Ex-Canberran and award-winning street artist E.L.K. is transforming the city

As of 1 January 2018, the management of the City Centre Marketing and Improvements Levy transferred from In The City Canberra to the City Renewal Authority. Views expressed in these articles may not reflect the views of the Authority.

Award winning artist and ex-Canberran Luke Cornish, formally known as E.L.K., has been busy updating walls along Ainslie Place and soon Petrie Plaza.

Over Saturday the 3rd and Sunday the 4th of June, Luke and nine other street artists will be bringing life to Petrie Plaza with their own personalised artworks.

To create his signature artwork, E.L.K uses up to 85 layers of carefully hand-cut acetate, which he uses as stencils before spraying layer after layer of paint.

The result? Beautiful artworks that you could be forgiven for mistaking as photos.

“Canberra is very much a multicultural city, I wanted to focus on inclusivity so I took some photos of several community leaders from different ethnic backgrounds which inspired the murals around the city,” Luke said.

Being born and bred in Canberra, Luke feels a great privilege of showcasing his artwork in his home town and to motivate other local street artists to pursue their dreams.

“I have heaps of family and friends in Canberra, so it’s always really nice to come back, paint and spend a bit of time there.”

“Canberra is really at the forefront nationally for fostering local communities, and I think these mural projects have created the foundations for a strong street art community,” he said.

“I’d like to think my artwork inspires and gives other street artists momentum to pursue their dreams and make a career out of what they love.”

Luke says the support from local businesses have enabled a thriving street art community in the city.

“There is some fantastic stuff going on at the moment in the City; especially with businesses like In The City sponsoring all the amazing mural’s and art projects.”

“The In the City art projects deter a lot of graffiti and it also gives artists who do graffiti an outlet to practice their artwork, and when they start selling their artwork they can achieve a sense of empowerment,” Luke said.

Keep an eye out for his signature stenciled faces next time you’re in the area!