|Alice Francis at Torr Barn Auchencairn|
Huge murals have appeared on houses, barns and even a disused electricity sub-station across Dumfries and Galloway.
The works of art, up to 40 metres long, are part of the Spring Fling Rural Mural (SFRM) project being run by Spring Fling – producers of Scotland’s premier visual art and craft open studios event.
Rural Mural has seen leading street artists from the UK and Europe teamed up with artists from Dumfries and Galloway to create colourful paintings designed to intrigue and entertain.
|Recoat's Ali Wylie in D+G|
The project is being led by artists, Amy Whiten and Ali Wyllie, managers of Recoat, a Glasgow-based arts organisation which specialises in mural projects. Amy said: “The murals are big, colourful and fun – they really stand out in the landscape and we hope that people will enjoy seeing them.
“We’ve got an amazing combination of nationally and internationally-known street artists working with some incredibly talented people from the region to create the murals – and the results are fantastic.”
Spring Fling got responses from all across south west Scotland when it invited people to offer buildings – or other items – to be painted. Stage one of the project took place last week and saw the transformation of a pottery, a house, an old sub-station and three agricultural buildings.
Among them is a large corrugated iron hay shed at East Knockbrex Farm near Newton Stewart, which is familiar to drivers along the A75 and that is due to be pulled down in November.
Owner Iain Service said: “I have a real sentimental attachment to this barn, it’s been here all my life and I remember stacking the hay in there on hot summer days when I was a boy. But it had reached the end of its life and I was about to knock it down when I heard of Rural Mural.
“I thought this would be a great way to give it a big send off, a real final party. I’ve encouraged the artists to be as bold and bright as they want so the old hayshed can really say something – make a big statement – before it finally goes. It deserves a final fling! It’s also a bit of a local landmark, so I hope it will give drivers a bit of fun when they see it from the road.”
A team of artists, led by Will Barras from London and local artist Amy Winstanley, worked on the barn and painted it using everything from spray cans to household mops. The scenes they created include ones showing how farming has changed – one shows a horse and rider another is of a farmer.
The gable end of the Dalton Pottery Art Café, Meikle Dyke, Dalton now sports a huge painting of children at play in the countryside. It is the work of well-known street artist FiST and Katharine Wheeler from D&G.
Café owner Jenny Finch said: “I’m absolutely delighted with it. Over the years we have been turning our pottery into a visitor attraction and have all sorts of artistic creations in the gardens. This really adds something new and special for visitors – when they arrive they will really say ‘wow’.”
The former electricity sub-station on the sea front at Stranraer has been specially clad and painted with an abstract ocean scene by Amy, Ali and D&G artist Hope London. After the Spring Fling main weekend on 24-26 May the cladding will be removed and used to help brighten up an alleyway in the town.
|Denise Zygadlo and Fraser Gray|
The same team has also been as work on a barn in Carrutherstown, while Fraser Gray and Denise Zygadlo have painted the gable end of a cottage near Thornhill and German artist 1010 has collaborated with D&G’s Alice Francis at Torr Farm in Auchencairn.
Leah Black, Spring Fling Director, said: “Spring Fling is all about bringing art to the widest possible audience, and there couldn’t be a better way of doing it than Rural Mural. It’s colourful, fun and something that everyone can enjoy. We hope the murals will be a real attraction for visitors to the region, especially during the Spring Fling open studios weekend.
“We’ve been delighted with the enthusiasm that people have had for the project, and it’s been brilliant to have such highly respected street artists working in the area and teaming up with artists from Dumfries and Galloway to swap skills and ideas.”
And there is more to come as Rural Mural continues. Next will be a grain silo, a set of aircraft fuel tanks and a horse blanket. There will also be a few other surprises appearing round the region in the weeks ahead.
The theme of the murals is “home”, as part of the 2014 Year of Homecoming, and community workshops were run to get ideas from local people about what this meant to them.
|Pink Footed Goose at Auchencairn|
Check out the Rural Mural project on ITV Border news - here