Master of mundane, Trevor Dickinson, spreads his brush

Endearing: One of Trevor Dickinson's 52 drawings of Canberra bus shelters.

Endearing: One of Trevor Dickinson's 52 drawings of Canberra bus shelters.

Artist Trevor Dickinson has been obsessed by Canberra’s bus shelters since he first started drawing them six years ago.

That obsession has turned into something else, as he’s trawled the suburbs to track down every one of the 496 shelters, from Amaroo to Gordon.

Newcastle-based Dickinson is known for giant quirky wall murals around Newcastle.

He currently has an exhibition at Canberra Museum and Gallery which shows his drawings of 52 of Canberra concrete bus shelters.

The show includes a wall of his photographs of all 484 concrete bus shelters in Canberra.

“It’s been an obsessive two years but the response has been great,” he says.

Transport Canberra have even wrapped a bus with Dickinson’s artworks to promote the show.

“As the shelters are all pretty much the same I have to look at the context to make sure that they are diverse, so the surroundings, time of day, lighting and weather are all factors,” Dickinson told Karen Hardy of the Canberra Times in an interview in July.

“When I started drawing the shelters I would often be told how ugly the shelters are and how much they are hated, I never hear that any more,” he says. 

He said his research methods have changed greatly over the years, rather than just aimlessly driving around, he made contact with Transport Canberra, which provided him with a spreadsheet and a map and numbers of all the shelters.

He talks about how lifelike the shelters are, “like Manga characters with big eyes and mouths if you look at them from the right angle”.

“I think they look very friendly, some people think they're quite brutal structures but I see them as quite benign, sitting there doing a nice service for everyone,” he says.

He started drawing in Newcastle about seven years ago, focussing on things the locals might recognise but the tourists wouldn't and wondered whether he could transpose that idea to another city.

He came to Canberra in 2012 to do a six-week residency at Megalo Print Studio.

"When you visit Canberra it's quite hard to get your head around the place, I wanted to crack that a little bit.”

He has also managed to turn his artworks into affordable items for the everyday art lover.

You can find a comprehensive selection of digital prints and other works, including his Beautiful Bus Shelters of Canberra playing cards and stubby holders at www.trevordickinson.com

Dickinson’s show runs through January 27 at Canberra Museum & Gallery.

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