The prolific artists have transformed the façade of a community day centre in East London with an eye-catching geometric design.
STATIC are amongst the most prolific street artists around and as testament to their enormous work ethic their largest ever mural to date has just been unveiled at 247 Markhouse Road in Walthamstow, a day centre for adults with disabilities and special educational needs (SEN).
Prior to the opening and building naming ceremony, which took place on Tuesday 11th July and was officiated by the borough mayor of Waltham Forest, we caught up with the artists Tom and Craig of STATIC to find out a bit more about the enormous undertaking.
How long did Markhouse Road take you guys to paint?
Tom: It took five weeks from start to finish, that was mostly because the buildings outer is corrugated metal and we had to scrape all the existing paint off. The prep time was probably about two-thirds of the actual job.
Is this the largest thing you’ve ever painted?
Craig: Yeah. It started off with us supposed to just paint the front side of the building, which is what we had designed and prepared everything for. Then we offered to do the school side and we were then asked to do the reception and drop off areas in the car park as well, so we ended up doing all the visible sides.
Did you just use your preferred media of spray paint or other methods as well?
T: It was just spray paint; we went through about 400 cans in total. Because the building is corrugated and metal, spray paint was the best paint for it as you could get round the angles rather than just using a roller. Also with the conditions varying from rain and high winds, to sleet and then blazing sunshine it meant spray paint did the best job.
What’s the reaction been like from those who work at the centre, visitors and local residents?
C: We’ve spoken to quite a few members of staff and people who are using the building and they’ve been really positive about it. They’ve said how nice it was to see the gradual transformation while we’ve been working on it. You can see the good reaction from people coming to work and how much the building has drastically changed. It gives the staff a sense of pride in the building as well. T: Before we started we did a consultation where we sat outside the building over a weekend and asked people what they thought the building was used for and what sort of design they’d like to see there. The majority of people didn’t know what the building was for and had previously ignored it. Painting it how we have is going to get people talking and wanting to find out more about it and changing their perspective.
Were there any challenges in the project?
T: Due to the conditions and requirements of some of the visitors to the centre we had to be quite careful regarding what we could and couldn’t do design wise. With it being corrugated it made it tricky to do certain things. We also had to avoid using certain bright colours as some autistic people can have a negative reaction, so we stuck to more pastel shades and kept the design quite simple so it flows nicely.
With community-based projects like this and your ongoing work with Wood Street Walls, it seems like STATIC are really driven to improving the aesthetics of Waltham Forest Borough...
C: If you go down Wood Street now you can see a mural at virtually every point, which is quite rare especially in this part of London. Everyone’s got their own favourite, it’s something that is continually rewarding to be a part of. We’re always looking for similar projects to the Markhouse Road mural and for artists who want to be involved in Wood Street Walls.