Monday, February 18, 2013

Hillingdon council's mini-mural BT box street art project


40 artists and creative people submitted designs to Hillingdon council's street art project and we had to choose the 3 most interesting to have painted on BT box street furniture in the Uxbridge high street.  

We met at the council offices and had a friendly debate about which designs were the most interesting/dynamic/suitable for the selectid BT boxes. (Mr.Mayor included who proudly showed us his solid silver Mace stick)

The final designs chosen are (and in no particular order...) 

Christine Turnbull's 'Hillingdon Rose' 

Alan Ford's 'Relationship with Water'

and Felicity Harrison's 'Lambert pattern' design

Mini-mural project Day 1

Christine Turnbull made a lovely design of a close up of a handpainted Hillingdon rose that waz first cultivated in the area and named after Lady Hillingdon. Her BT box location is appropriately right next to the flower stall directly outside the Uxbridge tube station. 

Lots of the local passers by said how excited there were to see somethingk interesting happening with public art in their area.

This is the artist's website:

She even very cleverly made a paper model of the BT box with the rose design mapped out on it.. How professional! 

Spraypainting with Belmonts and Montana
Tripping advice from the council

even the 'shopping inspectors' turned up to make sure we were painting properly with our mural mojo all in order... 
Early stages/ werk in progress... end of Day 1

Time for bed

while visiting the next box to paint we are blessed by the auspicious sign of a double rainbow above the mini-mural location. its always good to receive a sign from above to grace our artistic endeavours with good luk.. 

A unique design of BT box ive never seen before that  will bee graced by Felicities design starting on Day 3

Mini-mural project Day 2 

90% of the public love the street art project
 (the rest are missing out on the joy of art and freedom of self expression!)

The design is coming along nicely 
Second side at end of Day 2
Local man happy to see more colour in the area
2nd box to paint
With this design by Alan Ford ("Relationship with Water") its pretty linear and mathematical so i figured it would be good to get the dimensions correct and exact by creating a stencil for it.

 stencilling Alan's design on 
i waz asked to paint the design on az Alan the designer for this box is more a photographer than painter

another pleased member of the public glad to see some interesting street art appear in the local area 

werk-in-progress Day 2

Again we see the amazing power of art to bring smiles to peoples faces! it often gets people talking and its amazing how many relationships and magical moments are created through bringing art to the people. 

Day 3 & 4: Meeting the Fliss the Mistress of Dots...

Meeting the Mistress of Dots waz a pleasure- Fliss brought 3 generations of her family to paint her multicoloured festival of circles onto the suitably unique rounded edge box (havent seen one with such curved edges before even tho i paintid a fair few of these boxes now). After couple of run ins with the bank manageress complaining of an asthmatic colleage in danger of her life due to paint fumes wafting into the branch we managed to get most of her design paintid in a day. 

The public response from passersby has been overwhelmingly positive. Toddlers, grannies and middle yeared folk all saying how much they like it, and whats not to like a bunch of multicolured circles of alternating sizes?! They are so symbolic of a multitude of different thingks. Planets, atoms, chewy sweets, communities, groups of people, sports balls etc take yer pick!... 

On Fliss's second day of paint spotting we got snowed on a bit and the level of happy comments and praise increased exponentially with the dot population...

A little waft of anthropamorphic project spontaeniously appeared several times when putting 2 circles into one other (a.p is the phenomenom of humans seeing recognisable faces in seemingly random patterns in nature, arranges of buildings, burnt cars in shopping centre car parks etc- its very common i hear)

After painting Alan's design well into the night my thumbs went weird after being frozen by the bitter winter chill but cheery comments from the random public pedestrians warmed my soul and helped to distract from the cold and add some brighter colours to the squiggle people..

Its so pleasing when people stop in the street to tell you how much they love the project youre werkin on. Hooray for postive random interactions!

Several graffiti guys told me how theyve been in trouble with the law from doing random uncommissioned paint jobs on tube trains, not sure why London Underground wouldnt appreciate their decorational efforts, but apparently its a criminal offence. i&i suggestid to them that they might bee better off sharing their skills and passions leading a graffiti/mural painting werkshop in a youth club where they'd bee paid to do it and wouldnt attract the attention of the 'boys in blue'. They seemed to agree and also see the sense in this suggestion. Apparently prison isnt very nice... (tho on the plus side the meals are regular)


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Restoring the firestormed Hokusai wave mural

i find it an eerie synchronicity that pretty much exactly one year after the tragic tsunami events of 3.11 in japan happened that a mural depicting a large harbour wave print by the celebrated japanese artist Hokusai gets damaged in a strange illegal meth lab explosion (with disastrous results too for the tragic amateur scientist that waz apparently hoping to make some quick cash from his homemade street drugs experiment,=life threatening 3rd degree burns and then prison, ouch!)
the mural before the blast
 and after... 

luckily the London Mural Preservation Society (run by Ruth Miller) , New Leaf (Vinnie Oconnell) and Dominic Swords (original resident painter of the mural) were able to step in and with the help of other local artists and enthusiastic volunteers get to werk restoring the celebrated piece of local culture to its former glory. free paint waz cleverly sourced from Dulux's "Lets Colour" scheme ( that aims to make the werld a more joyous place by providing paint to people free of charge so they can beautify their local buildings with nice bright colours. 
 the original print by Hokusai
all systems are GO! restoooorre!!!
the 1st day of painting went well, endless cups of tea kept us bizzi with putting on a fresh basecoat of white 'Weathershield' masonry paint (no trouser lifting or 3rd nipple showing involved); altho some parts of the slightly crumbly wall still require repointing at this stage  (that means filling in the little gaps between the bricks with cement for the non-DIY lingo speakers). mid way thru a lovely reporter lady from the South London press turned up to take some werk in progess photos of the brave volunteers and artists shivering in the bitter winds (the shivering movements actually help us paint faster with increased brush rotation speed)
we saw a beautiful bright red, yellow, orange and purple shining view of a multicoloured sunset from the top of the scaffold by the time evening came around which felt like our Good Karma treat for volunteering on this project.

at this point we had to bee dragged off of our painting tower since after we had finally startid slopping the paint on it felt hard to stop (even tho health and safety apparently forbids painting in the dark for some reason; ...they never taught us that at graffiti school! lol) 
a random half japanese/half samoan photography student turned up saying she waz almost crying due to ireland losing to wales at the rubgy match and seeing this mural getting lovingly restored totally made her day and changed her mood from sad to happy, we invited her up and she also joined in with the painting telling us how she had seen this project documentid on Youtube while she waz in Japan but never knew where it waz- and then somehow magically found it, and then us painting it.. serendipity strikes again!

the rest of the painting will bee completed in the next 2-3 weeks; artic gales/snowmageddon storms permitting ...

(people/groups involved in the project)
The finished mural restoration 

the recent real tsunami in japan triggered a series of nuclear disasters at Fukushima that are in a continuous state of danger. there is widespread anger there and here at the nuclear industry for building 53 nuclear power plants in a notoriously earthquake prone region... on the 9th of March there is a march of solidarity/remembrance of regarding the current nuclear contamination situation.

  • (Japanese description below/日本語呼びかけは英語の下にあります)

    Two years will pass since THE DAY.

    We would like to ask you to join us to march in London, to mark the 2nd anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima disaster, in international solidarity with people in Japan and for a nuclear-free world as Japanese expatriates and as UK/world citizens.

    We would like the all the governments to abolish nuclear power generation, to prevent the further release and spread of radioactive materials, to implement policies to protect people's health and lives and to uphold citizens' rights to engage in social activities and free speech.

    We are deeply concerned that radioactive contamination from the nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant that started on March 11 2011, has been spreading across Japan.

    The nuclear tragedies in Chernobyl and Fukushima have taught us that despite the guise of 'peaceful use', the destruction caused by a nuclear power disaster would be similar to nuclear war. Japan is the most earthquake prone country in the world and, currently, is in a very active seismic phase.

    Nuclear catastrophe in Japan would lead to long-term worldwide radioactive contamination. There is no safe method to dispose of nuclear waste. Using nuclear power means passing a burden to our children and their descendents. In addition, throughout the nuclear fuel cycle from uranium mining to decommission and waste storage, nuclear energy relies heavily on the sacrifice of workers who are exposed to radiation as they carry out these tasks. Given the deadly long-term toxicity of radiation released to the environment through use of nuclear energy, it must be said that nuclear power is both extremely dangerous and irresponsible. Nuclear power is not welcome in Japna, in the UK, and anywhere in the world.

    Japanese Against Nuclear, Kick nuclear and CND are calling all the people in the UK to join the march, vigil, and the public meeting explained below:

    ** Saturday 9 March: SOLIDARITY MARCH
    Assemble 12 noon at Hyde Park Corner for solidarity March to Parliament
    with rally there, in Palace Yard, at 2.30pm

    ** Monday 11 March: Candle-lit Vigil
    5.30 - 6.30PM, outside Japanese Embassy
    (101 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7JT)
    (nearest tube: Green Park)

    ** Monday 11 March: Public Meeting
    7.30 - 9.30PM, in the House of Commons

    Organized by:Japanese Against Nuclear UK (JAN UK), Kick Nuclear, and CND

    Fukushima2013 draft resources as of now
    * Web draft:
    * Facebook draft:
    * Poster draft:
    * Leaflet draft:

and a random photoshop pixel painting to round the evening off back at home....