What’s That? – An Inquisition into the Canteen Mural

James H (Year 10), Chief Contributor

Everyone’s seen it, but it seems that nobody knows what it actually is.  

In the brief stint of on-campus learning at the start of last year, you might have been lucky enough to spot renowned artist ‘Beastman’ painting the mural on the side of the canteen. For a week in March, in an unannounced and almost mysterious manner, Beastman worked on this mural to brighten the passage from the quad to the amphitheatre. But what actually is the artwork? Why is it here?  

And who even is Beastman? 

Brad Eastman (or Beastman as he goes by) is an award-winning artist who exhibits his pieces around the world. In his time as an artist, he has experienced a large variety of success across different solo exhibitions, commission works, and more. What really ties everything together is that Beastman is actually an alumnus of William Clarke College, who graduated in 1997.  

Beastman’s artworks all follow a similar motif in their design, using bold outlines and elegant geometry to create a unique spectacle. The key themes of his artworks are described as follows: 

“Influenced by the biodiversity, symbolism and design aesthetics behind nature’s growth patterns and organic landscapes, Bradley’s paintings, digital illustration, commercial projects and public murals explore a unique visual language, depicting future environments of abstracted geometric landscapes, potential new life forms and human intervention with nature.” 

Photos taken by B. Eastman; retrieved from Instagram @bradeastman

You can find more about Beastman here. 

The story behind the actualisation of Beastman’s work at William Clarke is actually quite a unique one in itself.  

The journey began in a Year 8 art class in 2020. During the first assessment task for the subject, I remember being told that my artist’s statement for my task needed to refer to an artist, where the mentioning of the artist had to be on the last name basis as “they were not our friends”.  

From the artists that had been studied across the year, I had chosen children’s book author and illustrator Jeannie Baker to base my artwork on, but in a petty move, wanted to call her Jeannie in my artist’s statement. Of course, to do this, I had to follow my teacher’s direction and affirm my friendship with Jeannie Baker in order to call her by her first name, so I went about contacting her. To my utter surprise and amazement, she actually responded, but unfortunately told me to follow the advice of my teacher.  

This started the theme of the class emailing artists. Some people in the class went on to try to contact other artists, such as Anish Kapoor. When it came to learning about Beastman, many students looked into contacting him, and during their research were surprised to find that he went to the school. 

Such a connection could not be ignored, so with the instigation of some students and the help of the art teachers and subsequently the executive team, we were brought to the canteen mural that we see today.  

The mural really is an iconic, but often overlooked part, of William Clarke College. It’s great to be able to appreciate the processes that brought about the artwork as it is now, as well as knowing more about the artist himself. It will be disappointing to see the mural go as the new building comes in, in a few years’ time. The environmental thoughts that go into his artworks make a comment on the impermanency of art, and so it’s end could perhaps be what Beastman intended of his mural. 

 All we know is that while it is there, it will remain a spectacle to behold.