The Blackburn Open Walls festival once again brought street art to this northern town. Now in it’s third year, the event aims to ‘Make Blackburn Beautiful’ by transforming it’s urban space. This year artists such as Case Maclain, Curtis Hylton, Phlegm, AddFuel, Mr Christa and Isaac Cordal all joined in the fun.
Joining the likes of festival regulars Hayley Welsh and Alexandra Gallagher they painted a series of murals around the area, adding to the art from previous years.
THE BLACKBURN OPEN WALLS FESTIVAL
Only managing to visit the town a little after the event, we were able to meet up with Alexandra Gallagher. A local artist, her work has appeared at all three open walls festivals so far. Her first outings being a series of giant digital collages which is the type of art which she has perhaps become best known for.
Her most recent outing however was the most ambitious. Trying her hand at painting on the actual street for the first time. The resultant creation took over a week to complete. It was another first for an artist who told us that she thrived on challenge.
We spent some time wandering around the town to look at the new additions. It became clear just how much they seem to be appreciated. None have been tagged or damaged. A testament perhaps to the curation of the walls and the placing of the pieces. None seem out of place against the backdrop of the town filled with old Victorian architecture.
LOCAL FAVOURITE ART
A local vote after the event picked out the mural from Phlegm as being the town favourite. A homage to the cotton workers of years gone by, his mural shows one of his fantastical creatures sitting at a loom. There, black and white, against the background of an aging red brick building it’s an arresting sight.
Around the corner, Hayley Welsh the curator of the festival and a Blackburn artist, has painted some of her own little creatures. Representing the inner thoughts that we might have in our head. They are shown sat in a boat which is being lifted to the sky by three black balloons. Next to the piece are the words “Be Happy in the Moment” and then “This Moment is your Life”.
There are others of course. A giant duck from Curtis Hylton has already become a local landmark. The mural from Case MacLain meanwhile pays tribute to the museum on which it has been painted. Showing a man in a lab coat staring intently at the small skull of a bird. It is perhaps an unusual topic but one which pays tribute to the research past of the museum.
There have been a number of murals added to the walls of Blackburn. So for this post we thought we’d feature the latest additions. We didn’t find them all but we did get most of them.
Click on the links to look at work from previous years here and for an interview with Hayley Welsh, the curator of the event. The Blackburn Open Walls festival took place between 17-22 July 2018. The town was visited on 4 August 2018.