The Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds is not normally known as a street art destination. Yet, working throughout the night, a group of street artists have slowly been turning one of it’s sections into a kaleidoscope of colour.
Part of the Blk-Bx (Black Box) project. This is part of a wider initiative to encourage creativity in the heart of city. Conceived by Darren Rudland, a number of units in the Trinity have been given over to the project. The ‘Black Boxes’ themselves are retail spaces, intended as temporary lets. The plan is to allow young brands and creatives to come and go on short terms contracts and with minimal set up. Business rates too are waived for creatives wanting to come in and use the space.
Curated by OllyStudio, Five artists, a blend of local and international, have contributed to transforming the space. “Street art is a global movement” Olly told me when asked about how he went about choosing the artists to work with. “There are local links, and northern links, but all of these artists paint around the UK and the World.”
“I also wanted to represent as many different genres as possible” he told me. “Stencil, Paste Up, Freehand.” All he explained were a part of the street art scene. All were styles that he wanted to showcase within the space.
THE ARTISTS OF BLK-BX
Nicolas Dixon. An artist with a studio around the corner on Albion Street is a Leeds native. Recently returned from Tanzania where, working with other artists, he was helping to develop creative skills in kids who might otherwise be homeless. His colourful biomorphic shapes and colours now also surround the lift entrance up towards the Trinity Kitchen. He paints, he says, “what he can’t put into words.”
Two Sheffield artists Peachzz and Florence Blanchard also contributed work. Peachzz is known for her graffiti inspired and colourful bird and animal life. For this project she created two parrots by the escalator. Blanchard meanwhile took over the entrance to the centre next to Boots. There her patterned pastel abstractions greet visitors into the new space. Created on vinyl they’ve been attached to the pillars themselves.
Slightly further afield, though not that far. Preston based D7606 is known for his telephone box paste ups. Often they contain iconic figures within them and for the Trinity he used Twiggy. His paste up installations are getting ever more immersive. Look closely in the detail of the background and much can be seen.
The final artist was Raul33 from Pescara in Italy. The only international artist on show. His work covers the pillars, walls and ceilings. Utilising black and white shapes, they draw the eye and dominate the space. His style is to paint on instinct. To acquire a kind of trance like state where every gesture matters as he paints his symbolic language. “It’s like a meditation for me, it’s a way to release my energy.”
Blk-Bx at Trinity Leeds was visited on 12 February 2019. The project was curated by Ollystudio and supported by Land Securities, Leeds BID and Leeds City Council. The street art can be seen next to the entrance by Boots on Albion Street. For more Leeds related posts have a look at this article on the UK’s largest mural.