Updated: May 20, 2019
I also got to spend a bit of time on the ground as we waited for a delivery of paint. During this time I got to catch up with a few people who have been watching the painting progress...
Today was the fourth day of painting the Trafford House mega mural, as I like to call it, and we made excellent progress. I also got to spend a bit of time on the ground as we waited for a delivery of paint. During this time I got to catch up with a few people who have been watching the painting progress. It was great.
The biggest question I got asked at the beginning of the week, was “what are you going to paint?” One gentleman even mischievously suggested that it be a giant tribute to Manchester City Football club. Just in case you don't know; Trafford House is almost immediately next door to Old Trafford Football Stadium which is the home of Manchester United Football Club who are the bitter rivals of Manchester City Football Club. Can you imagine how an artwork like that would been received. Anyway; the other most frequent question I have been asked, was “How?”. How do I take a regular sized drawing and make it as large as a building. Oh and also, another common question I get asked is “aren't you afraid of heights?”. Thankfully, the answer to the last question is no, and to the previous questions, the answer is this; Maths.
I have always loved working at a large scale and in many cases I have created murals ‘freehand’. Freehand meaning that I would stand before my giant canvas with my sketch in one hand and my outlining chalk in the other; Plot out the artwork application in my head and then just begin to draw; responding to the surface and space instinctively.
The other way of creating work at scale is to use a grid. The grid method is an age old art practice used to scale drawings up or down. It requires patience, maths and detachment; Patience because usually, when you stand before your canvas you just want to start creating, however, with this method the first thing you have to do is mark out your grid and that is also where your math skills come into play. Finally, you need to be detached from your work. In order to get the best results from the grid method you must aim to stop seeing your artwork as art and instead see it as a series of specifically placed marks within a grid. This detachment also means that anyone who can follow this grid approach to drawing can also recreate and scale your design accurately.
If you get the chance to see me installing this mural you will notice that there are moments when two of us are creating the chalk outlines simultaneously or even just Pete or Kamil can be marking out a section independently of me, and all that is possible because we are working from a grid version of my design. Its great and can really speed up the installation process.
Although I love the freedom and expression of creating an artwork freehand. I always feel a great sense of achievement and satisfaction when I follow a grid and see that I have been able to create a supersize version of a smaller sized artwork. Try it for yourself and see if you can scale up a drawing or a simpe logo and let me know how it turned out.
Today we started with the ‘Power Flower’ section of the mural and then made our way down the wall to begin sketching out the swirling lines of the ‘Wires and Waterways’ section, I will tell you more about that one as it emerges on the wall, but in the mean time, did you figure out what the Power Flower represents? If not here goes…
For this section of the artwork I wanted to create a symbol that showed the power and strength of a community, and in this instance, a community of women. I wanted to show their unity and defiance against a system that was trying to subdue them and I also wanted to visually link these sentiments to Sylva Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement as well as women today, and so the Power Flower section was born.
This weekend looks set to be gloomy with rain but hopefully next week we will have another glorious stretch of sunny weather and work on the mural can begin all over again.
See you soon