Self-taught Newcastle pop artist Mitch Revs has wasted no time in sensing the weight of the moment. He’s been working on a rough sketch of his vision of the soon-to-be-demolished Queen’s Wharf Tower, closing in on a full-scale colour artwork to be completed hopefully before Christmas.
Personally, he has no loving attachment to the 30-metre steel-frame tower on Newcastle’s waterfront that is set to face the axe within six months. “I’ve probably only walked up it four times,” he said.
But speaking as a young artist, Revs said, “I hate to see it go. I’d love to see it stay there. For me, it is iconic to Newcastle, it’s always been there.”
Revs’ commercial work is part of the fabric of the changing face of Newcastle, like the exotic summer vibe on the walls at trendy new restaurant, Lulu’s Cafe & Poke. His artwork of characters and beaches is legendary, like his Merewether Carlton rugby union poster of Townson Oval and his Pasha Bulka 10-year anniversary piece.
For him, the tower presents a new challenge – who should be in the frame? He’s got some ideas, but he’s looking for answers.
Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes is already in it, waving a banner from the top that says “All good things come to an end”.
The V8 Supercars are at the bottom of the tower, with the view featuring busy Newcastle Harbour, the Stockton bridge and the steelworks. He’s likely to add the Queen, waving from the back of a ship. And yes, there’s a guy in a hoodie tagging at the top of the tower.
The final work will debut at a pop-up exhibit in February, behind the doors of another iconic city building.