Street artists create bright, bold and colourful new artworks at an animal sanctuary, farm and village pub in Dumfries and Galloway.
Three teams of national and international artists have created colourful murals on a series of buildings in the heart of the Scottish countryside.
Spring Fling Rural Mural (SFRM) brings bright and bold public artworks into new and unusual places across Dumfries and Galloway where they can be enjoyed by the public.
The murals, which were completed at the weekend, will be a major attraction for Spring Fling, Scotland’s premier open studios visual art and craft event, which will see thousands of visitors flock to the region between 28 and 30 May. It is also being staged as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
The chosen sites are at a farm, and animal rescue centre and on the gable end of a village pub.
International street artists 44 Flavours, from Berlin, Tellas, from Rome and Amy Whiten and Ali Wyllie of Glasgow-based Recoat have teamed up with three artists from Dumfries and Galloway for the project (see background document).
SFRM is organised by Upland, the region’s arts agency that runs Spring Fling, and project managed by Amy Whiten and Ali Wyllie of Recoat. It is supported by EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate and by Creative Scotland.
Clare Hanna, Upland Director (maternity cover), said: “It’s been brilliant to watch the murals being created over the past week – they are so vibrant it’s been like seeing the buildings come to life. They are also great fun, so we hope that it will help attract more visitors to Spring Fling and they will really enjoy them as they tour our beautiful countryside.”
Dumfries and Galloway is renowned for its visual art and craft and Spring Fling acts as a showcase for the artistic community and for the region. Last year it attracted 13,200 unique visitors, with 55% from outside the region and 30% from beyond Scotland. Together they spent £1.46m on art, craft, accommodation, food and drink – bringing substantial benefits for the local economy.
This is the second SFRM, the first was in 2014.
About the murals
Meiklewood Farm, Ringford, Castle Douglas
Tellas, from Rome, teamed up with Kirkcudbright-based Morag Macpherson to create a mural on a large steading near the A75. The mural is a colourful mix of organic shapes inspired by the sea and areas of solid colour that reflect the colours of the Dumfries and Galloway skies. The farm is owned by Mary Robertson and run by her son Nigel – and his 11-year-old daughter Abby, who goes to Dalbeattie Primary School, has been helping with the lambing.
Mary Robertson, who runs the farm and B&B, said: “I had wanted to brighten up the building after the end of what’s been a pretty awful winter and that’s just what they’ve done – it’s been tremendous, I just love it. I had seen the murals round the region that had been done a couple of years ago and wondered how I could get one done. When I heard they were looking for places this year I jumped at the chance.”
Morag Macpherson, said: “We’ve just loved working here – it’s such a superb building and the farm is lovely. As the theme of Spring Fling Rural Mural is exchange, we have got all sorts of ideas in here – the exchange between our styles, between the sea and the sky and between organic shapes and solid colours.”
Tellas added: “When I arrived here I was blown away by the colours of the skies and thought that I really wanted us to have them as part of the mural.”
The Mossburn Animal Centre, Hightae
The mural is on the side of a large, stone farm building at this centre for ill-treated and abandoned animals. It is visible from B7020. The creators will be Berlin-based arts duo 44 Flavours (Sebastian Bagge and Julio Rölle) and Dumfries and Galloway visual artist Rory Laycock.
The artists also created a painted wooden structure which they dubbed “the doocot” inspired by pigeon houses they had seen in Glasgow.
Sebastian said: “This has been a great experience for us – the work is abstract and very colourful. Lots of children come to visit the farm and we think it will be lots of fun for them. Most murals are in urban environments and can only be seen from close up, so it’s amazing to be able to work somewhere in the middle of big wide open spaces on something that people will be able to see from a long way away.”
The centre itself, which is open to the public, is home to dozens of rescued animals from rabbits, goats, horses and pigs to emus and a llama.
Quinita Wilson, who runs the centre, said: “We were really excited when we heard about Rural Mural – and the result is really wonderfully colourful. We think it’s be a big attraction during Spring Fling and I hope that it’s going to bring lots of people in to see the mural and enjoy the farm.”
Dumfries and Galloway artist Rory Laycock added: “It’s been a superb experience for me to work with renowned international artists of this calibre. And artists rarely get the chance to work at a really big scale, so it’s been a brilliant opportunity. The Doocot is also huge fun – it’s quite chaotic and colourful, and it works really well with the mural.”
The 44 Flavours team are well known for creating architectural interventions alongside their murals.
Julio said: “We were interested in the sheds people made to keep their pigeons that we saw in Glasgow. As the theme of the project is ‘exchange’ it seemed fitting to bring something inspired by animals in the city to a place dedicated to caring for animals that’s deep in the countryside.”
Craigdarroch Arms Hotel, Moniaive
Amy Whiten and Ali Wyllie from Recoat in Glasgow collaborated with Morag Paterson from near Thornhill. Their mural is on a gable end at a pub renowned for hosting arts events. The mural has been inspired by the rivers, hills and country air of the Moniaive area, and the village’s reputation as a centre for music and festivals.
Amy said: “We are very proud to have been able to produce three really substantial pieces of public artwork, and the reaction from the site owners have been highly positive. All the artists have got a huge amount from it – the international artists have been overwhelmed by how kind the people have been and have got a really fantastic impression of Scotland and its people.”
Tim O’Sullivan, who runs the pub, said: “It’s just great, I love it. Having something so colourful here is really eye-catching, especially for somewhere that’s so strongly associated with music, festivals and events. The mural has a real sense of life and liveliness about it, and it’ll be a real attraction when people are coming to the area for the Spring Fling weekend. Hopefully it will mean more people will stop and enjoy looking round the village.”
Morag Paterson, an internationally respected photographer, was delighted to have the chance to work on the mural, which followed a recent decision to develop her skills as a painter. She said: “It was a pretty daunting prospect, but luckily I have been in good hands, being able to work with some of the best street artists in the country. I’d seen the murals created in the first SFRM in 2014 and been really impressed by them, so it’s been tremendous to have the chance to be part of it this year.”
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “In 2016, the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, we are delighted to be supporting Spring Fling’s Rural Mural project, which will provide a fantastic platform for local Dumfries and Galloway artists to work collaboratively with international talent, and to showcase their work to a wider audience.”
After the work is complete in Dumfries and Galloway SFRM is about to take a novel twist with the same teams going to Glasgow, Newcastle and Berlin to create further works.
Recoat and Morag Paterson will head for Glasgow, Morag Macpherson and Tellas will work in Newcastle, with Rory and 44 Flavours going to Berlin.
Image by Colin Hattersley showing Dumfries and Galloway artist Rory Haycock with “The Doocot” which he helped create along with a mural at Mossburn Animal Centre.