Following on from the impressive mural by the Blameless Collective – Leith Late have almost delivered the latest of their own ‘Mural Project’ pieces in collaboration with Fife artist, Russell Dempster, portraying famous Scot Eduardo Paolozzi.
Russell’s piece represents the 3rd large scale street art mural organised by Leith Late and adds another level to Edinburgh’s modest scene (well, at least the organised scene), growing steadily in the last few years thanks to organiser Morvern Cunningham.
I cycled by the spot on Henderson St today to check it out in person and caught up with Russell as he put the finishing touches to his portrait of one time Leither, Eduardo Paolozzi. Asked to create a mural with a link to the area, Russell chose to paint Paolozzi, who many regard as the UK’s own father of pop art. He felt that although he was a notable Leither many in the area are unaware of him, his work or his connection to Leith.
Judging by the positive reaction (he was being congratulated by a number of locals as I took a few photos!) Paolozzi will most definitely have made his way into the collective Leith consciousness this week.
The piece is made of 5 posters, put in place with the help of locals from Sofi’s Bar next door, with the subtle colour added afterwards. The shop front that is now home to this artwork was at one time an ice cream shop – a nice link back to Paolozzi’s childhood in Leith where he lived above, and helped out in, the family ice cream business.
I was quite surprised to find out that this is the first outdoor piece of this scale that Russell has attempted as the almost finished product is outstanding. It seems like it’s been a learning experience though.
He explained that scaling up his work from a size that he’s more familiar was a test, adapting his work on the fly to suit the space when some initial plans just didn’t work as well as he felt they may have done.
But really, without him having told me this I’d have been completely oblivious. The outcome is epic! The shattered glass effect looks amazing, and is reminiscent of some of Paolozzi’s sculpture works, for example those at the top of Leith Walk with their disjointed overlapping appearance.
If you’re in the area, it’s well worth a detour to check out Russell’s mural. It really has lifted that part of the street, no longer does it look bare and derelict. It’s also great to hear that the locals are taking to the piece, and becoming quite protective of it already.
The official opening of the mural is tomorrow, with Sofi’s Bar being the place to be just next door. A job well done, and beers thoroughly deserved for all involved!