I’ve recently been out and about on the hunt for dirty walls again, potential “canvasses” for my powerhose murals. As some of you may know, I trudge through fields and farms, dragging my powerhose behind me with grand ideas in my head and the hope I can find the right wall to bring them to life. I sometimes think when I’m long gone I’ll haunt these hills, still searching for that perfect wall. People will hear a strange wailing sound and they’ll say, “Kevin’s out tonight, I can hear the squeaky wheel on his powerhose.” Then they’ll close the curtains and stay inside and think no more of it.
As always, this series of murals has been in association with Sliabh Beagh Arts. The aim of the organisation has always been to bring art out to where life happens rather than hide it away behind closed doors and they carry out this task with ingenuity, lateral thinking and a real sense of fun. I love being a part of the chaos.
Last month saw the launch of Sliabh Beagh Arts Little Mountain exhibition in the Higher Bridges Gallery Enniskillen. I’ve been involved with this group of artists for about five years and I’m pleased to say we’ve carried through on all of the most over the top ideas we’ve come up with.
Some of these include working for six months to stage a shadow puppet show in the middle of a woods for one night only, animating and performing in the same woods two years later (another six months) with our newly written follow up story…for one night only, wood carving, weird and wonderful photography, music workshops, pottery, gate weaving (yes, you read that right) and my own power-hose murals.
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.