December 3, 2019


Have you seen the trees?


Anthony Lister is well known as one of Australia’s best contemporary artists and a pioneer of Australian street art. His work is highly sought after by collectors, and he is represented by premier modern art galleries around the world.



Lister is best known for his work on the streets. He’s even been fined for it (a whole $440!), which probably constitutes a badge of honour more than anything else. We tend to think of the Australian landscape in terms of Dorothea McKeller’s sunburnt country: our droughts and flooding rains, our silver trees and jeweled seas. But of course, for millions of us, the Australian landscape is an urban one. A place of concrete and man-made surfaces. Lister’s work uses those surfaces to tell stories about who we are now; an isolated continent of urbanites clinging to the fertile edges of a harsh land. We sift our own identity through the filters of western pop culture drifting in over the sea, and some of us make art out of it.



This kind of responsiveness to place means it should come as no surprise that Lister also feels a connection to, and responsibility for, the natural environment. He’s recently sponsored 1000 trees through Fifteen Trees. These have been planted in the Westgate Bridge area, a beautifully poetic meeting of urban form and natural regeneration. It’s a gesture of faith in our ability to accommodate essential city infrastructure, or maybe to soften the effects of it.



We are big fans of art activism in all its forms, and this is what Lister is doing by partnering* with us. There is growing recognition that we can’t enjoy an urban environment without tending to its natural counterpart. An artist – and anyone else – who plants trees is participating in low-key, long-term, absolutely vital environmental activism at its finest.


* Eco-deal. Lister painted this for me in exchange for 1,000 trees.



To find out more about Anthony Lister, check out Netflix doco called ‘Have you seen the Listers’. It is a candid and personal insight into the rise of world-renowned street artist Anthony Lister as he challenges conservative Australia, whilst battling his own demons‘. (Transmission Films).


Article by Sarah Hart


Sarah is an artist whose passions include the stories and experiences of women and narrative driven creative work. Her aim is to delight, to reveal glimpses of everyday beauty, and to celebrate flights of the ordinary. Sarah works across a range of media, with an abiding interest in pen and ink, mixed media and the human form.


And Colleen Filippa


Colleen is the Founder and Director of Fifteen Trees. This year, Fifteen Trees celebrates 10 years. To be part of the movement of companies looking to make a tangible contribution to our community groups and our native environment, contact Colleen at <[email protected]> or on 0400 040 659.




June 12, 2024
Individual actions really do matter! Individually we can really only make small differences to the world around us, but collectively our numbers add up. And if enough individuals are involved then forests can be grown!


June 10, 2024
We have a handful of organisations who purchase trees when they can. These organisations are masters of ingenuity when it comes to incorporating tree planting into their business practices.


May 21, 2024
The Institute of Public Accounts has supported one of our revegetation projects by purchasing a tree for every attendee at their recent Victorian Conference held in Ballarat, VIC. The trees (70) were planted in the district, in the weeks following the conference.