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Larry the Lobster, South Australia's famous 'big' tourist attraction, reveals new look

Kingston's Larry the Lobster
Freshly revamped and ready for the public is Kingston's famous Larry the Lobster.

Supplied: Casey Sharpe

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It may just be the strangest commission South Australian artist Lucy Bonnin has ever completed.

Normally, her work is featured in renowned art competitions the likes of the Bald Archy and the Kennedy Art Prize but Ms Bonnin's most recent project has been to give Kingston's famous Larry the Lobster his spark back.

Lucy's crayfish
Lucy Bonnin's freshly-caught crayfish which doubled as inspiration, then lunch.

Supplied: Lucy Bonnin

"I can't say I've ever done a large lobster before; now I can," she said, laughing.

Considered a must-see on Australia's 'big list', the south-east South Australian tourist attraction has debuted a fresh new look after an extensive revamp by owner Casey Sharpe.

Larry's future has been an ongoing bone of contention for Kingston residents for many years.

After heavy criticism surrounded a stalled crowdfunding campaign last year, Mr Sharpe funded the refurbishment himself, using public donations and funding from the State Government.

Structural work has been completed over the last few months and getting an artist to brighten up Larry's faded orange shell was the next step.

Ms Bonnin took her research for the project as seriously as she took her 2016 Bald Archy entry of a naked celebrity chef Matt Preston, cheekily clad in just a cravat.

The artist got up close and personal with a freshly-caught crayfish to get the colouring and detail just right.

"Then we ate it. It was really good."

Larry the Lobster aerial
A birds eye view of the revamped and repainted Larry the Lobster.

Supplied: Casey Sharpe

Ms Bonnin layered brighter red and yellow colours with rollers and brushes to give Larry texture, but said accessing the towering fibreglass structures of various anatomical parts required creative solutions.

"He is such a bizarre shape. Even with the crane and boom lift, we just couldn't access some spots, so we put brushes on the end of 10-foot poles," she said.

Ms Bonnin said she was delighted with the end result, saying they had given him back his personality and spark.

"He just looks more like a lobster really. We gave him a bit more of a mouth so he looks quite scary in a way," she said.

"Hope we're not scaring all the kiddies."

But the public are clearly delighted with Larry's new look, inundating the official Larry the Lobster Facebook page with comments on his restoration.

"Looking good Lazza!" said one comment, while another remarked that Larry was "looking good enough to eat".

Memories of Larry

The newly revamped Larry is delighting many tourists and local residents who have watched the decline of the giant icon over the last decade.

Larry the Lobster in 1979
Shane Snell took this photograph of a brand new Larry the Lobster in 1979.

Supplied: Shane Snell

Flaming red and 17 metres high, the lobster was an instant tourist sensation when erected in 1979 as added 'stopping power' for a Princes Highway seafood restaurant.

Murray Bridge resident Shane Snell remembers visiting the lobster countless times over the years and said he loved seeing the giant figure whenever he visited Kingston

The last time Mr Snell saw him was a year ago, faded and with a wonky feeler, and he said he was looking forward to the seeing the newly restored Larry the Lobster.

All the way through his 'plastic surgery', Larry's many fans have continued to visit him, Mr Sharpe told ABC Local Radio.

"Hundreds of people stop daily, it's incredible," he said.

"It's incredible the amount of people that pull up, take a photo and he puts a smile on their face."