Artist Josh O’Rourke has lived in New Brighton all of his life.
He loves the sea and its untapped potential for creativity.
Now, the 30-year-old has left his own indelible mark on a long stretch of wall overlooking the beachside basketball court just south of the New Brighton Pier.
Low Pressure High Pressure was finished in December and represents the surf breaks and weather patterns O’Rourke has become so fond of in his many years living in the area.
O’Rourke was educated at New Brighton Catholic and Shirley Boys’ High Schools and has family in the area.
He was given the go-ahead to install his design after being named as one of the two winners of the SCAPE Public Art Trust’s Re:Activate New Brighton competition last year.
His strong connection to New Brighton was his inspiration for entering the competition.
“I’m pretty passionate about seeing New Brighton do well and doing things that are good for the community.
“As a local artist, there are people in the community who know who I am, so I kind of felt a little bit of responsibility to put in an application and have it considered.”
O’Rourke said completing the project had been important for both his growth as an artist and New Brighton’s growth in general.
“For me, it represents development and growth in my practice.
“For the public . . . I hope that they see that there’s been a bit of an investment in the area in public art and beautifying the space.”
O’Rourke was a surfer and his experience with topographic weather maps to find out the size of waves and direction of wind had inspired the design.
“I’d been toying with the idea of the patterns of the weather maps with some studio work and I thought that it would be perfect for the site because it’s so impacted by the weather . . . with surfing, I’m always looking at those maps and their impact on what we’re doing when we go out.”
The completion of the project took seven days, but it was carried out over three weeks because of bad weather.
It was fully funded by
SCAPE, with O’Rourke also receiving prize money for his winning design.
Fellow New Brighton artist Nathan Ingram was the other winner and is in the process of installing another work on the basketball court, which O’Rourke’s piece overlooks.
Ingram’s artwork, titled Forces will be completed by March.
The two pieces are part of city council’s South of the Pier Re: Activate Works, which will also involve the repair of the basketball court.