Pink Ladies donation brings local artist mural to paediatric ED at Coffs Harbour Health Campus

Artist Joe Neathway Brown, ED Paediatric Staff Specialist Dr Sarah O’Rourke, Pink Ladies President Helen Mears and Project Manager Mark Tyler in the procedure room that has been transformed into a magical, underwater world.


A BIG, bright, playful artwork by local artist Joe Neathway Brown has been donated by the Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies to Coffs Harbour Health Campus – a donation that will entertain youngsters attending the Emergency Department.

Joe has created several murals for the department’s four paediatric bays and procedure room; transforming the clinical white spaces into an underwater world filled with magical creatures and some familiar landmarks.

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The delightful work of art was funded by the Pink Ladies through a $24,000 donation, but ED Staff Specialist Dr Sarah O’Rourke said the artist’s creation was priceless.

“This is a magical underwater world for kids to escape to during what might be the scariest moments of their life,” Dr O’Rourke said.

Joe told News Of The Area, “When I first get a brief for an illustration I write a list of all the elements I want to include.

“To make the list, I research the area, get input from the client, ask locals about some secret spots and if I don’t already know the landscape, I’ll do a scout and see it for myself.

“The challenge for Coffs was following the underwater theme requested in the brief and deciding what part of the walls to cover using the allocated print budget.

“Challenges always push you to try new things and most of the time make for a better outcome.

“This was no different.

“The underwater theme made me create a bunch of different characters and plants and figuring out how to make Coffs Harbour landmarks work underwater created some really fun features.

“Knowing I had a budget for about 70m squared of artwork to be printed and installed, I came up with the idea to create the sections of artwork you can see.

“This allowed me to cover the important walls while the subtle joins and the addition of extra stickers gave the effect of a full room of art while still giving moments of respite in the areas left white.

“All my illustrations start roughly with pencil and paper, then I scan it and get clean and detailed line work using a Wacom (digital paper and pen) and the popular programs for creatives (Adobe – illustrator and photoshop).

“I add further details and ideas as I go…my initial list is never final.

“I then make sure everything I really wanted to include is included and put the art into scaled templates to send to the printers.

“Install took about three days and was super rewarding.

“My art always looks better on a large scale and seeing it that size never gets old.

“I worked with the printers to make sure everything was placed where I imagined it and they did a fantastic job of installing it.

“I love creating art for kids as I know how crazy their imagination is and trying to compete with that really pushes my creativity.

“I hope they love it.”

Pink Ladies President Helen Mears said she was delighted the Pink Ladies made the mural a reality.

“It is something so special for the kids and now that it is on the walls, and the ceiling, I can’t help but be amazed,” said Helen.




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