Artists Combine to Create Incredible Mural in the Walthamstow Marsh

Artists of all persuasions joined forces this weekend to create an incredible mural under a railway bridge in the historic Walthamstow Marsh as part of the community ‘Mural in the Marsh‘ project.

With artists organised with the help of Global Street Art, the idea was to transform an unattractive underpass often daubed with graffiti at the centre of one of London’s most beautiful areas, into a celebration of the marshes wildlife. Where once one would have jogged a little bit quicker or walked a little bit faster to get through the underpass now joggers and walkers might be tempted to pause a little in order to enjoy a mini gallery with works from some of London’s finest artistic talents.

Painted mainly over the August bank holiday weekend, the first days painting was all but called off with artists battling valiantly against the downpours on a soaking start to the weekend. It meant that all hands were on deck on the Sunday which mercifully was a lot brighter and drier. By mid afternoon though the walls of the underpass were really taking shape.

One of the successes of street art is how the public interact with it. During the time that I was there the art had already attracted a lot of attention with children in particular seeming to really enjoy the art and asking a lot of questions about the wildlife portrayed. People who would have normally walked on through the underpass also stopped to speak to the artists, take photos and learn about the project.

As usual some photos below from this project that once again brings street art closer to the community and which really adds value to it’s surroundings.

Some local school children had already contributed this colourful poem

Before the main project had begun some local school children from the Lea Bridge Road area had already helped to create this colourful mural alongside local artist JaneyJane

Paint had been donated from far and wide

Paint was supplied by Forest Recycling Project, with further kind donations from Cowling & Wilcox and numerous local Walthamstow residents who raided their sheds to bring the artists spare paint

Hannah Adamaszek created some beautiful foxes along her section of the wall

Hannah Adamaszek created some beautiful foxes along her section of the wall

Lots of members of the public stopped to linger along the underpass appreciating the art

Lots of members of the public stopped to linger along the underpass appreciating the art

A mixture of materials were used.  Hannah makes use of spray paint, traditional brush painting and charcoal

A mixture of materials were used. Hannah makes use of spray paint, traditional brush painting and charcoal

The foxes on the walll

Sneaky foxes on the wall

Fox in the Undergrowth

Fox in the Undergrowth

Karis was drawing a snake and this would make up the tail end of the mural

Karis Knight was drawing a snake and this would make up the tail end of the mural

Some of the detail from Karis drawing

Some of the detail from her mural

The majority of the artists were all at the other side of the underpass.

The majority of the artists were all at the other side of the underpass.

Della Rees, a locally based artist from Walthamstow, portrayed the grasslands of the marsh

Della Rees, a locally based artist from Walthamstow, portrayed the grasslands of the marsh

Zadok creates some beautifully intricate pieces of work

Zadok creates some beautifully intricate pieces of work

Adding the final touches to this kestrel about to pounce on it's prey

Adding the final touches to this kestrel about to pounce on it’s prey

About to pounce, the picture shows Zadok's original sketch

About to pounce, the picture shows Zadok’s original sketch

Zadok also produced this incredible piece underneath one of the arches

Zadok also produced this incredible piece underneath one of the arches

Louis Masai usually uses his street art to raise awareness of the plight of endangered species

Louis Masai usually uses his street art to raise awareness of the plight of endangered species

Masai decided to capture this heron in full flight

Masai decided to capture this grey heron in full flight

The detail Masai puts into his work really brings the bird to life

The detail Masai puts into his work really brings the bird to life

Brazilian artist Mateus Bailon also draws birds.

Brazilian artist Mateus Bailon also draws birds.

Bailon has been painting his birds all over London and this was his last project before heading off to Barcelona for his first solo show

Bailon has been painting his birds all over London and this was his last project before heading off to Barcelona for his first solo show. Here he has painted a pair of Crested Grebes

Through the grasses Bailon's Bird fits the environment

Through the grasses Bailon’s Bird fits the environment

Bailon's Bird in Flight

Bailon’s Bird in Flight

Prior to creating on the wall Bailon often does a quick sketch but once he starts on the wall anything could happen he just sees where the art goes

Prior to creating on the wall Bailon often does a quick sketch but once he starts on the wall anything could happen he just sees where the art goes

A can ready to be used

A can ready to be used

Dave from Gnasher Murals at work on his Commerant

Dave from Gnasher Murals at work on his Commerant

The paint tray for Gnasher Murals

The paint tray with splashes of black, white and yellow

Adding the final touches, Gnasher Murals are based in Norwich but often paint in London

Adding the final touches, Gnasher Murals are based in Norwich but often paint in London creating incredibly detailed pieces of art

Boe painted a pair of swans

Boe painted a pair of swans

Boe was one of the first to finish his section of the wall

Boe was one of the first to finish his section of the wall

Blight Society finished early too and produced these grazing cows

Blight Society finished early too and produced these grazing cows

Artist Lorraine was adding reeds and grasses to the mural

Artist Lorraine Ward was adding reeds and grasses to the mural

Her inspiration came from a quick drawing she had made based on the marsh

Her inspiration came from a quick drawing she had made based on the marsh

She had some very colourful hands

The mark of an artist hard at work, she had some very colourful hands

Watch out for the Artists, pass with care

Watch out for the Artists, pass with care

Update – 7th September 2013 – I returned to the marsh to see the official opening and also to look at the pieces of mural that were unfinished when I visited in August. Below are some updated pictures from the mural completed during the intervening weeks.

Louis Masai completed a grey heron in flight

Louis Masai completed a grey heron in flight

Masai also added a Bee

Masai also added a Bee

Lorraine Ward's Dragonflies are now completed

Lorraine Ward’s Dragonflies are now completed

Esther Neslen added these geese as part of the mural

Esther Neslen added these geese as part of the mural

A close up of Karis Knight's grass adder

A close up of Karis Knight’s grass adder

Influenced by tribal patterns Mural on the Marsh was only the second time Karis had tried outdoor painting

Influenced by tribal patterns Mural on the Marsh was only the second time Karis had tried outdoor painting

Organiser Fabien Ho, local artists Esther Neslen, Della Rees and Karis Knight and Lee Bofkin from Global Street Art

Organiser Fabien Ho, local artists Esther Neslen, Della Rees and Karis Knight and Lee Bofkin from Global Street Art

Mural on the Marsh is a community art project taking place mainly over the bank holiday weekend of 24-26th August and which officially opened on 7th September. The mural can be found under the intersecting railtracks and tunnel on the Walthamstow side of the marsh and is a 20 minute walk from Clapton Train Station. The project was curated and managed by Fabien Ho from Fabsternation, with the assistance of Lee Bofkin from Global Street Art, supported by Cllr Clare Coghill from Waltham Forest and funded by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. Paint was supplied by Forest Recycling Project, with kind donations from Cowling & Wilcox and numerous local Walthamstow residents who kindly donated paint.

Mural in the Marsh map taken from the Mural in the Marsh Facebook page

Mural in the Marsh map taken from the Mural in the Marsh Facebook page

For more information on the Mural on the Marsh project try:

Mural on the Marsh Facebook Page

For more Inspiring City posts featuring some of the artists taking part in Mural on the Marsh try:

Interview with Hannah Adamaszek
Interview with Mateus Bailon
Awesome Street Art Collaborations, 10 of the best street art mash ups