The third edition of the Artist run initiative – Blackburn Open Walls held it’s biggest mural event to date in July with international artists from Germany, Spain and Portugal leaving their marks on the town, alongside local and nationally acclaimed artists from London, Cumbria and across the north west.
This year saw fourteen artists arrive in the Lancashire town to be a part of #makeblackburnbeautiful and these artists were warmly received with over 150 street art enthusiasts joining the organised walking tour around the streets of Blackburn on the opening day, guided by creator and curator of BOW, Hayley Welsh.
This year’s street artist lineup included some of the street art scenes biggest names alongside some local talent from the North West. From a personal stand point I love to see local artists afforded a chance to be a part of these kinds of projects and given the opportunity to paint on a larger scale than the local graffiti walls or regular commissioned works allow.
The 14 participating artists included Sheffield’s finest, Phlegm who painted one of his ubiquitous giant black and white creature weaving on the back of Liz n Lils tea house.
Portuguese artist Addfuel created one of his gorgeous tile (azulejo) pieces inspired by Blackburn’s blue and white and the Lancashire rose.
Case Maclaim painted a striking mural of a giant collector celebrating ‘finding’ on the back of the Blackburn museum.
Spanish/Galician artist Isaac Cordal has been leaving his small interventions around the globe for a number of years now and for BOW he hid 10 miniature ‘cement eclipses’ across the town for eagle eyed locals to find.
The piece that I saw the most whilst keeping an eye on the festival via social media was this beautiful giant duck on the bar Ibiza by Curtis Hylton. The piece inspired by the wildlife who call Blackburn home.
Andy Faraday created ‘unselfies’ of the people of Blackburn, taking photos of people using ‘Faraday’s Dark Truck’ – a giant mobile darkroom and camera on wheels. These photos are now on display as a piece of art next to king George’s Hall.
English based Malaysian artist Caryn Koh painted a glorious fine arts piece depicting a dress maker on the side of The Squires bar in the heart of Blackburn.
Tomorrow I’ll share part two of the festival round up with some more great shots of the event and some words from the curator – Hayley Welsh.