Folkestone 2014 onwards
The history of painting and drawing on walls is almost as old as humanity itself. For most of the modern period,
easel painting, on canvas, with oils, has superseded the mural. This has allowed artists to produce work more
in keeping with the taste and circumstances of their patrons.
However, there have been several significant periods when mural painting has been re-discovered.
The great advantages of the mural painting are public visibility and scale.
These characteristics have allowed artists to co-opt the form into their avant-garde project to reach beyond the gallery.
Generally the work is unsigned.
To recap, art has usually been displayed in spaces specifically configured as gallery environments.
But, these environments are not neutral and quickly become institutionalised. The control of these spaces passes to a
caste of officials who become gate-keepers of what may, and may not, be displayed.
From the end of the 19C onwards, avant-garde artists have engaged with public facing forms of work.
These have included posters and sculptures as much as murals. This desire for out-reach has naturally aligned itself
with the democratic tendencies of much 20C social change.
Decorative Murals were popular from the beginning of the 20C through to the start of WW2.
Artists such as Frank Brangwyn, Rex Whistler, Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden produced interior mural decorations.
During WW2, Kenneth Rowntree produced murals for the British Restaurants.
These took the form of symbolic landscape that promoted the themes of national identity.
The Festival of Britain, in 1951, promoted an integration of art, architecture and design, as an template for the rebuilding of WW2.
The Festival espoused as sort of access-all-areas cultural identity that matched the social democratic reforms of post-war reconstruction.
A number of artists produced murals for the South Bank and beyond, including John Piper, Mary Fedden, Kathleen Hale, Tristram Hillier,
Barbara Jones, John Minton and many more.
As commercial activity returned to British high streets after a period of extended austerity, the mural was reinvented, between 1955 and 1975,
as a super-sized typographic element in the townscape of urban spectacular. Edward Wright, Gordon Cullen and Archigram were at the forefront
of this extension of pop art into British retail.
During the 1970s, end-of-terrace murals marked out the sectarian loyalties of Northern Ireland.
The immersive consumerism of the global economy, during the 1980s and 1990s, offered artists in New York a chance to create large-scale artworks
that combined the rhetoric of street art and billboard advertising. These interventions are usually only ‘tolerated’ in areas that are not gentrified or privately owned.
It is from this period, by definition, ‘anti establishment’. It’s worth noting that a consistent neatness is a powerful expression of prosperity.
In the UK, where the advertising environment was carefully controlled, urban artists have been forced off-grid.
Banksy is the most notorious figure amongst the guerrilla street, or graffiti, artists. Of course, Folkestone is delighted that Banksy
has graced us with his presence in 2014. It has caused a sensation.
Nowadays, the urban spectacular is digital, interactive and always-on. As part of this cultural phenomenon the decorative mural has moved
from indoors to out and all around. It is art for the experience.
Here are some examples of the fine mural art which is popping up all over the east end of Folkestone.
in order of appearance? catch them while you can....
biblio: Mural Painting by Hans Feibusch 1946
December 2014 -now being re-developed.
proud to have sponsored this one (see our name up there!)
temporary 'amendment' 13 October 2014
UPDATE 1ST NOVEMBER
owners of building 'steal' public art, prior to trying to flog it in Miami,
with full police co-operation! Like an episode of 'Peaky Blinders'......
The two shady characters on the day were his 'dealer' and somebody who called himself 'Banks'?
Make of it what you will
UPDATE 31 DECEMBER
Banksy's mural failed to sell in Miami. Folkestone waiting/hoping for it to be returned?
UPDATE 11 SEPTEMBER 2015
After months of secrecy, today Creative Foundation reveals that they have won the legal battle
to have Folkestone's Banksy returned from the US.
What a story...... READ ALL ABOUT IT....
We are delighted to be proved wrong about Banksy's involvement in it's removal.
2016 Folkestone's Banksy is returned and awaiting re-installation in the town....
another mural in progress (old Co-op building due for demolition?)...December 26th 2014....
new January 2015
DECEMBER 2015 - A WORK IN PROGRESS...forthcoming mega skatepark
Now there is an interactive map showing the various locations and contact details of some of the artists too....
see The Folkestone Status.
Discover them for yourselves as you explore the Folkestone.
Some look like enlarged artwork, others engage with the building they are adorning, different styles, different approach.
Dr Who episode 'Flatline' which shows mural/grafitti art in a new light!
for professional mural painting on international scale see the work of Gilles Cecilie studio
'Petro's' work newly appeared in the Old High Street Folkestone... (June 2016)
and his customised rubber gloves.
these panels have been decorated in Tontine Street (August 2016). It is incredible how resistant locals are to anything different,
even if it improves their environment. The chap who runs the angling shop opposite started mouthing off about what 'crap' it is. Would
he prefer bare rubble?
hot from 'Dismaland' comes the Riot container on the Leas Folkestone until August 14 2016
well done to Folkestone Harbour Ward residents for commissioning this mural on the Durlocks (completed September 2016)
this graffiti conveys a sad message of remembrance - public grief.
and a detailed souvenir of Folkestone's sometimes funfairs.
and now mural art goes mainstream at Dulwich Picture Gallery
meanwhile, spotted in the back streets of Folkestone...
© Paul and Karen Rennie
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