A splash of colour – the Narrabundah reservoir transformation

August 12, 2019

For most people, the thought of using cans of spray paint to create a seven-metre high mural on the side of a water tank might be a bit daunting. 
Not to Canberran Geoff Filmer. 

A professional street artist, Geoff has just finished his latest masterpiece – a technicolour mural of native plants and animals around the massive Narrabundah water reservoir.

The mural was designed to deter vandalism on the reservoir – an issue in the past – but also to give a splash of colour to infrastructure that’s typically designed to blend in. 

You might have seen Geoff’s work before. He’s the man behind murals at the Erindale bus station, Dickson pool, Moore and Bunda streets in the city, at Floriade and even on pipes from the Cotter Dam. He's also turned a pump station on Red Hill into a Tardis.

For Geoff, being able to use something as plain as a reservoir to create public art is a fantastic thing. 

“I love creating wonderful, visual things for people to enjoy around our city. It’s about giving art and making people happy. The amount of people tooting their horns as they drive past has been amazing.”

The eye-catching artwork has been done freehand with only spray paint, and took Geoff more than a month to create. As for the tools of the trade, some of the large areas of background colour were done with a spray gun, but for the most part he’s used hand held aerosol spray cans. They’re a special brand imported from Germany – the paint is designed to last for many years out in the environment.

He did have help though – Geoff’s dad Peter, a retired artist himself, came along to help Geoff in this mammoth job. Geoff credits his dad with teaching him how to be a commercial artist, and now Geoff’s passing the skills on to his own kids. 

There was no template – the flora and fauna emerged ‘where he felt they should go’ while he was up on a scissor lift. 

The mural was commissioned by Icon Water which owns and operates the Narrabundah reservoir and 46 others like it across Canberra. The 18 million litre reservoir was built in the 1960s to provide clean water to the south of Canberra.