Ben hopes to brighten up the rest of the Coast with his colourful and unique street art.

“The Coast has got this hip vibe, but it’s got no street culture, apart from the skateboarding. But I’m going to try and get some walls in Maroochydore and around the Sunshine Coast and try and get a bit of street art up here as well,” he says.

Around 20 murals will be painted as part of The Nambour Street Art Festival by professional and emerging street artists and will involve students and volunteers from the community. To check it all out head to Nambour from the 15-24 October.

To see more of Ben’s art check out his Instagram: @bencdalzell

For more information on the festival head to: revivingnambour.org.au/safestival

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