STREET artists are to descend on Meadowbank velodrome this weekend to transform its blank walls into a riot of colour and creativity.
The doomed cycle track, expected to be demolished within the next year, has been targeted with individual pieces of graffiti in the past.
But the latest initiative – led by Chris Rutterford, who has been behind a host of spectacular murals across the Capital – has the official approval of the Edinburgh Road Club, which has a lease on the velodrome from the city council.
Up to 60 artists are expected to take part in the “graff jam”, which will be based on cycling-related themes.
Mr Rutterford said he planned to paint a 30ft octopus on a tandem. He said: “There is a quarter of a mile of canvas here and we want to let the graffiti transform it.
“The velodrome is such a beautiful shape – it’s a work of art in itself – and they don’t make them like that any more.
“There seems to be a genuine buzz. It’s a huge space, and we are just doing it – no funding.
“I’m painting an octopus on a tandem – it seemed the obvious thing for an octopus to drive.”
His studio at Edinburgh Palette in London Road overlooks the velodrome and he has invited other artists based there to chip in if they want.
He said: “It’s a-more-the-merrier situation and I think the more different handwriting and visual language the better.
“The aim is to create a lustrous urban sketchbook over the two days and for the rest of its days – overprinting will happen for the rest of the year, it’s in the nature of what they do.”
Rob Bloor, of Edinburgh Road Club, which has a lease on the velodrome, said: “We were quite happy to have something happening rather than it just being randomly tagged by various people.
“We have said they can use any of the external walls to create something with a cycling theme.
“Chris has sent me some sketches and it looks interesting. Anything will be an improvement on just blank walls.”
The painting will get under way at 10.30am tomorrow and the same time on Sunday.