Its been a long time since I put in more than 15 hours in one sitting, and this painting has come close to setting a personal best for a painting session. I arrived on site at 1am on Tuesday morning, and by 5:30pm the last few strokes were being placed on the wall.
The wall is made of wooden panels, raised off the ground (looks like they are hiding an architectural faux-pas), so they’re actually over 2 metres, more like 2.5. The approach to any walls painted down there is ‘kiss it goodbye’ as soon as you’ve stepped away. The spot weren’t bad for an open-air skatepark under daily scrutiny of thousands of tourists and day-outings…
The first thing was to attach the competition prizes. There were 3 clusters of three panels each, in various areas of the painting. The edges of the panels were taped over to give less transition to the profile. Next up was to cover the blue matte for the moonlit scheme, working to the boundary of the wider viewing angle. These walls are used to seeing large letters, big words and basic backgrounds. To my surprise, the ceiling was made of timber, the floor was fine, both sheened by years of jet-washing and city mang.
As day broke over the thames, the team from the promotions company came along to refresh, replenish, refill and recover me from some of the early morning stretch. Later on, their photographer showed (with a fancy fisheye lens). I got a chance to meet one of my heroes, Dave Gibbons who drew the Watchmen. His artwork was one of the largest influences on my career in the early eighties, and remains so to this day. He drew the Rogue Trooper for 2000AD and in discussion, he revealed to me that he was a chartered surveyor, with an engineering background and that building construction was an aid to his vision. He was impressed at the scale and energy of something that seemingly flew out of my hands. Had the great pleasure of meeting his son too, ‘Watchboy’ aka Dan, really nice blokes and possibly the greatest highlight for the end of a mammoth painting sesh.
Thanks to Samir for his photos: