At 15 Philip Salmon was out and about in Sydney providing lighting for parties and discos all night.
A few years later he invented a lighting stand that could be winched up to illuminate rock bands on stage.
He studied industrial design and came to Orange in 1989 where he worked with rural landscapes before setting up a computer store.
“It was about eight years before its time,” he said.
Today he is the president of the Colour City Creatives, a group of 48 people interested in art who have a range of galleries and studios in the old railway crew sleeping barracks building below the Peisley Street bridge.
Its next exhibition, Terroir, opens on Friday as part of the Orange Wine Festival.
Mr Salmon said he joined after the group was formed.
“I joined in 2010 and took over as the vice president.
“Then the president decided she’d had enough and I defaulted to the president.
“I’ve been president for four years.”
He said with a background in internet technology, industrial art and lighting he generally left the art to the artists in the group.
“People say what is your art form?
“I like to say the Barracks is my art form.
“I like to put up the picture rails and fix the walls.
“They’ll be painting in here and I’ll go out and paint the white lines in the car park.”
Mr Salmon said Israeli sculptor Hilik Miranker created busts of himself and partner Jola Nejman 30 years ago.
Jola’s got sold but his now takes pride of place in the Barracks’ foyer.
It’s a mass of wires and old school technology with a phone planted on his ear.
“He reckoned I was on the phone a lot,” he said.
The Terroir exhibition runs daily from October 13-22, 10am-4pm, at the Barracks.
Mr Salmon said the works were landscapes inspired by a wine growing region.
From vineyard views to baskets woven with vines there is plenty to see and buy.
A key part of the Barracks is having studios for artists to work in and they will be open during the exhibition to show artists at work.
He said the group had received funding for an education and technology exhibition, Fashtech, at the Orange Regional Gallery from October 20-December 1.
It combines community and school artists creating garments of various kinds.
They have three annual exhibitions that tie in with Orange’s wine, food and poetry festivals.
And the Barracks is open to the public on the second Saturday every month.