City graffiti artists get head start on first street ‘gallery’

The wall will feature a mix of work by established and up-and-coming artists
The wall will feature a mix of work by established and up-and-coming artists
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A HOST of Scotland’s best-known street artists have joined forces to create the Capital’s first legal graffiti wall in the heart of the Old Town.

It is hoped that the installation, which spans the entire length of New Street, will help brighten up the area surrounding the Caltongate development site while also offering young urban artists an outlet for their talents.

The legal graffiti wall opened during the festival

The legal graffiti wall opened during the festival

A host of renowned street artists have already been allocated their own space on the wall such as Conzo, Estum and TrenchOne.

The initiative is a partnership between the site’s owner, Artisan Real Estate Investors, and a host of local arts and community groups such as the Old Town Community Council, urban art collective, The Too Much Fun Club and Spectrum Art Edinburgh Ltd.

Julie Logan, chair of the Old Town Community Council, was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition and is excited to see the area 
revitalised.

She said: “For many years this area was a hub for creative types and artists, until it was blighted by the Caltongate development, so it’s nice to see a touch of that spirit returning.

“These guys are very talented and the work they have already carried out has really helped to brighten up the area.”

Local artist Aaron Sinclair, 32, who recently graduated with a BA Hons degree in illustration from Edinburgh College of Art, is another artist to have been allocated a space.

He said: “It’s a fantastic resource. Street art and graffiti has long been dismissed as vandalism but this isn’t the case – there’s real talent and skill involved.

“Edinburgh is way behind cities such as Bristol, Manchester and London in appreciating street art and this wall can go some way to changing this.

“Graffiti art began in New York in the 80s as a way of brightening up already rundown parts of the city, not destroying them.

“I’m an illustrator and I spent all day on Saturday working alongside spray artists, graphic designers and one guy with a four-inch brush, there was a real diversity of styles and skills.”

The wall has been granted permission until January next year, when a decision will be taken whether to continue the project.

Tommy Dutch, director of The Too Much Fun Club, explained how the wall will function. He said: “The wall will be split into two sections, the lower section will be a free-for-all where anyone who wants to can work. The upper section will be for guest artists and operate on a waiting list.

“It’s a really exciting project. Every other art is catered for in Edinburgh, now street art is too.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com