This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

An Enormous New Public Artwork From The Artist Who Paints With Fire Extinguishers

Creative People

On the fringe of the city, near the top of the Merri Creek, an enormous artwork splashed with vivid primary colours has appeared on a newly built tilt-slab warehouse. The painting is by Ash Keating, the celebrated Australian artist known for his large-scale murals, created using fire extinguishers filled with house paint.

A Love Letter To A Very Rocky Creek (Hume Response) is a self-initiated piece, created with no client, no funding and no limitations, and it’s been pivotal to helping this prolific artist fall back in love with his craft.

14th May, 2019

A Love Letter To to a Very Rocky Creek (Hume Response) by Ash Keating. Photo – Dan Preston.

The artist at work. Photo – Dan Preston.

Ash first saw this perfect Craigieburn site while driving back into Melbourne on the Hume Highway. Photo – Dan Preston.

Ash painted in bold primary colours for this piece. Photo – Dan Preston.

The colours recall an early piece Ash created, but had never documented. Photo – Dan Preston.

The unobstructed site is unlikely to meet the same fate as many of Ash’s other works on walls, most of which been knocked down or built up against. Photo – Dan Preston.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 14th May 2019

Ash craved the freedom that a self-initiated project would allow him – and now he had the perfect wall.

Artist Ash Keating makes the drive to Sydney and back every year. Heading along the Hume Highway into Melbourne, most people wouldn’t have taken much notice of a relatively nondescript warehouse building that belongs to a concrete pumping company on the Craigieburn exit. All Ash could see was the canvas for his next work.

Celebrated in the art world for his large-scale murals that explore colour, movement, and gravity, Ash’s work has featured in major institutions and exhibitions across Australia, including at Melbourne Now, Sydney Contemporary, TarraWarra, at the VCA for Sugar Mountain Festival and  Meat Market in North Melbourne. But after taking on so many commissioned projects over the last few years, Ash craved the freedom that a self-initiated project would allow him – and now he had the perfect wall.

Built facing grassland, the Craigieburn site didn’t run the risk of being knocked down or built up against, like every other wall Ash had painted in Melbourne.

Between 2012 – 2016, Ash painted a series of landscapes on walls that spoke to the rise of development and the loss of the natural world, camouflaging the works back into its surrounds. A Love Letter To to a Very Rocky Creek (Hume Response) in all its bright, burning glory approaches the same idea from a different end of the spectrum. ‘It’s a continuation of that project, but also a contradiction to it’, Ash explains, ‘I’m painting quite bright and outlandish work, and highlighting rather than hiding it’.

In contrast to the often tightly controlled conditions of commissioned projects, Ash wanted to be ‘free to improvise’ while he made this work, and take new paths in his creative process. Completely self funding every element of this personal project (that means buying hundreds of litres of paint, and hiring a scissor lift!) allowed Ash to ‘fall in love with painting again’.

Ash took a trip to Canberra with a graffiti artist friend many years ago, just as he was first getting into painting. He painted the underside of a bridge, first with a 10 litre tin of black paint, and later added bursts of bright blues, yellows and reds over the top. The colours in this new work recall the palette one of the important first works for Ash. ‘It’s almost like a memory of a really dynamic work that was kind of pivotal to me, but there’s no documentation of’, Ash tells, ‘part of the inspiration is this memory of making a work that I knew was interesting but not documented.’

Setting out at sunrise just as the mural was nearing completion, Ash and photographer Dan Preston, an old friend, collaborated on this series of images and video that captured Love Letter To to a Very Rocky Creek (Hume Response) in all its glory.

Love Letter To to a Very Rocky Creek (Hume Response)
by Ash Keating
Visible from the Craigieburn exit on the Hume Highway

This Week

Homes

A Quirky Redfern Terrace With A Hidden Green Roof

The unconventional family home of designer Sacha Coles, split over 4 levels!

Food

Julia's Crunchy Crumbed Fish With Cos Salad + Yoghurt Tartare

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's delicious take on a classic summer fish dinner – on high rotation for the rest of the season!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Architecture

An Unconventional Beach House Elevated On Steel

Steel beams elevate AB House by Office MI—JI to form an unconventional beach house in Barwon Heads.

Creative People

The New Small Business Making Mid-Century-Inspired Furniture In Australia

Culture Cush are making velvet-covered modular lounges inspired by retro designs, with the best materials of today!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Local Artist Hannah Maskell Creates Mesmerising Grids Of Colour

The Melbourne-based artist's geometric drawings and wooden sculptures are a cross between 'colour theory and colour therapy'.
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Art

A Look Inside Abbey Rich's Mesmerising New Exhibition

See the Melbourne artist's beautifully bold abstract pieces at MARS Gallery, filled with playful patterns and hidden meanings.
Christina Karras
  20 hours ago

Gardens

A Boundless Garden Immersed In Native Bushland

A new coastal home on the Mornington Peninsula buried deep within a native grassy woodland, with stunning gardens by Plume Studio.

Gardens

A Lush Secret Garden, Inside A Converted Melbourne Church!

This surprising garden in East Melbourne has its own lagoon pool, a natural fish pond and 10m-tall walls covered in ivy.
Christina Karras

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Local Icons + TikTok Stars, Ginger And Carman

Get to know the fashionable, dynamic duo, whose fun-filled adventures (and inspiring approach to life) have made them Internet famous!
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras

Climate

Everything You Need To Know About GreenPower (+ Why You Should Make The Switch)

The easiest way to invest in in Australia's renewable future - and it's simpler (and cheaper) than you think!

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Similar Stories

Creative People

The Tools I Use · Adnate, Artist

Matt Adnate is painting the tallest mural in the Southern Hemisphere, on a 20-storey housing estate in Collingwood. Here's how he does it.

Art

Rone's 'Empire' Eclipses All That Came Before

The Collingwood-based artist’s most expansive exhibition, installation and VR experience to date opens to the public next week.
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

Ash Keating

The Melbourne-based artist exhibits 'Gravity System Response', a collection of 20 vast, vibrant paintings on linen, created in the his Bru...

This Week

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Sustainable Homes

An Off-Grid, Modern Country Farmhouse In Regional Victoria

Step inside a newly built farmhouse that's fully off the grid, with all the classic features of an old country home.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Local Artist Hannah Maskell Creates Mesmerising Grids Of Colour

The Melbourne-based artist's geometric drawings and wooden sculptures are a cross between 'colour theory and colour therapy'.
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Unconventional Beach House Elevated On Steel

Steel beams elevate AB House by Office MI—JI to form an unconventional beach house in Barwon Heads.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Local Icons + TikTok Stars, Ginger And Carman

Get to know the fashionable, dynamic duo, whose fun-filled adventures (and inspiring approach to life) have made them Internet famous!
Christina Karras

Art

A Look Inside Abbey Rich's Mesmerising New Exhibition

See the Melbourne artist's beautifully bold abstract pieces at MARS Gallery, filled with playful patterns and hidden meanings.
Christina Karras
  20 hours ago

Climate

Everything You Need To Know About GreenPower (+ Why You Should Make The Switch)

The easiest way to invest in in Australia's renewable future - and it's simpler (and cheaper) than you think!

Gardens

A Boundless Garden Immersed In Native Bushland

A new coastal home on the Mornington Peninsula buried deep within a native grassy woodland, with stunning gardens by Plume Studio.

Gardens

A Lush Secret Garden, Inside A Converted Melbourne Church!

This surprising garden in East Melbourne has its own lagoon pool, a natural fish pond and 10m-tall walls covered in ivy.
Christina Karras

Creative People

The New Small Business Making Mid-Century-Inspired Furniture In Australia

Culture Cush are making velvet-covered modular lounges inspired by retro designs, with the best materials of today!
Christina Karras

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Homes

A Quirky Redfern Terrace With A Hidden Green Roof

The unconventional family home of designer Sacha Coles, split over 4 levels!

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Food

Julia's Crunchy Crumbed Fish With Cos Salad + Yoghurt Tartare

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's delicious take on a classic summer fish dinner – on high rotation for the rest of the season!
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Similar Stories

Creative People

The Tools I Use · Adnate, Artist

Artist Matt Adnate is painting the tallest mural in the Southern Hemisphere. Here's how he does it.

Art

Rone's 'Empire' Eclipses All That Came Before

The Collingwood-based artist’s most expansive project to date opens to the public next week.
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

Ash Keating

The Melbourne-based artist exhibits 'Gravity System Response', a collection of 20 vast, vibrant paintings on linen, created in the his Bru...

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net