Beci’s urban collage

Stroll down Franklin Street, between Melbourne City Baths and RMIT, and you’ll notice that the hoardings surrounding Metro Tunnel construction have had a colourful makeover.

The large-scale artwork by renowned commercial designer and illustrator

Beci Orpin is a collage, featuring papers treated with inks, gouache, acrylics, pastels, colour pencils and watercolour.

‘This is by far the biggest and coolest project I’ve done to date,’ Beci said.

‘The collage aims to encourage passers-by to take delight their surroundings as the city changes, while also reflecting the historical context of the site.’

Beci began her career as a textile designer and, over 20 years, her creative journey has included high-profile commercial projects for major fashion labels, four DIY craft books, children’s books, international acclaim, celebrity fans, and much more.

‘This is by far the biggest and coolest project I’ve done to date.’

You might also recognise Beci’s bold, dream-like style adorning products by ethical toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap and garments by Melbourne’s own fashion label Gorman.

‘In the last 10 years, since having children, my work has continued evolving, and I have combined the skills I’ve developed in illustration, art direction, styling and writing, towards new projects,’ Beci said.

‘As a public transport user, I see the Metro Tunnel Project as an important part of the progress of the city. And public art just makes it even better, so I was pleased to have been lucky enough to be selected for this project.’

While at first glance Beci’s work seems modern and colourful, the collage also invites us to look closer and observe its historical context.

‘The designs I have created echo the architecture, local history, culture and Indigenous flora of the area – both in obvious ways and in the abstract,’ Beci said.

‘It’s all about the combination of old and new, made and found, reflecting the growth and complexity of Melbourne.’

Keep an eye out for Beci’s second collage, which has just popped up on the Metro Tunnel hoarding on A’Beckett Street.

Beci’s colourful artwork is only a taste of things to come.Metro Tunnel’s Creative Strategy will guide the artworks and experiences that will be delivered across the construction sites.

The Creative Strategy will work hand-in-hand with the Urban Design Strategy to ensure the new stations and public spaces are designed well, feel safe and work for the people that use them.

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Paintings and craft inside Beci’s studio

A glimpse inside Beci’s studio, where illustration meets design and craft