Later this week, a new Lottery Funded mural will be opened in Walthamstow.
I t’s a wonderful community arts collaboration between The Creative Arts Company & Stoneydown Park Primary School in Walthamstow, London. I became involved in the project at the beginning of 2016, when Amanda Parker from The Creative Arts Company needed a graphic illustrator to turn over 200 individual pupils’ drawings into a huge mural to link the school’s two sites – over 40 metres long.
Through a series of specialist assembly presentations by various local groups the pupils explored four key project themes – transport, politics, entertainment and the environment. They enjoyed hearing from, amongst others, Thames 21 about the River Lea; a local historian who looked back at the area’s rich entertainment heritage; the Walthamstow Wetlands project about the flora and fauna around the marshes; their councillor Clare Coghill, who spoke about local and national politics; and an over 60s group called the Recycled Teens!
In response to these subjects, the pupils, who range in age from 3-11, presented their own creative ideas at a special assembly and their wonderful and varied drawings now form the core of this colourful art trail.
My role was to provide creative input, technical advice and practical skills on how the piece would work digitally. The project lead, Amanda Parker, is an artist who makes beautiful mosaic pieces, generally to a much smaller scale than was required for this project. So the largest part of my role was to turn the children’s individual artworks into a huge digital composition, ready to send to print. I spent weeks, cutting out all images in Photoshop, working things up in Illustrator, drawing scenery for them to fit into, and adding text and quotes to tell the story of Walthamstow’s rich heritage and future.
It has been an incredible experience working on a such a large scale – certainly the biggest piece of art I’ve ever completed. And it was terrific to see so many different styles and techniques in the children’s artwork, from painting, drawing with pencil and crayon, to sculpture, collage and mono prints. I find kids tend to have a real confidence in their line, which I fear we lose as we get older.
Here’s a few sneak peeks at the artwork, which will be officially opened this Friday 8th July, at the Summer Fete at Stoneydown Park Primary School, E17.