In Brighton, Clarkes art shop and gallery is in the creative heart of the city, the North Laine. Street art is a frequent sight and the staff of Clarkes add their own mural every summer.
Gathering artists together
Over thirty artists and makers display their work in the gallery upstairs in Clarkes of Sussex and the mural is an opportunity to work together on a project. The shop staff design and paint the background of the butterfly mural alongside some talented local street artists. Then the exhibiting artists come and add their own contribution. This year the theme was butterflies allowing each artist to paint in their own unique style.
Painting on the wall
I’ve never painted on a wall before and the uneven texture and quick drying paint made it interesting! The background is spray painted in wide rainbow stripes to cover the previous artwork and create a base. The butterfly shapes were masked out white ready to paint. The rainbow stripes are a familiar sight in Brighton as a city with a large LGBTQ community and are often used to show support and solidarity.
I chose my colours as blue and orange and had my stencils to hand to add my signature number and letter shapes. I found I had to apply several layers of acrylic and blend them quickly before the paint dried. When I had the base layers painted I added patterns of numbers and letters with my stencils in a symmetrical design on the wings.
I watched the other artists as their own unique butterflies came to life on the wall. Over the coming weeks more local artists will add their own painted butterflies.
A community project
The butterfly mural is a bright and hopeful artwork and projects like this happen in many places. It’s a great way to bring artists together on an artwork that’s enjoyed by visitors to the city. We had a lot of people stop and chat and take photos while we painted. Check in with your local art shop and see if there’s a community project like this near you.
I have some of my own work from the Curious Tales series on display in the gallery until 1st August.