Over the last few months, frontman, songwriter, artist, raconteur and puppeteer, Jimmy Willing has been painting seven new murals for the Nimbin Hotel. He’s just finished his extraordinary work which is a panoramic landscape that stretches from Lillian Rock to the Nimbin Rocks. Jimmy says, ‘I have tried my best to convey the rolling feeling of the hills. The murals are a period piece set in 1948 giving me carte blanche to paint an old time 1937 Federal truck, a 1936 Massey Harris Pacemaker Tractor, a couple of gypsy Vardo’s and a truckload of heirloom farm animals including the now endangered Wessex Saddleback pig.
They are set on a sunny day and are optimistic and happy, they are without a doubt unabashedly pop but not without thought. I wish like Henry Lawson before me to portray what is good about our character as a people.
I took the title for the murals from a song by Johnny Cash called Before My Time. A song in which Johnny waxes lyrical that there is nothing new in this world.’
Jimmy also took inspiration from other sources including Lismore artist Kim McLean and the old time obsessions of his band Black Train.
‘The watercolours of early Australian naturalist Neville Cayley, the musical notes emblazoned on Hank Williams’s Nudie suit and of course my biggest influence would have to be the landscape itself.
‘The old timers will no doubt point out that my Nimbin never was and that I have a vivid imagination and they may well be right but this is magical realism and I have allowed my imagination to wander over yonder!’
Jimmy unveils the new murals with mayor Jenny Dowell on Saturday at 1pm with a live Hick-Ups gig to boot.