The first virtual street art festival has come to Cheltenham. Already known for it’s popular paint festival. The issues surrounding the coronavirus have resulted in different ways of doing things for artists.
Working with artists from around the world. Each have taken a photograph of a wall in Cheltenham and photo shopped their virtual street art against it. The results are striking. Already the spa town has some of the finest real street art in the area. Now it’s taken on a whole new online life.
Virtual Street Art in Cheltenham
Andy Davies is the director of the Cheltenham Paint Festival. “I have so many pictures of walls in Cheltenham” he told me. Curating a more traditional street art festival requires a lot of walking around and a lot of scouting. As a curator Andy spends a lot of time looking at spaces and then considering what type of artists work might fit best there.
Of course having ideas and taking photos doesn’t always translate into getting permission to actually paint the walls. Spaces that he’s had ambitions to paint for years have never happened. Now though in the online world they have. One of the most dramatic pieces is a virtual recreation of a mural Andy painted of his son and daughter. Now superimposed on the wall of a reservoir. If this ever came off as a real wall it would be spectacular indeed.
Davies has been organising street art and graffiti events in Cheltenham for years. Starting out just organising paint jams in the underpass on the local Honeybourne Line, it’s since evolved. The first major festival in the town happened in 2017. Subsequent years then added to the area. Artists such as Beau Stanton, My Dog Sighs and Curtis Hylton have all created spectacular works of art alongside a host of others.
One of things Andy says he is most proud of about the work in Cheltenham is that it is spread throughout the town. Areas that you wouldn’t normally think murals would be placed, have lovely pieces of art. Although unplanned before the lockdown, the virtual festival adds to that. Opening up and perhaps planting a seed that, when this thing is over, there’s a whole load more real walls to paint.
All pictures contained in this article courtesy of the artists and provided to Inspiring City by the Cheltenham Paint Festival