Artist 'Oh My Gosh' McCosh at it again

High art but not high brow: Warrnambool street artist Gary McCosh with one of his creations on top of Images restaurant in Liebig Street. Picture: Morgan Hancock
High art but not high brow: Warrnambool street artist Gary McCosh with one of his creations on top of Images restaurant in Liebig Street. Picture: Morgan Hancock

He’s in the trees, he’s in the shops, now he’s on top of the shop awnings.

Warrnambool artist Gary ‘Oh My Gosh’ McCosh has never bothered exhibiting his work in galleries and has used the streets as his exhibition space.

Topical, controversial and comic issues have been the millieu he has worked with.

In his latest artistic assault, he has adorned the awnings above several shops at the southern end of Liebig Street with figures that include super athlete Usain Bolt, Matt Pitman from The Settlement band and Oddball and penguins, of Middle Island fame.

All have a sign bearing a humourous verse written by Mr McCosh, such as the one in front of Usain Bolt on top of Images restaurant that declares Usain is bound to get the meals out on time.

Some are pure whimsy such as the tableau in Fishtales restaurant of Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and Pies cheer squad leader Joffa discussing their “hit” list of players they want for next season that includes prospects such as ‘Colin Ostopy’ and ‘Dusty Shelves.’

Lynny Mast, co-owner of the Loft Music venue that got a ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ figure honoring Hamilton-linked fiddle player Matt Pittman, said she had seen Mr Cosh’s work for many years and thought it was “quirky and interesting.”

More shop operators have agreed for their awnings to also get the McCosh treatment but he is not letting the growing exposure of his work give him any inflated opinion of his work.

Always self-depreciating, Mr McCosh said “he started at the bottom and am still there.” He revels in comments that his art shows he is “knitting with one needle.” 

But he said he loved provoking a reaction from people with his work, especially if it was a laugh.

Mr McCosh has been creating art for about 10 years, varying his works from paintings to dioramas to sculptured figures.

One of his earlier projects was “Mystery in the Trees” in which he placed 20 figures of Australian animals in trees in the city centre. Cryptic clues on a website led people on a trail to find them.

No place is safe from his art and his station wagon is also a vehicle for his wise cracking social commentary.