Bendigo Railway Station adorned with impromptu art

THE rolling train journey from Bendigo to Melbourne is a time the imagination runs free, says Bendigo artist Julie Andrews.

That is why Ms Andrews asked travellers to peacefully sketch their minds' wanderings, to share her joy of both art and the meditative ride.

"The deeper comment of the work is not lost on people on the train," Ms Andrews said.

"It's an act of vulnerability to do a drawing in public."

Tomorrow marks the opening of Artist in Transit, an exhibition at Bendigo Railway Station displaying more than 300 A5 drawings by train travellers.

There was a variety of subject matter and the artwork varied in style but Ms Andrews said the quality was not important.

"It's participatory art," Ms Andrews said.

"It's about engaging people in an impromptu way."

It took three months to collect all the drawings, with Ms Andrews riding the V/Line train every day and approaching people with pen and paper.

She said travellers would sometimes drop hints they wanted to take part, whether it be through a smile or look of curiosity.

Ms Andrews would ask people to draw their emotions and thoughts and found most people were receptive to the concept.

"People would sometimes say they weren't good at drawing but they liked the idea so they would join in," she said.

"People were fascinated."

The process sparked conversations between passengers and livened people's journey, she said.

Materials for the exhibition were paid for by a Deakin University Arts Participation Incubator scholarship.

RMIT University, where Ms Andrews is completing her Masters in Public Art, also contributed a small amount of money to the project, but Ms Andrews received no payment for the countless hours she dedicated to the project.

She said one of the reasons people were so responsive to the artwork was because it was not commercial.

"It's about anonymous gifting," she said.

"If they give the work back to me they are surrendering it."

The exhibition runs until July 4 and features a closing event at 4.30pm that will involve Ms Andrews giving the drawings to members of the general public.

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