TRUE ARTISTIC FLAIR: Local artist Warren Salter re-paints the 1967 van he painted 20 years ago. Van owner Rainer Geitl serves ice-cream.
TRUE ARTISTIC FLAIR: Local artist Warren Salter re-paints the 1967 van he painted 20 years ago. Van owner Rainer Geitl serves ice-cream. John Mccutcheon

Warren’s creamy van art takes some licking

NOOSA'S First Point on a good day takes some licking - something not lost on young signwriter Warren Salter when he first set eyes on the place more about 21 years ago.

Back then an opportunity rolled in for Warren as sweet as the sets rolling in. He came across Rainer Geitl, whose Frenzy ice cream van was in need of a creative paint job.

This van, over the past 20 years since the artist-in-waiting was inspired to paint the koala panels, has become quite an institution and a quick browse of some travel blogs rates the van and those ice creams as a real local attraction.

"I'm a full-time artist now, but I was a signwriter when I moved up here and I did the original mural of the van around then," he said.

"He's told me over the years, when I've gone down there to have an ice cream with the kids, it's always received a lot of attention.

"Tourists love it and people come back to Noosa with their families for a holiday and the old ice cream van has always become a part of the history of the place to a lot of people."

Warren said the van was even on one of the tea towels "down at the souvenir shop".

"It's a bit of an icon."

But to Rainer's eyes, its charm, which may not have faded, certainly needed a new creative take, after two decades of catching everyone's eye.

Warren said the old enamel signwriter's paint had survived the test of time but Rainer "could not find anyone to do the new mural".

So he went back to the source of the artistic output and Warren, although he has been a full-time artist for 15 years, took the commission.

"My artwork's improved as well, which is another good thing," Warren said.

"The old design was koalas in a gum tree - the new one is a sort of a surrealistic Noosa Beach with an old EH Holden car, which is very Australian.

"It's just a scene of a guy going surfing."

And the finished work is set to be drawing attention for a couple more decades to come - as long as people's taste for Noosa and ice-cream remains ... and the van stays roadworthy.

- PETER GARDINER