Saturday, 3 October 2009

Bad weather for paint

Well, looks like it's not going to be a good weekend for painting. Wind and rain don't make for good condintions when you're using aerosol paints on an external wall.

Hopefully things'll be sunny during the week and next weekend, so more characters can get added into the wall.

If you haven't seen it, check out the coverage of the wall in this week's Weston & Somerset Mercury, page 3.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

More painting this weekend!

So then... who's coming down to join John Cleese, the BFG, Brunel, and a sinking Subaru?

Looking like it'll be a bit chilly, but hopefully dry. Who knows... might be one of the season's last days of outdoor painting. Wouldn't want to miss that, would you?

To keep you warm, though, there's still some free paint to use for your characters, and even some really cool characters to pop on there. Beatles, anyone? Do you like Ike (that's Eisenhower, for those of you who aren't up on your American presidential history)? Mad about Marconi?

There are still some other characters available, so give me a shout if you want to get on the wall with somebody. If you just want a random person on the beach, let me know. I can also help with sourcing old images of some of the 'famous' folks of Weston's past.

To keep you even warmer than the paint, there's also a great coffee place opposite the wall, and a great bar a few doors down from the coffee place. (Maybe you just want to sit in one of those places and watch the artists get high on paint fumes while passers by ask which one is Banksy... that's cool, too.)

If you are coming down and want a place to crash, get in touch with me ASAP. Might have some floor/sofa space on the go if you get in quick.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

More painting today!

More work being done on the hotel today. If you have a character ready to go in, let us know.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Royal Hotel: More information

A quick update this time... Just got this very helpful document from the North Somerset Museum. Gives some great info about people who were associated with the area over the years.

North Somerset Museum Information Sheet 12: Some Famous People and their local connections

If you haven't chosen a character, please email. Also, need to know who all's going to be around this weekend. Looks like it'll be another nice sunny day for painting... Paint's provided. You know you wanna....

Monday, 21 September 2009

Bit more work from Sunday

Stopped by the hotel at the end of the day today to get a few shots of how things are looking after the first two days of work. The background is all coming in nicely, and the two character pieces are already stirring lots of conversation.

Had a bit of a post-photo brainstorming session, too. More about that later, though.

In the meantime, we're still looking for artists and general input. Have a look at the character lists below and give a shout about who you want to add to the wall, or who we've left off the list.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Royal Hotel: New updated artist assignment list

After the first day of work on the Royal Hotel, here's where things stand in terms of artist assignments. If you're interested in grabbing a character, please send me a message/comment/FB message/Tweet with your top three preferences, the size you'd need to work at, and when you'll be able to get to Weston.

Because I'm getting lists in regularly, please don't spend much time doing sketches until I get back to you with a confirmation. There's a chance that two of your top three will already be taken... You know how it goes.

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel -- Khoi
  • RNLI boat -- Ded Posh

  • John Cleese -- Frisky
  • Roald Dahl -- MonkyArtyPrints
  • BFG -- MCL
  • Eva Watts -- Mclevey
  • Signs -- Pahnl
  • Hans Price -- NathanaelDraws
  • Donkeys -- Kone
  • Keith Floyd -- JK47
  • Jill Dando
  • Jeffrey Archer

Still available:

(Yeah, some most of the people on this list are obscure... that's what Google and Wikipedia are for. Think of this as an opportunity, though. Chances are nobody else will know what they look like, either.)
  • A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough
  • Ritchie Blackmore
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Arthur Stanley Eddington
  • Rupert Graves
  • Bob Hope
  • Sean Martin
  • Mandy Miller
  • Con O'Neill
  • John Oldmixon
  • Dr Sir John Polkinghorne
  • Paulo Radmilovic
  • H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I
  • Gareth Taylor
  • Peter Trego
  • Sir Joseph Bazelgette
  • Eugenius Birch
  • George Bodley
  • George Cumberland
  • James Dredge
  • Dr Edward Long Fox
  • Francis Fox
  • Cecil Howitt
  • Deborah Kerr
  • Henry Butt
  • Darren Plumley
  • Red Arrows
  • Helicopter
  • Seaside amusement stuff
  • Bristol Queen or other boats
There's also opportunities to put in other characters. This list isn't exhasutive, and we're asking the public to give suggestions for others show should be immortalised in spray paint.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Royal Hotel - Day 1

Royal Hotel - Day 1, originally uploaded by jmb252.

Day One of the hotel job went well, with MCL, Khoi, NathanaelDraws, and DedPosh making their mark on the wall.

The list of who's doing what will be updated tomorrow. In the meantime, artist folks, send me messages/comments/emails/whatevers with your top three and size preferences.

For non-artist folks, please have a look at the info below about the job and make suggestions for other Weston notables. I'm sure we've left some important people out (or Wikipedia has, at least), so the best way to get everyone included is for Weston residents to have some input. Leave a comment on here, or send an email.

Keep checking in for more progress shots, and thanks again to today's artists!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Vermin/L2/Dead Posh

Vermin/L2/Dead Posh, originally uploaded by jmb252.

A shot of the side wall, completed as the sun set.


Tropicana, originally uploaded by jmb252.

Went down today to get some shots of the final pieces.

Update on Hotel Assignments

If you're interested in taking part, please send an email/FB message/comment on here. Please remember to give me your top three and preferred size. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THIS WHOLE THING COMES TOGETHER AS PLANNED!!!

The painting will begin this Saturday, with the background going in and (hopefully) a few figures.

John Cleese -- Frisky
Roald Dahl -- MonkyArtyPrints
Eva Watts -- Mclevey
Donkeys -- Kone
Gull -- Khoi
Sinking mud signs -- Pahnl
Hans Price -- NathanaelDraws
Jeffrey Archer -- tba
Isambard Kingdom Brunel -- tba

Still available:
  • A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough
  • Ritchie Blackmore
  • Jill Dando
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Arthur Stanley Eddington
  • Rupert Graves
  • Bob Hope
  • Sean Martin
  • Mandy Miller
  • Con O'Neill
  • John Oldmixon
  • Dr Sir John Polkinghorne
  • Paulo Radmilovic
  • Gareth Taylor
  • Peter Trego
  • Sir Joseph Bazelgette
  • Eugenius Birch
  • George Bodley
  • George Cumberland
  • James Dredge
  • Dr Edward Long Fox
  • Francis Fox
  • Cecil Howitt
  • Deborah Kerr
  • Keith Floyd
  • Henry Butt
  • Red Arrows
  • Helicopter
  • RNLI boat
  • Seaside amusement stuff
  • Bristol Queen or other boats

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Royal Hotel Wall #1: Call for Artists

This is the initial sketch for the hotel piece, which is a beach scene featuring Weston locals, notables, and landmarks. The piece would be done with perspective, so that the front characters would be life size, creating a mural that almost interacts with people passing by on the small pavement.

The project would be headed up by local artist Adam Mclevey. We are opening up the project to a much larger number of artists. Each artist is asked to contribute to the piece, choosing from a list of people or items that should go in the mural. Everyone should add these in their own style, so the overall piece will be diverse, colourful, and interesting. Some of the artists aim for photo-realism, while others work in a more 'cartoon' style. By having artists work to their own style, we will avoid the downfall of many murals in which artists are expected to work to a group style that doesn't suit their own talents.

Longer term, we think that this type of piece can be a great attraction -- it'll have a Sgt. Pepper's effect, in which people will have a guessing game about who everyone is; people can use it as a photo opportunity; people who have been included in the mural can be invited to some sort of event when the painting is completed.

Below is a preliminary list of notables, mostly pulled from Wiki entries. Each artist should send an email to Jen (jenbarnett252[at] with their top three preferences, and the size they want to work at. (The range will be from life size to A5, with some ‘filler’ characters possible at smaller sizes.)

If you have a suggestion for other inclusions, please feel free to include these in your preference lists. The list below is by no means exhaustive, and there will be plenty of room for more characters.

  • A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough
  • Jeffrey Archer
  • Ritchie Blackmore
  • John Cleese
  • Roald Dahl
  • Jill Dando
  • Arthur Stanley Eddington
  • Rupert Graves
  • Bob Hope
  • Sean Martin
  • Mandy Miller
  • Con O'Neill
  • John Oldmixon
  • Dr Sir John Polkinghorne
  • Hans Price
  • Paulo Radmilovic
  • Gareth Taylor
  • Peter Trego
  • Sir Joseph Bazelgette
  • Eugenius Birch
  • George Bodley
  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel
  • George Cumberland
  • James Dredge
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Dr Edward Long Fox
  • Francis Fox
  • Cecil Howitt
  • Deborah Kerr
  • Keith Floyd
  • Henry Butt
  • Sinking mud signs
  • Donkeys
  • Gull
  • Red Arrows
  • Helicopter
  • RNLI boat
  • Seaside amusement stuff
  • Bristol Queen or other boats

More information about Weston, the area, and people can be found on Wikipedia and at these sites:

North Somerset Museum

Weston History

Weston Family History Society

The Royal Hotel

The work on this will begin in the next few weeks, and we'll need a few artists to help putting in the background image (the wall itself is 65 feet long by 9 ft high), which will have to go in before some of the figures get added.

When you email with your preferences, please let me know what dates/days of the week you're available to paint.

Reply to criticism

Below is my emailed reply to the criticism that has been raised against Saturday's paint jam. I'd like to thank, once again, everyone who took part and everyone who has sent messages of support to North Somerset Council.


I'm quite disappointed that you feel this way. As in any situation,
those who don't like something are going to be the first and most
vocal commmenters. During the painting, we had almost unanimous praise
for the project, for the art, and for the Council's amazing foresight
in finally allowing the Trop to be painted.

There will always be detractors from any artistic project. We've
already seen this in the mere discussion of the Sea Change project.
(I'm sure as a fellow member of the steering committee, you've gotten
as many or more enquiries than I have!)

From the start, I had indicated that I would be getting sketches and
would ensure that the pieces followed your guidelines for appropriate
seafront content. As per our phone conversation, this was defined as
no nudity or vulgarity. I had described several of the pieces and you
had no problems with them, and said you didn't need to see the
preliminary sketches. I also assured you that if there were any
problems, we would address them ASAP. Should there have been any
complaints on the day, I could have quickly worked with the artists to
engage the concerns and rectify the situation.

It seems, however, that the criticism being levied against the pieces
isn't about the content but rather the mode of painting, which is a
shame. If there are problems with the specific content, that is
something the artists and I are happy to address. When it becomes an
attack on aerosol art, regardless of content, it is a debate that
will, inevitably, go nowhere.

As to the reference to the 'Banksy fiasco' in Bristol, I think it
should be noted that the Banksy vs Bristol Museum exhibit
significantly boosted the Museum's revenue and profile, and added to a
measurable increase in Bristol's tourism economy. While there will
always be those who are opposed to art and increased tourism in the
area in which they live, isn't it the responsiblity of the Council to
look after the greater good? As North Somerset and Weston, in
particular, are looking for new ways to boost the local economy and
tourism of the area, isn't it in the best interest to support a
project that brings in a demographic that would otherwise stay far
clear of the area?

As organiser of the event, I spent the day chatting to people who had
come down to watch the painting. Many had fond memories from years
past of time at the Tropicana and not-so-fond recent memories of the
Trop. I heard, over and over again, that they would never have come
down to Weston, let alone the Trop, if this painting hadn't been going
on. The artists all brought families -- ranging from one artist's
81-year-old grandmother (who, as a resident of Worle since WW2, was
thrilled to see art on the Tropicana) to another artist's 3-year-old
son (who helped his father apply emulsion to weather-beaten boards
that had been covered in tagging over the years). It was a family
event, and the crowds that were gathered through the day saw it as
such. They also saw it as a vibrant change to a building they
considered an eyesore.

Every artist involved -- and several dozen others -- began contacting
me Saturday night saying that, if we ever do this again, they want to
be a part of it. They want to be involved not just in having an
amazing place to paint, but in bringing art to Weston's seafront. They
used their own paint -- which is no small investment for artists who
were as young as 15 -- and are willing to do it again just for the
hope that they can be a part of Weston's artistic regeneration.

Saturday night I also began getting messages from some people who had
come down for the day. They repeatedly said that they would never have
come down to Weston otherwise, and having come down, they really
enjoyed it. The art gave parents something to watch, and they were
able to give their children the seaside experience of donkey rides and
sandcastles. Every such message said that I should let them know when
it was happening again; they would definitely come back for it, and
possibly make a weekend break of it.

I do hope that you don't allow a few people who are so quick to
criticise any artistic endeavour in Weston to overshadow an event that
can, will, and has brought so much positive attention to Weston's



Monday, 14 September 2009

A thanks and update

Thank you to all the artists and the huge crowds who came down to support the project. It was a great day for us all.

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished and there are already a few folks in town who aren't happy with the art. (Actually, it seems they don't consider graffiti/aerosol pieces 'art' and have a more fundamental problem with what was done.)

There are a few people who are rallying behind the art and artists, though. If you liked what you saw, and especially if you want to see more live painting in Weston, please email North Somerset Council.

Photos will be coming soon, but if you do a Flickr search, you can get a great selection from others who were around and snapping!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A door closed, a big ass window opened

See that? That's the Tropicana. Used to be an open air pool, now it's a big eye sore.

But guess what... on Saturday, it's ours.

This thing is the crown jewel of Weston graff sites, and it's ours. Each of those panels is roughly 9 ft high and 20 ft long.

The only guidelines is that we need to keep it tasteful and mindful of the regular all-ages foot traffic in the area. (The Council is giving us the spot, so we do have to play by their rules.)

Hoping to hear back on another site this afternoon, but getting the Trop is the biggest, most unexpected victory.

That said, a bit about the closed door. For those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you'll know that I've been having some trouble lately. The short version is that the Arts Festival that this was originally being organised with has had some problems with the budget and logistics for the temporary boards on the High Street. The result is that those sites won't be in play on Saturday.

But, as I said... we've now got one big ass window.

So... as of this morning, the list of sites are as follows:

1. The Royal Hotel
2. The Tropicana
3. Hobbits Nightclub

And I'm still working on a few others... Stay tuned and get that paint ready!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Keeping the faith

As with anything in this place, there are some last-minute troubles. A bit of hand-wringing and naysaying has set in. Now that it's becoming real in people's minds that there will be a whole bunch of graffers descending on the town in the next week, we're starting to get the road blocks thrown up.

But, not to worry. I'm moving forward with things, and closing the artist list (as planned) tomorrow at noon. From there, I'll send out an email with the details of where you'll need to be and when.

Be aware that some of the sites that I've been prepping everything for might not actually be in play due to a sudden lack of funding. That said, I'm working this week to get enough wall space -- one way or another! -- for everyone to do their planned pieces.

Of course, I do need to start putting out the disclaimers. Weston is a sleepy little town that isn't used to graffiti. This event aims to show people that it can be a beautiful thing done by talented artists, and not just the work of vandals who got hold of a rusty can of CarPlan scribbling their names on other people's walls. So it's crucial that you don't come down here and do illegals.

Also, I have to ask that you keep things inoffensive. Challenging images are fine. That's art. Being offensive for the sake of it isn't going to go over well, especially if you end up painting on the side of a business.

Now that I've got all that responsible shit out of the way, if you have a sketch of what you're planning that you can email me, please do. It'll help in my quest for walls and assignment plans.

Oh, and according to the forecasts, it should be sunny and mild on Saturday. Fuck yeah.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Site #4: Big Lamp Corner

Big Lamp Corner is the end of the High Street opposite the Italian Garden site. It is also home to the Silica, Weston's primary public art intervention. See that thing that looks like a carrot/turnip/turd? That's it.

The carousel in the top photo isn't there anymore, but it did demonstrate just how much the pedestrian traffic can be impeded before people go mental. We won't make that much of a fuss down there.

We'll construct a few temporary boards for this site, and a few artists will have some fun here. (The biggest negative of this site is the potential for wind whipping through the town.)

Site #3: The Old Town Quarry

The Old Town Quarry will host a few artists and a whole lot more. The site will also be home to the 'Festival in the Quarry' on the 12th, during which there will be demonstrations and workshops by artists and dancers, a live jazz band, a hog roast, cider, and local business stalls. There's also going to be an ice cream truck.

This site is up in the hills, but still in Weston's town centre. It will offer the artists a much different experience from that of the High Street. Artists working here will also be asked to have a bit of interaction with the public, even helping people have a go at using spray paint (on a board for just that purpose).

For those working here, it will be a fairly unique experience. You'll be spray painting in a nature reserve. It'll be 'urban' art in a fairly non-urban setting.

Because this is a 10 minute or so walk away from the High Street, I'm opening it up to volunteers. If you want to paint at this site, please let me know.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Site #2: Italian Gardens

I've been told that these are basically glamour shots of the site, and I have to agree. This end of Weston's High Street is generally populated by small groups of emos and junkies, and sometimes little fetes.

On this site, we'll be constructing some temporary board structures for painting purposes. As there are two big lawns that are each about 65 feet long, this will be the perfect place for crew spots and quite a few individual spots.

The artists will be out of the main pedestrian traffic, but in clear view of the High Street punters. Situated between Argos and the Sovereign Shopping Centre, and next to the intersection of High Street and Waterloo Street, the Italian Gardens will be a great place to paint. It'll be high visibility, but slightly protected (if that makes sense).

All in all, should be a fun time there on 12 September!

Site #1: The Royal Hotel

See those little red arrows? They roughly indicate the four walls we'll have for painting purposes.

There's a really big wall along the side of the road (opposite Weston College) that will be painted. Then there are two walls behind a gate that made up the old carriage entrance. And the fourth wall is in the interior courtyard.

It's a very exciting project and will tie in to the hotel's 200th anniversary next year. The pieces will all be related to the history/location/etc. and will be, I'm quite sure, incredibly awesome.

12 September Paint Jam Open Call

Hey folks...

I'm bringing spray paint down to the twin set and pearls crowds (and
everyone else in this old resort town). I've got sites at both ends of
the High Street, up in a nature reserve, on the side of a hotel, in a
pub's courtyard, and in the middle of a shopping centre. Now I need a
few more artists. (Photos of some of the sites are up on the Facebook
event page:

Right now, I can't guarantee anything in terms of free paint, etc. I'm
working on it, but right now I've got no budget to speak of. I have
made some deals locally and can supply some cheap (£20) seafront hotel
rooms, and might even have a few floors/couches available for less.

The main painting day will be 12 September. (If you want to paint and
absolutely can't get down here that day, still get in touch. I might
have some locations available on other dates between 5 September and
11 October.) I'll need artists in Weston town centre between 10 and 11
am, so we can have as much of the day as possible for painting.

This is an unprecedented thing for Weston, so I'll need to get a final
list of artists together NO LATER THAN 7 SEPTEMBER at noon. If you
want in on it, please get back to me with the following info:

1. Name (what you paint as, especially)

2. email and mobile

3. When you'd come down/leave and whether you'll need housing.

4. What size do you want? (Generally planning things on 8 ft x 8 ft,
but if you need smaller I can arrange it, and if you want to paint as
a crew, I can get a bigger space.)

5. Anything else I need to know about you or your art.

Let me know if you're interested.