Newcastle’s sunshine Grafitti

Sunny but still feels Baltic

We’ve had the longest winter since the ice age. Or at least that’s the way it feels. So when the sun put in a brief appearance last weekend, everyone rushed outside to enjoy that funny blue stuff above our heads which we haven’t seen for so long. Eyes were shielded from the brightness like the pit ponies who came up from their underground workplace once a year for a brief holiday in the sun. Could spring be on its way at last or is this what climate change is going to mean for us recession battled Brits? Will our indomitable Blitz spirit and famous self deprecating humour get us through this time round?

Malmaison – looking good

While wandering about our very lovely quayside we came across some young graffiti artists who were jazzing up some warehouse walls. They were making something very colourful out of something very dull and I’m all for that. We stopped to chat to them and find out a bit more about what they do and why. When do you do this we asked? When the sun comes out they replied. That explained their current zestful approach then. They told us about their urban street culture and how some councils encouraged and supported their work and others (Newcastle City Council take note) just would have no truck with them at all.

The council – no fun at all

They start off with a wash of colourful emulsion as it’s cheaper and then progress to using spray cans, which at £3.50 each cost a  lot more. They can paint over other artist’s work but will usually always seek permission to do so and they often act as mentors for youngsters who follow them to learn about it and do workshops with other folk who want to know more about their craft. Rob explained that they felt it was a productive thing to do and that it was more physical than other sorts of art and they like being outside too. One lad Nigel had been commissioned to decorate part of a new Golf Club building for which he would actually get paid. One famous local crew are called the ‘Figs’ crew. Don’t ask me why. Graffiti is one of those art forms that you can miss if you don’t really look at it. It is a colurful part of our urban landscapes and the identities of those who live there.

Nigel at work
Can you tell what is is yet?

We asked Nigel who was considered one of the ‘older’ crew at the advanced age of 43, if he would be interested in doing some workshops with young offenders. He was keen to oblige but he didn’t have an email he said. But how could we get in touch with you? We cried. Just leave me a message on my wall he grinned!

Burns Night Geordie Style

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How groovy is this garage?