South-East London is an area that thrives on its creativity. Here at Anthology, we believe in the positive impact that art can have in a neighbourhood, so we challenged muralist Artmongers to find the biggest, most visible wall to create a new landmark for New Cross. We caught up with the artistic director, Patricio Forrester, to find out more about the mural.
What was your inspiration for this new mural in New Cross?
My inspiration always comes from looking at the wall and its location or environment. In this case, the Marquis of Granby, where the mural will sit, has a very particular shape; it is curved and is on a junction within a very busy, noisy, urban area.
The idea behind it was to work with the landscape and create a mural which provides the passers-by with a sense of relief when they look at it. The greens and the blue skies add a sense of calm, taking passers-by to another place.
With the design, you’re looking onto a valley and the two hills carry on seamlessly into the architecture – the curves of the hills counter curve those of the building so you’re able to look in to the mural, not just at it, and feel that sense of space.
How many people were involved in creating this new project?
So far, around 30 volunteers have painted, including employees from Anthology and we’ve had help from the Marquis of Granby. It’s a pretty big wall, so we needed as much help as we could get to complete the project on time, and we thought it would be great to let local people participate to gain a sense of ownership. Many volunteers responded to our online call for help, and it was fantastic to meet new people to work alongside with.
What made you choose the Marquis of Granby as the location for this mural?
The Marquis of Granby building has been there, I believe, since 1820. It stands as the junction of two very important roads and to me it stands as an iconic building for the area.
We had identified the need for environmental art in the area for quite some time. We developed two projects in the last five years: one was to plant a thousand sunflowers on the A2 to alleviate the pollution and dismal atmosphere on the road, the other (NewXIng) was an outdoor performance relay to integrate Goldsmiths students and the local community.
If New Cross wasn’t cut by the A2 and Lewisham Road, the junction would stand as the village square. I love the way village squares work; traditionally, the square is the hub of the area with murals and interesting things to look at. I hope the mural will give that sense of a special place to a busy junction.
Who do you see as the audience for this mural?
The audience for this mural is the ordinary person, from the road sweeper to the lady working in the café; I really like the thought of those people who walk up and down the street everyday. The audience is also the road-ragers, preoccupied workers and the bouncers in The Venue opposite. The thing about public art is that it enhances public space for absolutely everybody, whether they like art, they think they like art, or couldn’t care less.
Have you received any feedback about this new mural?
During the process, the mural received a lot of intrigue from passers-by. Many stopping to point and look and we had so many people shouting encouragement. Every day I was there, there was at least two to three people stopping, looking up, smiling, waving and giving the team the thumbs up. Many people I encountered while painting have asked me when the scaffolding was coming down, saying they couldn’t wait to see the whole thing without interference (a passer-by said “it couldn’t have come at a better time.”)
Do you have any future projects coming up in the area?
Well, we do have a mural on Deptford High Street coming up but that’s all I can tell you…it’s a secret.
To celebrate this new mural coming to New Cross, Anthology is hosting an event on Thursday 13th July (5-7pm) at Marquis of Granby. If you’d like to see the new artwork for yourself then pop on by: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-extraordinary-new-addition-to-new-cross-tickets-35533003169