So I've had time to recover from the mammoth wall mural I completed (in the drizzle) in Blackburn town centre, and what a bloomin joyous experience it has been...let me share some of it with you!
After compiling all my research I drew, and drew (and drew) all the things I could think of to do with Blackburn - it's Architecture, it's people, it's history and it's colourful spirit. In fact I drew so much that I fast ran out of space on the gigantic 8 metre design I mocked up.
I decided to use the phrase 'Ey Up Chuck' as a positive colloquial greeting to those passing as well as a symbol of the cheery Blackburn spirit. Using imaginative typefaces to grab peoples attention.
Around this I filled the remaining wall with my drawings, all coloured in a vibrant colour palette (I'm sorry but I simply don't do bland)
This is the biggest mural I have designed so far and although it took days to sketch, I knew the extensive planning would be essential to ease the application - especially working with over 10 different colours!
So, on a sunny Saturday, with the mapped out design all ready, I got on with getting rid of that horrid plain boarded shop front! First was the pink base coat (applied with my cheery Poppa Pete) and wow did it instantly command attention from the many passers by!
Colour mixing time! I got some primary colours mixed up from the Dulux colour mixing system and set about matching mushed up versions of them to my design...a process that took over 3 hours! I decanted them into sealed storage tubs (from the trusty pound shop up the road)
The lack of access to a sink meant I had to invest in plenty of brushes - one small and one fat for each colour, and I kept them wet using sandwich bags around the ends (which lasted the entire week!)
First to apply was the base colours for the statements (on a particularly wet day!) I was quite aware of not wanting to leave the unfinished mural at the risk of being vandalised so it was super late nights/early mornings, but having said that now the mural has so far been left untouched, which pleases me no end.
Settling into the application (after making friends with each brush) and sketching on the bottom half, I moved from left to right and back again applying one colour at a time, which proved to be the most sensible way to work.
It was really encouraging to talk to the Blackburners passing by, who were all intrigued and positive about the change to the run down shop. Some people passed by on a daily basis to keep up with my progress which I found really sweet. It just goes to show you that people of all ages, and from all walks of life are keen to see creative regeneration happening in their area, and really helped me stay positive through some pretty drizzly days :)
Slowly but surely as the week progressed, the mural came to life on Lord Street and bar from a few compositional changes the design was staying pretty true to my wishes.
After a swish of my trusted Posca Pens to add those little important details such as faces and labels...VOILA!...it was finished!
I sealed the mural with a good coat of varnish which will protect again rain and sun alike, and proudly had my picture taken for the local paper, which my Nan was super proud of, especially since it ended up on the front page...
I have thoroughly enjoyed this project! Murals are one of my most favourite things I do in my practice. There is something about the childlike naughtiness of drawing on a wall that will never cease to be thrilling, and being allowed to do such a thing in a prime location (with a live active audience) only serves to enhance my pride.
This project was commissioned by the wonderful people at LET project and the regeneration team in Blackburn. It's truly inspirational - the idea that creativity should be at the centre of local regeneration, and that although times may be hard we can do something to help brighten up the physical spaces, and the spirit of those in neighbouring businesses.
You can see more pictures of the finished mural on my Flickr