Violet Town has landed a huge coup with local resident and renowned artist Michael Leunig’s agreement to create entry signs for the town.
Michael Leunig said that “although it’s only a sign, this can make an expression about a town. That’s the advantage of a small town – it doesn’t have to be stodgy and boring but can have spirit and be a model for larger towns. For example the toxic dump issue brought farmers and town people together- if this town put its mind to it, it could do anything”.
He added that he understood there are some people who may not like it but again it’s just a sign. “It’s lyrical, contemporary… it’s an imaginary street map. It’s a small town, not just laid out on a square grid, it has personality. The symbols are not claiming anything- it’s about community. It’s the teapot people sitting around drinking tea, it’s houses, it’s trees, and it’s musical instruments. It’s got a vivacious quality. It’s cheery, unusual, colourful and shows the spirit of the town - a town that dares to be different.“
Michael said he was delighted to be involved with the project. What really impressed him was that no money was paid to consultants - the town just got on and did it.
Michael Leunig is an extremely well known cartoonist, philosopher, poet and artist . He has explored political, cultural and emotional issues for over thirty-five years. He was made one of Australia’s Living Treasures by the National Trust of Australia in 1999. He was also a major contributor to the opening ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games and there is even a Leunig-painted Melbourne Tram.
Michael’s final comments were that Violet Town is a “good natured, light hearted humorous town. A community making its own sign tells a story about Violet Town – it’s a town that encourages creativity and this leads to prosperity.“ He would like to think that the sign will stimulate other communities to do the same thing.
Violet Town has been without the sign on the eastern entrance to the town from the Hume Freeway for a few months when a large branch brought it crashing to the ground. The sign has been rebuilt and repainted and hopefully will be back up for Christmas 2015.
Michael said on hearing of the damage..." oh the bush!"
Past VTAG Chairperson Bruce Cumming said VTAG was delighted to see the signs welcoming people to the town. He said they will be a feature and an attraction and he was proud that ”Violet Town had been prepared to do something different – to take a risk.”
So next time you come to Violet Town take some time and have a look. You will not be disappointed.