The next Pyrmont Festival of Food Wine and Art will be held 11am - 5pm on Sunday 20th May at Pirrama Park, the old Water Police site.
I will exhibit a selection of my Pyrmont canvases painted from the early 1980s - 2012. Pyrmont has changed beyond recognition from the early 1980s, from an almost deserted industrial ghost town to a media, retail and entertainment hub.
I painted 'en plein air' and was 'Artist in Residence' at many locations including Pyrmont Power Station, the CSR Refinery and Distillery, Pyrmont Goods Yard, the Waterpolice site, Jones Bay Wharf, Union Square and the top of the half completed Anzac Bridge. Most of my paintings were created on sites that were off-limits to the public.
However, sometimes I set up my easel by the side of the road - or even right in the middle of the road. There were few passers-by and almost no traffic. I have returned to paint scenes that I last painted a couple of decades ago to compare and contrast the past with the present.
On Harris Street a handful of derelict buildings still rub shoulders with the clean sharp angles and acidic colours of Jacksons Landing.
The "Terminus Hotel" on the western corner of Harris and John Street has become a pin-up for lovers of urban decay.
Its burnt sienna brickwork and emerald green doors mock the tastefully muted hues and expensive renovations of the up market "Point Hotel" on the other side of the road. This vine encrusted ex-pub proudly flaunts an air of seedy glamour, and stories about its scurrilous past and its mysterious closure have become part of the local mythology. It is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket and doesn't care who knows it.
This building on the corner of Harris and John Street was once a bakery, and then a typical Greek milk bar. The proprietors used to make their own icecream in the traditional way - twirling it around on a stick.
They had one of those old-fashioned football machines operated by a handle, with rows of wooden "players" kicking a ball. It would have pre-dated the pinball machines by at least a decade.
I have painted in Pyrmont and Ultimo for over 30 years now, but I don't actually remember when this ceased to be a thriving business.
If it ever really thrived.
If it ever really thrived.
Next door to the ex-bakery is "Chicks on Harris" ("chicks" in this context refers to fast food- I'm not sure that the owners thought through the implications of their name as a number of establishments in this area in the past have had chequered reputations).
The old bakery had already been boarded up for some time, as there were archaeologically interesting layers of tatty posters layered on top of the boards which sealed the doors - a tradition that has continued to this day.