The Queensland College of Art has partnered with Queensland Rail to bring student artwork from the classroom to the street.

Seven students from fine art elective The Street, led by Simon Degroot, have transformed 34 metres of wall in Brunswick Street into contemporary street art in conjunction with Queensland Rail’s Positive pARTnerships community art program.

In an intensive three week course, the group — comprising illustrators, painters, animators, jewellers and arts/public relations students — was encouraged to consider all perspectives of street art before conceiving and implementing their own designs.

The winning design, entitled Heat Wave, came from 19-year-old third year Fine Art Drawing Major, Sophie Reid-Singer.

Sophie says it was the first time she had created art of this size and scale and her goal was to communicate “the hot, muggy weather of Brisbane through abstraction of shape and line.”

“The design elements reflect the playful nature of Fortitude Valley, while also showing the sun and a heat wave across the land, which is so applicable for a Brisbane summer!

“I absolutely loved creating art in such a public space for all to see, instead of it being only shown in a studio or museum,” she says.

Councillor Vicki Howard visits QCA students as they create the Heat Wave mural

Councillor Vicki Howard visits QCA students as they create the Heat Wave mural

Leading the class, Simon says the goal of The Street is to broaden art making experiences by encouraging team work and community engagement.

“Taking students out of the studio to consider the urban environment can lead to a truly collaborative effort with a real outcome,” he explains.

“It’s an important discussion to have with any class. We need to build our own visual experiences and not just passively live in the world around us.

“We need to take responsibility to create the best work we can – contemporary art that is engaging and visually interesting, not merely familiar versions of what has come before.”

Simon himself is no stranger to the world of street art, with his work adorning walls and blank spaces big and small throughout Brisbane.

This latest mural is also the third time he has collaborated with Queensland Rail Community Artist Dan Brock.

Dan said through such partnerships Queensland Rail aimed to instil community ownership and pride in public infrastructure.

“Street and public art is increasingly gaining momentum as a new force in contemporary art, and through Queensland Rail’s Positive pARTnerships program we aim to provide students and community groups with a hands-on understanding of public art process and implementation,” Dan said.

“I was thrilled to have collaborated directly with students from QCA on this project, which has resulted in beautiful artwork for the local community and the thousands of customers who pass through Fortitude Valley station daily to enjoy.”

Simon agrees, mentioning there is increasing interest in public art within Australia.

“As student interest in public and street art increases, it is important to meet this interest with an informed dialogue in order to explore this rich history and its conceptual frameworks,” he explains.

QCA students Sophie Reid-Singer, Henri Cash, Danielle Milne, Chloe Healey, Fatemeh Nabizadeh and Jermu Hautsalo worked together to create the mural as part of The Street.

Watch time-lapse footage of the mural being created: