The Preston Market upgrade ‘Fresh Hood’ organized by The Space Agency.
The agency activates underutilised spaces such as main streets, shopping centres and open areas. A group of artists was selected and asked to come and add some interest to the walls of the old bingo hall that was to house the food stalls, live music and shops. This aspect of the project was curated by Dean Sunshine.
The project was titled Fresh Hood, a play on words changing fresh food to cool suburb with one letter. When I was told that Cam Scale and I would be collaborating on a piece on the same wall as Dvate and Sabath I knew that we needed to do something nice. Dvate and Sabath have both been painting for years but it is in recent times that they have been doing some particularly sharp, detailed and very impressive photorealistic murals on a large scale.
We divided the wall in half and Dvate and Sab let me know what colours they were using and a rough idea of what they were thinking of painting. This helped us choose colours that would work well together. We decided to leave quite a bit of negative space so as to avoid crowding their work.
Cam had an exhibition of his portrait work on canvas coming up, so I suggested that we use this opportunity to paint something that related to the work in his show. His show consisted of portraits of graffiti artists, street artists, art collectors, graffiti cleaners and the like. The paintings depicting the graffiti/street artists all had part of the artist’s face obscured and some artwork done by the artists’ hand. Their faces were partially hiddento highlight the fact that most of these people are known for their art, their personal image is often unknown.
We started painting early June 14th. Conrad is good to paint with; a hard worker who understands what needs to be done and gets to it. We both worked simultaneously on sections of the wall stopping occasionally to discuss the progress.
Cam liked this idea and decided that since I was to be painting the piece with him, he may as well do a portrait of me. I found this idea amusing and somewhat narcissistic but I can be both of those things at times, so why not? It’s not often that your likeness gets captured by the hand of an artist and he had done a portrait of me for the show so we knew what needed to be done.
I wrapped a bandana around my face and donned a cap, like a writer in the night about to bolt cut his way into a train yard.
The cap and bandana served as my canvas. My image was to be partially hidden by my strange somewhat Gigeresque style signature. I chose nice bright warm colours to jump off the charcoal background. I knew Cams’ colour palette would be controlled and subdued. I picked the purples, yellows and oranges to complement the browns and purples of the skin tones and contrast the dark basecoat. I brought a bucket of Dulux chrome with me as I thought that the background would be good to paint with a moon shining high in the sky.
We let elements of graffiti art creep into the design. I mean, it’s a portrait of a graffiti artist right? The hoody is made up of layered tags. The face looks ahead as though the tags are in the past and something new is on the horizon.
When we painted the moon we let it drip. More of a homage to having our roots deeply entwined in the graffiti world.
The moon plays a few roles on this wall. It works as a light source giving a cool glow to the face of the artist. It helps balance the composition and it looks like a giant mop marker or shoe polish filled with chrome has been stamped on the wall. As though prepping the marker, flooding the nozzle with paint before dropping a tag.
Cam and I were pleased with the result so much that I thought the moon could do with a few stars.
The star is another recurring motif in graffiti, often used to punctuate the stylised tag.
The moon was so bold and effective, that we decided one massive star done to the same proportions as the moon would be the best way to balance this. As though it was done with a few strokes from the same marker or fat cap. Almost as though the artist portrayed painted them on the wall.
Many other artists were involved in painting up various other walls; Mayo, Putos, Shame, Duke, Heesco, Mike 11 and more.
The collaboration between Cam and I was done completed over two days; May 16-17; 2016.
All images provided by p1xels.