Updated: Aug 24, 2021
I was commissioned by HOMEMcr to create an installation mural for PUSH Festival, HOME’s annual celebration of the North West’s creative talents. The piece is installed on Whitworth Street West – try saying that three times fast! This is the first mural in my new series and I love it! It’s a super bright installation mural and was soooo fun to paint! It is huge pop of colour underneath the railway arches and features lots of abstract colourful characters on a black background. This is one of the firsts murals I have done in this style, having started it in print making and sculpture, and I love seeing the evolution of my practice across artforms.
I had the best time creating this and was able to evolve my passion for colour through the scientific considerations of chroma frequency, exploring how I could exploit these frequencies to make my mural an immersive experience when viewed through Chroma Depth 3D glasses. In 3D the characters and colours come to life and explode off the wall – you can even take some home with you if you if you pop into HOME’s gift shop!
I wanted this piece to be a portrait of the energy of a city that is widely identifiable by the characteristics of its people and for the mural to serve as an encouragement - no matter how dark things can become, the unity of Manchester’s people is its strength. As a city we have faced so much over the past 18 months but have stayed strong, vibrant and resilient throughout. It was also special for me as when I first moved to Manchester, many years ago, I always wanted to explore under the arches and now here I was painting as the trams rumbled overhead.
The first day involved sketching out the design and mixing the paint, which of course featured lots of yellow, and I was really grateful to be treated to some delicious (and rare!) Manchester sunshine. As well as a new design I was using a new brand of paint which added to the excitement. As I got into the painting I realised that, as much as I love it, I find I am leaning more towards spray paint in my practice – something I never thought I’d say! I spent the third day cutting in the lines with black, a process of refining the outline of each shape to ensure that everything looks sharp and clean. By the final day I was so excited and pleased as my vision was really coming to life. All that was left was to go round the mural getting rid of blemishes and lines - not that there were many of course!
It was wonderful to be surrounded by local people and culture as I painted. I could see loads of flowers being put up for a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream that was due to take place and I made a beeline there to soak up the gorgeous atmosphere when I took breaks. I was supported by my filmmaker sister Vanice, who captured it all. I even braved an Instagram Live and showed off the real skills of a mural artist: holding my paint, my paintbrush and my phone all at the same time!
Installation day seemed to bring out the colour in everyone and people’s reactions were fantastic! As we had more and more visitors the world seemed to get brighter and brighter, including people’s outfits. I arrived dressed in yellow, matching my mural, as well as wearing a blue character pin plus my stripy blue and white custom earrings from Audrey Plus George. I thought I was looking sharp but there was some stiff competition from the lady on the yellow bike in the orange jumpsuit who stopped to admire the mural – my new fashion friend!
Thanks again to everyone at HOMEMcr - it’s great to be able to spread some colour and joy! Check out the festival and remember to tag me, HOMEMcr in any pics as we would love to see your reactions. Love, Vee xx