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First Coat festival hosts artist who painted in Chernobyl

Brisbane artist Guido van Helton with his Pillar Project mural.
Brisbane artist Guido van Helton with his Pillar Project mural.

WHILE Toowoomba streets are readied for street artists descending on the region for First Coat, artist Guido van Helten will take over Stanthorpe with his works.

The First Coat festival is hosting a number of satellite sites as part of the First Coat event, with the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery's director Nicola Holly excited to see the large-scale artist in action.

"Guido is one of the best contemporary artists in the country and we are extremely proud to welcome him to Stanthorpe," she said.

The Brisbane-born artist recently made world headlines when he painted a striking portrait in an incinerator in Chernobyl as part of the 30th commemorations.

The piece was created in six hours, the first street art mural permitted inside the disaster zone.

 "It's just an eerie feeling to know there is this constant threat of radiation around," he said.

 "I had an underlying sense of feeling uncomfortable. Usually I always wear a mask but I don't need full-length clothes.

"Some of the other people who were there were just wearing T-shirts."

Ms Holly said the support of residents was encouraging more artists to the region.

Artwork by Brisbane artist Guido van Helton.
Artwork by Brisbane artist Guido van Helton.

"We had an overwhelming positive response to our first mural in February by Drapl and want to continue placing public works of art in the region," she said.

"Murals are the best way to bring colour and life into a town; they uplift people and create a sense of civic pride in the region."

Residents can watch Guido van Helten painting at 16 Maryland St on May 26 and 27.

The First Coat festival runs at the same time in Toowoomba from May 20-29.

Phone Nicola Holly on 4681 1874 for more information or visit

Topics:  artists first coat 2016 mural stanthorpe street art toowoomba whatson

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