Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Melbourne icon-chevron-right This massive colourful box is Melbourne's newest public artwork
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This massive colourful box is Melbourne's newest public artwork

Ash Keating, 'Hume Response' 2019
Photograph: Dan Preston

The next time you're heading along the Hume Highway and into Melbourne, you'll probably notice an 11-metre high colourful painting on the horizon as you pass Craigieburn. That's Ash Keating's 'Love Letter to a Very Rocky Creek (Hume Response)', a new artwork painted onto the side of a warehouse.

Keating was driving from Sydney to Melbourne in 2016 when he first noticed the new tilt slab warehouse and approached the owner – who runs a concrete pumping business in Craigieburn – about the possibility of using it as a canvas. After he saw a few examples of Keating's work, the owner gave him the go ahead to paint the building and bring a splash of colour to the surrounding paddocks – and a touch of culture to the sheep and alpacas.

Photograph: Dan Preston

After a full week of mixing paint and prepping, Keating joined the livestock in the paddock with some fire extinguishers and paint. First, he painted a black background and then loaded his paint into the pressurised extinguishers, spending half a day improvising his colourful markings all over the building.

Keating is an artist in high demand around the country and internationally, but for this painting he decided he needed total creative freedom. So he wasn't under any commission to create this work; it's entirely self-funded and self-devised.

His work is hard to miss, but Keating wanted to create something that spoke to the warehouse's location, with both its rocky, ancient landscape and all the new commercial developments. The title, 'Love Letter to a Very Rocky Creek', is in reference to stretch of Merri Creek that runs parallel to the painted wall.

Photograph: Dan Preston

Looking for more art around town? Check out our hit-list of the best street art hotspots in Melbourne.

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