There is perhaps no more iconic visual symbol to Melbourne than our trams, and no greater honour for an artist than seeing your work featured on one!
Testament to the city’s long-standing history of nurturing creativity and the arts, between the years of 1978-1993 the Transporting Art program featured the works of significant local artists like Mirka Mora and Howard Arkley proudly emblazoned on the classic W-Class trams. Thanks to the Melbourne Festival, this incredible public art project tradition was reintroduced in 2013, with the works of eight acclaimed and emerging artists wrapping our new generation trams for several months.
Local legend Stephen Baker is one of this year’s featured artists, lending his signature minimal, graphic style to trams on the 57, 58, 59 and 82 routes. ‘I’ve tried to capture the cultural diversity I see in Melbourne’, Stephen explains of the ethos behind his design, ‘everyone has their own identity and individual piece they bring to Melbourne…I wanted everyone to be able to see themselves in the artwork’.
On having the opportunity to see his works roll around Melbourne, Stephen went on to say, ‘I feel connected to my city a little more knowing that my artwork is attached to something so defining for Melbourne, and proud to see an investment in the arts here in Melbourne with events like the Melbourne International Arts Festival.’ Amidst news of the Sydney Opera House being used as ‘the biggest billboard‘ in the city, we must admit we’re feeling a pang of Melbourne pride right now!
Alongside Stephen, the 2018 Melbourne Art Trams artists are designs by street artist Oli Ruskidd; Gunditjmara woman Hayley Millar-Baker; academic, educator and game designer Troy Innocent; year nine school student Valerie Tang; cartoonist Oslo Davis; the artist behind Richmond’s famed Tiger Legend Nick Howson mural, as well as the revival of the late artist David Larwill’s design, first featured in 1986 for the United Nations International Year of Peace. Keep your eyes peeled for the new look trams – you might just be boarding a piece of public art on your daily commute!
Check out this short documentary of Stephen Baker behind-the-scenes of his Art Tram launch!