It’s not the most obvious place that you might think of to find street art. But West Didsbury in Manchester is a place which has a number of impressive murals dotted around its streets.
Most of the works have been commissioned by the Matthew Ludlam Foundation. A charity formed to promote projects involving young people. With themes along the lines of urban form, design, street art, culture, music and travelling. They remember the interests of Matthew Ludlum the man, after whom the charity was named.
Street Art in West Didsbury
Street art was a particular interest of Matthew’s and the work created has linked the community with the artists. Pieces by Phlegm, Mateus Bailon, Nomad Clan, Qubek and Tankpetrol have all left their mark on the area. It’s an impressive array of talent with all recognized as being at the top of the UK street art scene.
Just south of Manchester and easily accessible by bus, the murals of West Didsbury are part of a wider emerging mural scene in the city. Manchester’s Northern Quarter certainly has it’s fair share of large scale pieces. Mostly remnants of the Cities of Hope festival a couple of years ago. The legacy they’ve left is one which has certainly put Manchester on the map as a must visit city when it comes to street art.
Community Based Art
Many of the artists painting in West Didsbury are also northern based with all having strong links to the Manchester art scene. Look around the city and you’ll see work by all of them dotted around. Venturing into the more leafy district of West Didsbury is a good compliment to that work.
Much of the art in West Didsbury also has a story behind it. Matthew Ludlum, after whom the murals have been inspired, had a passion for things such as urban planning and regeneration. Combined with his desire to promote community involvement and environmental sustainability. The murals serve to really support that message when seen individually or as a collection of works.
So let’s have a look at the street art of West Didsbury…
Phelgm – The Bird Towers, 171 Burton Road, West Didsbury
Phlegm’s monochrome work is hugely popular. Based on his illustration work, Phelgm creates characters and scenes from a world he has imagined. Always black and white his detailed large scale murals can be found all over the UK. In West Didsbury he created a series of ‘Bird Towers’ on the side of ‘Folk’.
Mateus Bailon – Guardian of Didbsury, 150-152 Burton Road
Bailon’s ‘Guardian of Ancoats‘ was a hugely popular mural created as part of the Cities of Hope festival. Sadly the guardian didn’t last as the area it was painted on was already scheduled for demolition This guardian promises to be a bit more long lasting. Sitting atop a rooftop it looks out over onto the road junction guarding the way.
Mateus Bailon – Lapwing, Lapwing Lane
Just down the road from the guardian is another piece from Bailon. Painting a lapwing in the aptly named Lapwing Lane. One of the foremost environmental street artists in the country. His depictions particularly of bird life are hugely sought after.
Nomad Clan – Hidden Treasures, 701 Princess Road
Manchester was where Rolls met Royce and a legend was then born. The mural from Nomad Clan pays homage to that by painting a rusting old Rolls Royce been taken over by nature. Hidden within the paintwork are also little hints to other Manchester based achievements. Including Rutherford’s splitting of the atom and Manchester’s impressive music scene.
Qubek – Worker Bees, 701 Princess Road
Qubek’s bees can be found all over Manchester and now Didsbury too. Showing bees at work amongst the chains and cogs of an industrial landscape. It’s a tribute to the industrial past of the city.
Tankpetrol – Alan Turing, 701 Princess Road
Tankpetrol’s tribute to Alan Turing is a tribute to one of the country’s most celebrated mathematicians. Very much an adopted son of the city he worked at Manchester University and died in Wilmslow. He was persecuted on account of his homosexuality and died of suicide in 1954. In later years he has since been pardoned and his legacy as one of the great minds of his generation re-discovered.