Minda's Children’s Services’ short-term accommodation home Variety House is undergoing a bit of a facelift at the moment and helping to bring an extra spark of creativity and quirk is artist Angus Rayner.
Keeping the children and young people at the centre of the planning in the upgrades of Variety House, simple and minimalistic animals, plants and patterns have been added to several interior walls to bring the life to space as part of a broader refresh of the home.
Service Co-ordinator Stephanie Wallace says the team worked with Angus on the concept of native flora and fauna and creating families of echidnas, koalas, and kangaroos.
“We wanted it so that not all the echidnas are with the echidnas and not all the koalas are with the koalas and bringing them together because for a lot of the children accessing this service that’s not what their families look like,” Stephanie says.
“They don’t look like everyone in the family and their families are made up of different people – not necessarily just parents.
“The lines and patterns are also good for the kids who like to follow patterns and the use of a neutral colour base assists with sensory colour needs.”
Describing his style as “impressionistic with a bit of abstract thrown in” Angus admits he never did art in school, in fact he never picked up a paintbrush until his 30s.
Following a personal traumatic experience in Port Arthur in 1996, Angus says he wanted to do something creative and non-conforming, though at the time was unsure of what that was exactly.
“I picked up a pen, some paper and a few water colours and starting painting and it evolved from there,” he says. “I can’t do real life, I’ve tried, I’ve been to life drawing classes, but I just do what pops into my head. I finally had an exhibition almost by accident and sold 11 of the 14 paintings I showed and that’s when the lightbulb went off.”
The self-confessed “traditional behind the easel artist” wanted to venture outside and has tried his hand at a few murals.
“I reached out to Volunteering SA/NT because I had no idea about what I would do or who I could help and they said Minda was looking for someone so I thought I’d have a chat.”
Forging what’s certain to be a lasting connection with Minda, Stephanie says Angus’s mural adds an extra pop to the current refresh underway.
“We’re starting with making spaces functional,” she says. “We redid the office to make it easier for staff to do their job and from there it’s about making the spaces more fun for the children and young people who use the service.
“Variety House is an important space, short-term accommodation is important for the families so they can have respite and spend time with their other children, but we also want the kids to look forward coming here and thinking of it as a fun place to be.”