Colour the Capital from the Forest Recycling Project brings giant murals to the city

The latest project from the Forest Recycling Project (FRP), Colour the Capital, is the latest way in which unwanted paint can end up transforming the environment and, in this case, providing the raw materials so that impressive murals can be painted around the city by some of the Worlds top street artists.

We’ve covered the work of the project before here on Inspiring City, they provided the base paint for the Femme Fierce festivals of the past few years ultimately covering the entirety of the Leake Street Tunnel twice over first in bright bubble gum pink and then in brilliant blue.

This time they’ve teamed up with Global Street Art to take ownership of the murals themselves and as we write, they’ve already created four around the city with more to come. Nilesh Patel, business development assistant at the project said that the inspiration around the project came from seeing the positive impact street art and re-use of paint could make. “We were curious and optimistic that the impact could be quite significant if we merged the two together” he said.

This old factory building on pritchards row in Hackney has been totally transformed

This old factory building on pritchards row in Hackney has been totally transformed

A charity and social enterprise, FRP has been operating since 1988 in Walthamstow where its premiere project ‘The Paint Place’ resides. There surplus and leftover paint from recycling centres and commercial companies is collected, sorted, quality checked, re-mixed if need be and then sold on as a ‘green’ low cost alternative.

It’s this that provides the base line for the paint provided as part of the Colour the Capital project which says Nilesh “aims to leave a long lasting impression on the communities it engages with”. Working with some of the World’s top street art talent the project isn’t just about painting walls it’s about working together with local people too with a number of workshops for local schoolchildren having been organised as part of the project.

Paint is recycled and made available for use to community groups and the public at the Paint Place in Walthamstow

Paint is recycled and made available for use to community groups and the public at the Paint Place in Walthamstow

So far the roster of artists taking part in the project has included a gaggle of local, national and international talent. We’ve even featured a few of the artists before here on Inspiring City, Brazilian Mateus Bailon and Italian Hunto have taking part in full interviews with this very blog whilst others such as The Lost Souls crew, The Real Dill and Cranio are artists whose work we’ve covered extensively in the past.

The projects first mural, an epic scale portrait from Turin’s Pixel Pancho in Dalston took two days and used more traditional painting methods as opposed to spray. Pancho, a crossover artist with a background in fine art, eventually used 50 litres of re-cycled paint to create his piece. It was followed by a team effort with a combination of ten different artists painting the side of an old factory building in Hackney; a wall near the Old Kent Road painted by Spore and Macism and a typically cubist giant effort from Hunto in Walthamstow.

Bailon, Cranio and Silks all combined to work together for the project

Bailon, Cranio and Silks all combined to work together for the project

“With very high rates of poverty and deprivation, people need paint to improve poor quality housing and to brighten up neglected community spaces” says Nilesh of the FRP as he expands more upon the societal impact that street art can have, adding that “by using reclaimed paint we are reducing the environmental impact in terms of reducing landfill waste and lowering co2 emissions”

“I think any form of art is of particular interest to someone but I think that the term street art is quite broad and incorporates many different styles and that is a reason for its attraction”, Nilesh explains further. “I also think with the rise of the internet and especially social media in the last 10-20 years people from all over the World can now see excellent pieces of street art so the appreciation for different styles and techniques can be seen around the globe.” Fundamentally, he adds “street art makes places look better and affects how we feel about spaces.

Spore and Macism combined to paint this near the Old Kent Road

Spore and Macism combined to paint this near the Old Kent Road

For the FRP, five more murals are in the pipeline prior to the completion of this ambitious plan to colour the streets of London. But, Nilesh says, there will still be plenty of paint available should any community groups within any of the boroughs they work in wish to get in touch. “We want to use this project to act as a stepping stone” he says. “The work already done highlights the impact the project is having and with the right funding there’s no reason why this can’t be replicated elsewhere.”

So, to see the first four murals and with thanks to Nilesh from FRP for supplying the photos, take a look at the Colour the Capital story so far…

Mural 1 – Pixel Pancho, Kingsland High Street, Dalston

The maiden mural from Pixel Pancho an Italian artist from Turin. He has a background in Fine art; which allows his practice to be expansive; one that incorporates both street art and fine art. The mural took two days to transform the bare wall; using traditional methods of painting as opposed to spray paint using 50 litres of reclaimed paint to complete the piece.

Pixel Pancho mural in Dalston

Pixel Pancho mural in Dalston

Mural 2 – Multiple artists, Pritchards Row, Hackney

The second mural located on Pritchards Road E2 was created by various street artists as a compilation of techniques and styles merging together. The mural truly transforms the building and surrounding areas highlighting the changing landscape of Tower Hamlets. With over 10 artists involved their individual styles take effect in different parts of the mural but come together to make a grand mural of the highest calibre. The artists involved were Lost Souls Crew members, Squirl, SPZero76, Captain Kris, Tony Boy, Eoin O’Connor, Kaes, The Real Dill and Brazilian trio Mateus Bailon, Sliks & Cranio. You can visit this particular artwork on the free street art tour around Bethnal Green and Hackney

Eoin O'Connor and Kaes section of the mural

Eoin O’Connor and Kaes section of the mural

View from on high with the whole of the old factory building painted

View from on high with the whole of the old factory building painted

Mural 3 – Spore & Macism, Old Kent Road, Bermondsey

The third mural was a fresh new collaboration featuring artists Spore and Macism created near the old Kent Road at the rear of 233 old streets. Some of their previous work was featured on the walls project courtesy of Global Street Art.

Spore and Macism combined to paint this near the Old Kent Road

Spore and Macism combined to paint this near the Old Kent Road

Mural 4 – Hunto, Elmfield Road, Walthamstow

The latest mural was created by renowned Italian street artist Hunto whose unique style and abstract workings were expressed throughout the piece. A long-time London resident, his style as ‘graffiti cubism’ Hunto’s mural is based on an interpretation of the ‘three graces’.

Before Hunto

Before Hunto

After Hunto

After Hunto

The Forest Recycling Project (FRP) is a charity which re-cycles and reuses surplus paint and serves boroughs in North East London. Nilesh Patel was interviewed via email on 17 August 2015 and the murals so far can be found on Kingsland High Street in Dalston (Pixel Pancho), Pritchards Road in Hackney (multiple artists), the Old Kent Road (Spore and Mascism) and Elmfield Road in Walthamstow (Hunto). For a previous feature on the Forest Recycling Project read more here.