References to large-scale murals — particularly for those living in Melbourne, Australia’s graffiti mecca — likely conjure visions of graphic illustrations sprawled across industrial walls. The artist Kitt Bennett, 34, subverts this expectation, forcing viewers to examine his craft from a different, more elevated perspective by painting his works on unconventional surfaces such as car parks, bridges and rooftops.
Bennett, who self-funds most of his work with the support of paint companies, says “an interest in looking at civilisation from above” spurs his choice of canvas, and he delights in the shifting viewpoints they inspire. “When [people] walk on top of it, the artwork seems huge,” he says. “But when they see a photo from above, it makes them feel tiny.”
In 2019, the artist turned his palette to 9,000 square metres of deserted space at Port Melbourne’s Fishermans Bend precinct. Created in collaboration with the street art agency Juddy Roller, “Nine til Five” features 10 backflipping figures, each about 30 metres long, and required some 700 litres of paint.
Bennett’s murals, which generally take a few weeks to complete (weather pending), always begin on paper. Sketchbooks, he says, are “crucial for keeping me in the zone, feeling loose and ready to draw every day”. He tends to work early, when his focus is best. “As I’m getting older, I’m working more and partying less,” he says. “It could be because the lines between work and play are blurred, and I really enjoy what I’m doing — I want to be able to do it all the time.”
A solo exhibition at Melbourne’s KSR Gallery in December will feature images of Bennett’s ground paintings from the past five years and explore recurring themes in his work, including technology, the internet and the landscapes we move in. Ultimately, Bennett says, he wants his murals to merge with their environment. “I’m very interested in the idea that we are not separate from the universe and our environment, but we are made out of it,” he says.