So yeah, after going on last month about never having to draw straight lines, I found myself doing a job that consisted of quite a healthy dose of the aforementioned! I stand corrected. Luckily, nobody listens to me anyway so I presume I’ve gotten away with it.
The task in hand was pin-striping and lettering a vintage lorry that had been lovingly restored to it’s former glory. Sean and Martin, the two men who have brought it back to life have pulled all the stops out. Nothing has been missed in the restoration. Every little part and decal is as it was when the lorry left the factory sometime between 1974 and ’76. All I had to do was swan in and put the finishing touches to it and not, under any circumstances, undo all their hard work! If I said I didn’t feel a tiny amount of pressure I’d be lying through my teeth and I wouldn’t lie to you. Not to you. Thankfully the results are good and I came out with all my teeth, in which to lie through if I see fit but not to you.
Next up, I had to paint the windows of ‘Geraldine’s Home Bakery’. The smell in that place would make you weak at the knees. As I was painting cakes and buns on the glass, I was slightly hovering on the aromas of caramel slices, cream puffs and scones. Geraldine’s fatal mistake was allowing me anything I wanted at tea time. “Help yourself,” she said…I did. Ah, I’m sure she built her supply back up over the next few days.
At the moment I’m sketching out some ideas for my next big project. These past two years I’ve been sporadically out and about, combing the countryside for dirty walls. Not just any walls, they have to be unpainted but plastered and with a good layer of ground in dirt, the blacker the better. Once I find a suitable one, I take a power-hose to it and, rather than clean them up which I’m sure anyone would thank me for, I create a mural. I cut away at the dirt and use the dark and light areas to form an image. A really dirty wall will even allow me to shade the picture to varying degrees. I love getting stuck into one of those.
In the past I’ve left scenes of twisted fairy-tales dotted round the country and lots of crows. What can I say, I love crows, one of the most intelligent of birds and perfect for the medium of ‘reverse graffiti’. I’d probably paint nothing but crows if I could get away with it but that’d be just weird. Wouldn’t it? Last year I wrote a story for a shadow puppet play and my power-hose murals tied in with that as they became the illustrations to the tale of ‘Lily’s Song’.
The only slight drawback to this whole thing is that I have to knock on the doors of complete strangers and ask to be let loose on their “lovely dirty walls”. There are two usual reactions to this – bewilderment and offended. There is one rarer reaction though – delight at something new and different. This is the one I hope for every time. The bewildered usually warm to the idea too once I explain it properly and everyone who has ever let me do this has ended up loving it and getting involved in the process too.
I’m starting the next batch within the next few weeks and I have my best theme yet. The picturesare going to be fairly impressive I think but only if I get the right surfaces to work on. I’m well-mannered and toilet trained and no trouble whatsoever so if I come knocking, don’t be scared, you’ll hardly even know I’m there,