Over the weekend Louis Masai completed the first large-scale mural for the ‘Paint Your London’ Festival in Walthamstow, put on by Wood Street Walls. For this work Louis Masai has worked in association with the Body Shop as part of their ‘Enrich Not Exploit’ campaign setting in part to increase the Red Shanked Douc’s reproduction chances by building Bio-Bridges linking otherwise isolated rainforests. To this end Louis Masai has painted a beautiful depiction of a Red Shanked Douc from Vietnam, created with his trademark and distinct tagged underlay of ‘Masai’, before being overlayed with the finer delicate touches that bring his subjects to life, in this case with the Douc’s gaze firmly locked upon you as you look upon this wall.
This striking mural can be found in Lancaster Road, Walthamstow and was put up with support from Wood Street Walls and the Body Shop as part of the ‘Paint Your London’ event which is campaigning for more affordable workspace for artists in London, an erstwhile cause and one that in the process is really bringing some colour and life to this corner of London. On the matter Mark Clack at Wood Street Walls stated:
“We created Paint Your London with the support of both street artists in our local area & others like Ronzo to raise awareness of the lack of affordable studio space. By 2020, 30% of the current workspace will disappear. More needs to be done, and I hope our project in a very small way will inspire others groups to do the same. Our project is about creating affordable artist workspace which is sustainable when rates start to rise to protect the working environments of creatives that get pushed out, after they make an area desirable, and provides a service to the community by hosting free periodic workshops”.
“The perception is that street art can be seen to be connected to wave of gentrification in areas that have long gone under the radar. I think if people look harder, where others may use urban art as a purely commercial tool to generate revenue for large corporates to sell products, we are using it to promote how artists and creatives of all types can make an area unique, while having a clear model of susstainability and an ethical purpose. Our supporters of the event understand that works of art are not giant billboards.
The urban art we’re helping facilitate just won’t be able to continue without a base to host our community workshops and a home for artists in the area and who are being priced out of other boroughs. Otherwise we’re just promoting the negative aspects that gentrification brings & it will be like a giant vanity project for the few – benefiting from creative output, but not really help support it. We’d rather stop than become an entity like this.”
The event and painting which will continue over the next three weeks and we will be reporting on more from this event very soon.