Last November we highlighted the talented artist and surfer Ben Ross. This Peninsula resident made a name for himself globally through his strikingly vibrant creations that radiate beach vibes through working with Nike, Rip Curl and Nixon, to name a few. His ability to capture the essence of summer caught the attention of James McPherson, owner and chief ideas man at JimmyRum Distillery in Dromana.
“It’s the biggest mural on the Mornington Peninsula and the biggest hand-painted mural in all of Melbourne,” Ben said. “It’s a bloody beast at 48m by 4m. The inspiration behind this was the process of rum, how it’s made and, best of all, how it’s enjoyed. I had a blast painting this beast and want to thank everyone that helped out and came down to support the process. Standing there in 30C-plus heat while painting the mural wasn’t easy but seeing everyone down there supporting me definitely made it that much better.”
Ben explored the complete process of rum, from the production through to the customers enjoying the drop. The theme Producing Happiness not only explores the euphoria you feel when you pour the rum, but also how this mural could produce happiness for the people of the Peninsula. Here, Ben drew from his memorable trip to Mexico just before the global pandemic hit, reflecting back on a time when he was truly happy.
“I think the Peninsula drew the short straw with the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions being lumped in with the metropolitan region, and I know it took its toll on a lot of local people and the businesses. So I wanted to make the Peninsula smile, just as I was in Mexico. I wanted to give them a feeling of travel and the feeling of relaxation and of course the feeling that finally we’ve bloody done it and lockdown was lifted.”
Ultimately, Ben’s goal in life is to make people more at ease and be more relaxed, and with this mural he’s achieved just that. He’s succeeded in providing the community with something to bask in that just oozes relaxed summer vibes and celebrates socialising over a locally brewed spirit. He’s Peninsula-proud and he truly believes that we’re based in one of the greatest places in the world, and he wanted to showcase that fact. We’re sure you can agree he hit the nail on the head with this spectacular mural. Overall, the mural took a couple of months to complete, and Ben admits that once or twice he stood back and thought, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ and ‘Why have I said yes to this – it’s too big!’. But these panicked thoughts were quickly followed by, ‘If you can do this, Ben, think of what else you can do’ and ‘A wall is going to feel small compared to this’. So what did Ben do? Had a stiff drink and cracked on.
“Sit back, enjoy the waves, the drinks, and the people with the finest the Peninsula has to offer. This mural definitely broke me but ultimately made me a better artist for it, and for that I thank JimmyRum for the trust, for the company and for the laughs. Cheers, James, for having the trust in me.”
Paige pays a visit to her pet pig Mr Pickles, who lives at her parents’ property in Bittern.