Emerging artist Callum Hotham is not one to sit still and wait for something to happen.
He grew up in Bathurst, but already he's lived in the UK and Sydney, where he played first-grade cricket before making the move back to his home town to raise a family.
Big murals painted using aerosols on the outside of buildings and across internal walls are Callum's speciality.
Some might call it street art, but there is a detail and depth of talent that radiates from his creations that is inspirational.
What makes Callum's story unexpected is that painting was never a long-term career aspiration when he left school.
"I never did art at school or anything like that," he said.
"I wanted to be a professional cricketer and when I left school I went to England to play cricket."
Callum played plenty of representative cricket as a teenager.
He enjoyed a prolific school career, representing St Stanislaus' College 1st XI for several seasons before he graduated.
During his final year, he was selected to vice-captain the Independent Schools Association and was also involved with the Western Zone age-group representative squads.
He played for Bathurst District Cricket Association in the Mitchell Cricket Council and was instrumental in helping the Association to its fifth straight Presidents Cup title in the 2016/17 season.
Callum spent several seasons playing in the UK Premier League before he moved back to Australia, where he joined Western Suburbs District Cricket Club.
He made his first-grade debut during the 2018/19 season to be Western Suburbs District Cricket Club first-grade player number 713.
But his sports career was put on hold when COVID-19 hit Australia and the countless rounds of lockdowns started.
"I like to be busy, doing something, and I can't sit still, so I started to look at what I could be doing while I couldn't go to cricket training," he said.
"That was when art came to me and what's really strange about it is that I've only been doing it for about two-and-a-half years now.
"Both my partner and myself are from Bathurst and we moved back here about a year ago when we had our son."
He said the move back to Bathurst made sense not only to be closer to family after having their son, but also because Callum was starting to get a bit of work in the district.
"When I was a kid, I always liked to draw, and Nan still has some of my work from when I was little.
"But it was Dad that is a really good drawer and I think I get some of my talent from him; well, I get the drawing from both my parents really.
"I think Dad is better than me [at art], but I'm the lucky one that picked it up [as a career]."
Callum said he started with small projects, working on plywood and using the aerosols.
"I took on any opportunity that came my way and practised on plywood."
He said his early jobs were unpaid, as he didn't want the extra pressure, but he was only three jobs in when he got his first paid commission with a gym in Hornsby.
"That was a lot of pressure and took me a long time to get it done."
He said realism was his strength, doing portraits and the like, but he was trying to establish himself with a particular style that encapsulated an ironic and humorous nature.
"I'd like to go down a storytelling path with my art rather than just a floating head on the wall," he said.
The commission he is currently working on covers the side of an expansive Bathurst CBD building owned by retired real estate agent Peter Rogers.
"Peter is a big lover of street art from other cities and he has been trying to get something done in Bathurst for a while," he said.
"I came to his attention via Sophie Wright, who is another local active in the Bathurst community.
"Once Peter saw some of my other work, he said he would love for me to do something on his wall.
"It's his way of giving back to Bathurst and hence that's the theme of the art, which includes things like the gold panning and Mount Panorama."
The size of the project means he's been working on it for the past month and he estimates there's another month before it's finished.
Another commission that attracted plenty of attention was Hutchison's Bakehouse in Blayney, where the exterior of the building now features a monochrome image of a baker and two cheeky gingerbread men.
The outside commission was done to complement the earlier artwork completed by Callum inside the bakery.
"The two gingerbread characters are in both pictures and represent the owners' two boys Kye and Tate," he explained.
"And it's telling a story in that the old baker featured outside is responsible for making the gingerbread."
The subject of cricket also featured in some of his early projects.
The Western Suburbs District Cricket Club has some of Callum's paintings in its Pratten Park change rooms.
Club president Michael Swan commented when the art was brand new that Callum should be very proud of it.
"When Callum asked me if he could do some artwork in the change rooms, I wasn't expecting stick figures, but nor was I expecting the incredible quality Cal produced," Michael said.
The club captain Isaac Taylor was also impressed with the art.
"The feeling in the change room has completely changed. Plenty of the boys commented on the weekend how the artwork makes you feel a sense of ownership and pride," Isaac said at the time.
Callum was also responsible for a temporary Shane Warne mural tribute on a busy street in Paddington in March 2022. Warne died suddenly on March 4 that year while on holiday in Thailand and Mark Vincent commissioned the mural through his ad firm Habitat.
"I'm just so thankful for all the support and encouragement I've received from the Bathurst community to be able to do something that I enjoy," Callum said.
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