Friday, 4 November 2016

'City Less Grey' Mural Commission

In September I have been commissioned by East Street Arts (together with Leeds BID) to paint a mural at the oldest street in Leeds. The mural is an important project reflecting the history of the street, the history of Leeds and its people. As an artist who hasn't been born in Leeds it is a big honour to be part of the project where I can give my own insight into the city's life and contribute to its creative development.

But that's exactly why Leeds is such a special place - it allows newcomers like myself to settle down and bring their experiences and share their culture and expand the city's cultural growth.

There are dozens of different nationalities living here, sharing spaces, communicating and exchanging cultural knowledge. I think it is fantastic!

The mural's design is based on several elements. A big part of it is informed by the city map plans across centuries (13th till now), using outlines of the buildings and spaces as the part of the composition. All the map elements are taken specifically from the Kirkgate area. The second part of the design is based on an alphabet, where eighteen of different types of script are used (like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Yiddish, Russian, Greek, Hindu, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjab, Thai). The symbols from the alphabet from various languages describe one word: 'art'. They are then taken apart, mixed, and composed into the image , where each part is 'occupying' certain element of the space.

Kirkgate as the oldest street in Leeds signifies the beginning as well as the continuation of the city's development. I believe that the cultural diversity is what creates Leeds and what is its incredibly valuable asset.

The draft below shows how all the elements will fit together to create a balanced composition. The length shown is approximately one third of the total length of the mural.

Wall primed and ready to take masonry paint and the design!



Jenna, Alain, Nuala and Jamie helped with painting - great skills and big enthusiasm from their side made my day very happy! Thank you guys :-)


More shapes drawn today. After the evening of frozen hands and late finish I was once again treated by the Art Hostel and had a chance to attend Sofar music event with wonderful voices and relaxed atmosphere :-)



Half way there :-)



Finished on the 27th of November!






The project has been a fantastic opportunity to build a dialogue between artist and a viewer, where questions were asked from both sides. It appeared very early in the conversations how important is the 'balance' in the public space, where architectural and human element create a unique 'habitat'.

I am pleased to say that most of the dialogues have been scribbled down and will hopefully be published and accessible for everyone to read.

In the meantime I invite you all for the 37m walk across Kirkgate with my artwork as now part of the space: < CLICK ON THE LINK!!


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

West Yorkshire Playhouse Mural Commission

I have been commissioned to paint three murals on the internal corridor of Barber Studio, leading to the new theatre space. Design is based on the specificity of the stage environment, its elements and details.













Monday, 15 August 2016

International Urban Art Conference

Very pleased to announce that me and two of my colleagues from East Street Arts are part of the 'Aesthetic Energy of the City' conference in Poland, which takes place by the end of September. It is an international urban art conference taking place at the university in Lodz, where artists, philosophers, aestheticians, art historians, architects, urbanists, psychologists will be talking about various subjects connected with art in a public space. Please click on the link below to get more info and see the full programme:

We are presenting a paper:
'Renovation, Shaping and Cultural Integration: Creative Development of Leeds' Architectural and Social Habitats'
which talks about urban art development in Leeds and its impact on the city's creative development.
More updates and photos soon! :-)

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Works Mural Project, Leeds


The Works, as the name suggests, used to be an industrial workshop, it manufactured train engines and contributed towards Leeds industry at the time.
Today, it is a thriving sport hub with a large indoor skatepark, bouldering walls and a youth centre. It provides an important space where people socialise, learn and have fun.


The mural project started in May as an idea of painting the cafe's walls and giving the space new design and feel. It has been proposed by Lloyds Bank and their community involvemnt programme 'Give and Gain' together with the management from The Works.

Through initial talks and negotiations with Lloyds Group (Kathryn, Malcolm) and the space's manager, Jonathan, it has been decided that the project should reflect the building's history, its function and architecture. I really wanted to connect the present time of the building with its past, establishing a link between now and then, between people who use it now and between the ones who used to work here. With that in mind, me and Jonathan decided on the most obvious idea to consider - the train engine itself! And that's how the talks developed into a set of drawings.

The design builds a link and provides historical 'continuity' of the place - it gives a chance to ask questions about the past and develop awareness about the area. I believe this is the core to preserve the space's identity and through this, build community where history and its elements are the assets.

The overall composition of the mural uses an idea of a blueprint, where elements of the design work together with the building's architecture. I played around with all sorts of engine's shapes, details and lines to finally connecting them into a working composition that has been scaled for the wall.

Project will be regularly updated with photos and stories here, till its completion.

The project is sponsored by: Lloyds Bank, Seagulls Paint Shop (Kate, Josh and Adam - great bunch of super helpful people), Dulux Decorative Centre in Kirkstall (big thanks to Matt) and Fred Aldous (thank you Ali!!)- thank you SO MUCH!! Without those amazing and generous people we wouldn't be able to run the project