Much-travelled local artist now showing at Yarrila Arts and Museum

Local artist Gareth Budge and the Mayor Cr Paul Amos at the exhibition When in Rome at YAM.

MUCH-TRAVELLED artist Gareth Budge returns to his home city for his first exhibition at Yarrila Arts and Museum (YAM).

Entitled ‘When In Rome’, the exhibition is a photography series shot in Rome capturing the ever-changing form of urban ‘wildposting’.

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“Wildposting is a public information service, a time stamp, an unconscious collaboration offering a tangle of stories about time and space – to create chance formations, revealing and obscuring the undertones of a place,” Gareth told News Of The Area.

“I love how accessible yet obscure this artform is.

“Wildposting walls are ever changing – altered and impacted by natural and unnatural elements.

“There one day and gone the next, creating a form of unconscious collaboration.”

For Gareth it all started in downtown Los Angeles, California where, in 2016, he was living in Echo Park near the famous music venue the EchoPlex.

“The intersection near my house would be covered in everchanging wildposting,” he said.

“I noticed they would regularly update these posters, which would then decay and be manipulated by the weather or passersby and take on the most incredible abstract formations.

“Then they would disappear and be replaced by new band advertising or movie posters relevant to that point in time.”

Intrigued, he threw his camera over his shoulder one day and decided to capture sections that caught his eye.

“After a few months I showed a close friend what I had documented, and their reaction made me realise I wasn’t a crazy person and have been taking photos of walls ever since.”

In the lead up to When In Rome, YAM hosted a workshop with young people who created a large-scale installation that is on show as part of the exhibition.

Young creatives were invited to the YAM Digital Studio during the school holidays to create a digital poster responding to the question “What event would you like to see or experience in Coffs Harbour?”.

Participants were encouraged to think about place, reflecting on the culture that makes a place.

“The amazing YAM curator and program staff at Yarrila Arts and Museum for the City of Coffs Harbour made this happen,” said Gareth.

“Coffs Harbour born and raised, I never thought I would see such a unique and diverse space with a refreshing level of support for the youth and emerging creatives.

“I wanted to use this platform to share and welcome the youth into the space to create a piece to sit alongside my current body of work, to show that galleries can be exciting, fun and an open and inviting space.”

The aim was to get a younger demographic through the doors of the new YAM.

“I feel truly humbled to be one of the first to exhibit and work alongside the amazing people at the City of Coffs Harbour that have worked tirelessly to bring this cultural hub to life – I wish this existed when I was their age.”

The City’s acting Director City Planning and Communities, Ian Fitzgibbon, said he was delighted to see another world-class exhibition open at the City’s new, state-of-the-art facility.

“The added bonus here is that we’re showcasing an artist who grew up in Coffs Harbour,” said Ian.

“And now he is empowering and inspiring our City’s young creatives.

“It’s a great example of YAM fulfilling its vision to illuminate knowledge, arts, heritage, and community creativity.”

Gareth believes his fascination with wildposting comes from his beginnings in a regional town.

“I guess you naturally tend to appreciate the smaller things that are often overlooked by people occupying these fast-paced lively cities.

“After experiencing what the world has to offer it’s clear how much my hometown has shaped who I am today as an artist and an individual.”

A former Coffs Harbour Jetty High School student, he developed a passion for surfing at an early age.

“I learnt to surf in both Coffs Harbour and Sawtell.

“Boambee Beach – Gallows at one end in summer and Trapdoors the other end of the beach in winter.

“I was lucky enough to be considered by the surfing community a local at both beaches, a rare honour.”

When In Rome is on now, through to 10 December, with free entry.


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