The man behind the rural murals

It’s no secret silo art has become the latest to pop up on the art scene… so much that it’s almost been impossible to miss on social media! From Thallon to Cloncurry, and all the way down to Sea Lake in Victoria, these works just keep popping up in each state around the country, and we are loving it. They are giving small towns a pin on the map and reminding us why it’s so important to #HolidayHereThisYear and check out our beautiful backyard.

So we sat down to chat to the man behind these rural murals — The Zookeeper, also known as Joel Fergie. And like a lot of young artists, Joel got into ‘street art’ at an early age. Since then, his work has evolved into something completely different to how it first began. Though something that hasn’t changed is his love for nature and the environment… and that’s how his alias, The Zookeeper, was born.

“Around 10 years ago, as I was painting these animals, I thought ‘it’s like I’m creating a zoo of animals, and I’m collecting them as I go’ … so I thought maybe I could just be The Zookeeper?”

His next movement, as The Zookeeper, was to connect with a community or a rural place and find a way to create something that represents them.

I never really imagined painting silos would be a thing. I’d seen photos of them but never thought ‘wow, that could be a canvas’, you know, ‘that could be something that could have a giant artwork on it’.”

Then came the Thallon Silos.

“Seeing how that town has been able to embrace it and bring in people from all over the country, I think is the most important and special part for me… because I know it’s an amazing place, and I’ve luckily had all these opportunities to connect with communities like Thallon, but I don’t think other people would travel there without something like that… it’s a huge drawcard and it’s just a huge honour to be able to do that for a town”.

Good on you, Joel. We, and many other Australians, love your work. To keep up with The Zookeeper, check out Joel’s socials here to see where his next silo work pops up! It could even be in your town.