The tram buster: Artist’s robot wreaks havoc in Princes Street

Tram Buster by Raymond Campbell is expected to prove popular this Christmas
Tram Buster by Raymond Campbell is expected to prove popular this Christmas
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IS it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a giant robot marauding down Princes Street zapping trams with lasers from its eyes.

A gallery boss is tipping this incredible image of a rampaging robot to become a cult Christmas hit with people fed up with the tram works.

Tramworks on Princes Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Tramworks on Princes Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Gallery owner George Rendall, of Art et Facts Gallery, on Roseburn Terrace, predicts he’ll sell hundreds of the £85 A3 prints in the coming weeks as he’s already been snowed under with inquiries about the arresting image.

Five of the pictures, created by English painter Raymond Campbell and dubbed Tram Buster, were snapped up within hours of the print’s initial release yesterday.

Mr Rendall said: “I think it’s a very striking image and one that’s going to strike a chord with a lot of people fed up with the disruption we’ve had.”

Mr Campbell, 56, from Morden, Surrey, whose original paintings can command £30,000, said he first started painting robots earlier this year as an escape from the still life and landscape works for which he is better known.

He was inspired to set his scene of destruction in Edinburgh after learning of the city’s angst over the trams scheme.

He said: “I enjoy listening to political arguments and making a bit of fun of it really from the point of view of art.

“I enjoy mucking around with all the colours, whereas with still life it’s a bit more serious. You have to be realistic, but with robots it’s a form of release. You can just do what you want. I don’t do anything where anybody gets hurt. It’s just about destroying mechanical things.”

Mr Campbell has used quirky details from Edinburgh’s city centre to help set the scene. He said: “I deliberately did a Volkswagen going on the wrong side of the road, driving up Princes Street. Also there was a Picasso exhibition at the Royal Academy and I put my name there instead of Picasso.”

An image of a robot wrecking Edinburgh’s parliament buildings could be next if Tram Buster proves a success.

Mr Campbell – who is planning a spring exhibition in Edinburgh – said he hoped council chiefs view the painting with the amusement intended.

The image got an immediate thumbs-up from people fed up with the controversial transport build. Campaigner John Carson, who ran for the council on an anti-trams ticket, said: “This is great. I think anything related to the trams is topical. People might think it’s funny, but in reality the trams are no laughing matter.”