The work has found a fitting home in the outdoor section of Cafe Novella on Bay Street, little more than a fisherman’s cast from the ocean.
It’s the latest piece from McDonald, a Lennox Head-based artist, whose works have graced some of the world’s top galleries.
The Old Man and the Sea ‘is very evocative – you can feel the atmosphere of that place, and I think this spot has that same feeling,’ said McDonald, a five-time Archibald Prize finalist.
‘When Paul [the cafe co-owner] and I talked about the theme, we initially considered a marlin or a sea creature like a kraken.
‘Then we thought what about a salty sea dog who’s immersed in the sea and is looking out to it.’
The decision to draw from Hemingway’s 1952 masterpiece came from Cafe Novella’s co-owner, Paul Fisher.
‘It’s always been one of my favourite novellas and I just thought it was the perfect location so close to the water,’ Fisher said.
‘We always had this blank space there and one day Angus said, “you should put a mural there”.’
The painting is the latest inclusion in the burgeoning local street-art scene, that has also benefitted from a series of Council-sponsored laneway murals in recent months.
‘Original art has a whole different energy about it,’ McDonald said. ‘Now if we could just replace all the advertising [in Byron] with original art that would be great…’