When people think of street art, the first things that often come to mind are graffiti artists, Banksy or vandalism. But for some artists, taking their work to the streets is the only place they can really do it justice. After all, where else can you get a canvas as big as a building, or a grain silo?
There are some truly talented mural artists out there, and some artists find their greatest inspiration in the faces and lives of older people. The lines on their faces tell a story of a life well lived, their hands show the hard work they committed themselves to, and their eyes draw you in to talk about their history and the stories of their youth.
These are some of our favourite wall murals of older people from around Australia and the world.
Street artist Smug, aka Sam Bates, painted this incredible photorealistic mural of his grandparents in Melbourne back in 2017. On the wall of the power station on Spencer and Lonsdale streets, it was one in a series of works he did in and around the city at the time.
The world-renowned street artist also created this monolith of a work on grain silos in 2019. Coming in at 30m tall, Wirrabara, South Australia is home for this work-weary farmer and his beautiful robin.
Canadian artist Elicser Elliott painted these two in Toronto in 2015. One section of a larger piece, they can be found on Sheppard Avenue in Scarborough. The piece is of the faces and cultures found around Toronto, with these two at the top, looking over the rest of the city.
French street artist Créaéro painted this piece called “The Old Man and the Sea”, inspired by the Ernest Hemingway poem of the same name. At 70m2, this incredible photorealistic older gentleman is in Ville de Morlaix on France’s far north west coast. Painted on the wall owned by 88-year-old Jeanne and 90-year-old Alexandre, he’s been watching over the town since January of this year.
Russian street artist Julia Volchkova painted “The Old Fisherman“ on a trip to Malaysia where she was invited to create murals around Penang in 2014. Her murals featured people from the city, offering snapshots into their lives and culture. Finishing her final mural in 2016, she featured images of older people working, sea faring, and younger people dancing and laughing, creating an interactive gallery of local culture.
Kyle Tourney painted these incredible murals on some silos in Victoria’s Northern Grampians, in the old gold mining town of St Arnaud. Titles “Hope” the mural depicts the town’s gold mining history, and took around 800 hours to complete. Finished in September of this year, the work is one of the latest additions to Victoria’s Silo Art Trail
The “Proud of our Elders” mural by Carol Ruff stands proudly in Sydney’s Randwick. Originally painted in 1981, and lovingly restored in 2012, the work features the faces, names and stories of some of Sydney’s most influential older people. For almost 40 years, the “Proud of our Elders” mural has been lovingly watching over Randwick, and admired by all those who pass by.