Hanging your head: Exotic painting is tribute to Tia Byrne

Image copyright Justin Byrne Image caption In Justin Byrne’s tribute to his son, Tia, a football (Tia) is hanging high up with the other kids celebrating reaching their goals

In honour of his son Tia, who died last year aged eight from cancer, Canadian artist Justin Byrne decided to build a symbolic head-bumping portal into a strong easel-like armature on his shop floor, a head-bumping sign post.

“Laying down and leaning into the armature, you can really watch the yin and yang — the creation of the ladder and the coming of light, something that’s creating a dynamic.

“It’s a really neat way to make use of this physical space.”

The idea came when Byrne noticed a similar ‘lean’ symbol on graffiti around the city of Perth.

“I took a look at it and thought it was very interesting, so I started developing an image of a young child that would be leaning into the armature, like crossing the river with a ladder

“Over the course of a year, I created all the details around the young child, I bought an old human hair from the market and we pressed it to the arced armature.”

Byrne hopes the fully functioning idea will be a way to remember his son, but also inspire others to come up with creative ideas.

Image copyright Justin Byrne Image caption Justin Byrne wants to encourage others to use space to their best advantage. He wants to use the sign post to incorporate it with other commercial spaces

“What’s incredible about this idea is you can just bring up the easel on the shop floor and make it move to the tune of a music piece,” he said.

“So if you want to make a contrast of the anchor against this outside space, you can include that, have your light bending around the armature, and it can mirror other ideas of how humans should interact with this planet.”

Where can people visit the mural to visit the back end of the armature where this visual interface happens?

Image copyright Justin Byrne Image caption Each side of the hand-written message will act as an alternative phrase to the notion of leaning

“People can come down to my studio and see the armature, but they also have the ability to check out the top half of the mural that’s up on the shop floor.

“What we’ve done is put the best of the idea and paint it into one great, big pyramid to lay it on the shop floor.”

For inspiration, Byrne may look to other artists and sculptures who have also taken unconventional approaches to their art.

“What’s great about this is the potential to give new life to the service industry.”

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