Late last year, Keating approached Joe Lagana, who owns the warehouse where he runs his concreting business, with his vision: to cover the building in bold colours using fire extinguishers loaded with paint.
By April — and counting black wallabies, alpacas and mobs of kangaroos as audience members in the surrounding paddocks — Keating had lathered a 10-litre tin of black paint on the warehouse as a base.
Then came the physical «marathon» of hoisting up the 80 fire extinguishers he used to spray bright colours on the building.
«It is a quite intensive, full body physical process to do the large scale murals, and often I do them quickly — in half a day or less,» Keating says.
The artist, who is based in Brunswick and funded the Craigieburn warehouse work himself, says his latest painting is «me putting something out there that shows things don’t have to be planned exactly».
Mr Lagana, who built the warehouse in 2016, says its new facade is «fantastic».
«Ash came past one day in December and spoke to one of my workers. We had a telephone conversation and he sent me a link to some of his work,» Mr Langana says.
«I straight away said ‘go for your life, do what you have to do’. I really like the design that he did. All of my neighbours are quite impressed with it too.»
Keating’s work is somewhat less abstract than the installations along EastLink and Peninsula Link.
Of all the artworks along the two freeways, ‘Hotel’ on EastLink draws much attention: a $1.2 million, 20-metre fake hotel that rises out of an empty paddock in Dandenong South.
Not far away a giant black steel bird can be seen peering at a cuboid yellow worm.
A little further along, at the Seaford interchange in Carrum Downs, Lego meets the Sims in a «retro-futuristic» space station installation of 15 plastic objects titled ‘Panorama Station’.
EastLink commissioned various Australian artists for its collection, while a group of local councils commissioned the ‘House in the Sky’ wire installation that is suspended above the Western Ring Road.
Melbourne’s Roadside Art Collection
The giant black bird — EastLink, Keysborough
Hotel — EastLink, Dandenong South
‘House in the Sky’ — Western Ring Road Freeway Interchange, Altona
Desiring Machine — EastLink, Carrum Downs
Panorama Station — Peninsula Link, near Seaford interchange, Carrum Downs
Michael is a reporter for The Age.