IN an artistic nod to the hidden pools of Newcastle, there is an air of mystery to the city’s latest, aquatic-themed, public artwork.
Commissioned by the University of Newcastle, the rooftop mural depicts a retro-style backyard swimming pool. But where is it?
The university is being coy, hoping to at least temporarily create an urban legend along the lines of the hidden baths beneath the City Arcade, or the long gone world map that adorned the floor of the Young Mariner’s Pool near Newcastle baths.
“Like those pools, this playful pool is also intended to surprise, delight and amuse,” a spokesperson said.
What we can reveal is that the mural was painted by former student Lucas Grogan, now a successful artist whose blue and white palette is a signature theme.
In a big hint to its location, the pool is painted to be looked down upon from above and will eventually be seen by potentially thousands of pairs of eyes a day.
Grogan’s art covers a diverse range of mediums and includes other large-scale public works displayed in Bali, Fremantle, Melbourne and Haymarket, in Sydney. The artist is briefly back in Newcastle after several years away working in Europe and Melbourne.
As a commercial artist, Lucas has collaborated with major brands including Basil Bangs,a maker of vibrant outdoor accessories, and designed an album cover for Chet Faker.
The collaboration came about when Grogan was shown the rooftop area while on a visit home, and commented that it would be a good spot for a mural.
“I wanted to create the illusion of a rooftop swimming pool that looked as though it had depth and was moving,” Grogan said.
“Also the idea of having a classic kidney-shaped backyard swimming pool on the rooftop of an old building made me laugh.
“Newcastle has a great history of legendary secret pools. I thought it would be fun to reinterpret this idea in a contemporary context.”
And if you still haven’t worked out the location of the hidden mural, this video giving a drone’s-eye view of the artwork might just give the game away.