Rolling Portrait of a Firefighter
“This work acts as a monument to the firefighters who have died in the line of duty while also commenting on the cycles of life, death and regrowth after forest fires.” — Fintan Magee
THE ARTISTS: Fintan Magee is one of Australia’s leading public artists known for his murals throughout his country and world in cities such as London, Vienna, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Moscow, Rome, Jordan, and Dublin amongst others. Born in Lismore New South Wales he grew up in Brisbane, gaining a reputation as a graffiti writer before obtaining a fine arts degree and relocating to Sydney. Magee’s practice is informed by a profound interest in political murals, inspired by exposure at a young age to those of his Father’s native Northern Ireland. He often uses personal stories to talk about broader issues like climate change and the migrant crisis for instance his 2015 solo show at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne, which was themed around his own personal experiences in the 2011 Brisbane floods. Magee’s work is driven by his recognition of the power of murals to communicate political and social viewpoints and thus divide or unite communities.
THE ART: The 122’ x 18.5’ mural is an animated portrait that is a tribute to firefighter Cody Zetlmaier who belongs to the Big Bear Hotshots unit and helped saving the building owners’ Ryvonne and Mike Bruno’s home during the Northern California Wildfires. He is depicted holding a co-worker’s helmet as a single flower grows from it.
THE STORY: The October 2017 California wildfires were a series of 250 forest blazes that burned across the North of the State. 44 people lost their lives in the fires while over 6,000 structures were destroyed and hundreds of thousands acres of forest and farmland were incinerated. With seven of the 10 largest fires in California history occurring in the last 15 years, many scientists are now pointing to climate change as one of the major factors behind the increase. During the incident more than 10,000 firefighters battled the blaze, with crews arriving from as far away as Canada and Australia. This work acts as a monument to the firefighters who have died in the line of duty while also commenting on the cycles of life, death and regrowth after forest fires. Consisting of 14 hand-painted portraits, the mural is designed so that each portrait acts as an animation cell. As the viewer passes the wall at speed on the train, the work animates, giving the portrait life and movement.
THE PLACE: 1730 Action Avenue on the back of Ace Automotive & Truck Repair.