Oct 292011

Competition details below…

Guinness World Record attempt

The world record attempt that I painted a few years back is not being considered by Guinness World Records.

The proprietor of the Hole in the Wall, who commissioned the piece, have failed to recognise all the work I did to raise awareness of the building, the painting, or their fabric shop. The BBC Midlands evening news featured on the painting’s completion in September 2007 live as they broadcast the weather from there too, as had been previously arranged, in order to celebrate the world record attempt. The coverage lasted around 4 minutes, worth quite a sum of money in terms of exposure (almost half of the west midlands) to the viewers at home watching the news while eating their dinners. Aside of that coverage, there was a phenomenal double page piece in the Midlands broadsheet, The Birmingham Post.

I fell off the scaffolding during painting the piece, scaffolding that wasn’t even reaching the top of the wall. I needed another step ladder on the top level of scaffolding to reach the top. On the first storey of scaffolding ‘flats’ they supplied only palettes instead of the usual planks.

New platform

When I began to paint the section on the right, the huge pile of bricks on the ‘floor’ prevented me from ascending the wall safely to reach the top of that section. Very unsafe indeed. Nobody was prepared to ready that area safe for my work to continue, but I had to finish the piece. Scaffolding was insecure and in general there was no safe access to all of the walls.

The reason that the Hole’s management gave for non-payment (the final payment was short by more than £1000) was that the painting took too long… In all I spent 42 days against the breezeblock and mortar, sometimes through to midnight.

Good as new

View on Google or click and drag/zoom around the Google Street View scene above

It is still there, brightening the landscape in its full intensity, advertising the shop. The site was previously where two buildings belonging to the shop once stood, they burnt down in a massive blaze which kept the fire brigade busy for around two weeks. A very sad moment for Walsall. This event inspired the mural concept. I would create a portal where all the destroyed buildings in the town would rebuild themselves; the power station cooling towers, The Woolpack Inn, old Walsall train station, The Dolphin, Ratners jewellers, Fellows Park, Shannons Mill and the WS2 skatepark to name but a few. I studied the extensive local history archives for any reference to the once great buildings of the town of Walsall, there was no shortage!

The odd shape of the wall also proved to be quite difficult to paint. The illusion that the wall is flat was hard to construct when there’s four floors of scaffolding in front of it. There was extensive planning for the wall, after my first site visit.

Originally I painted during the Summer of 2007, over the space of 5 months, for 42 days, starting during Mayday bank holiday weekend and finishing mid September. I used over 700 litres of paint

Finished painting in huge detail

As i type, the finished photograph has now been viewed 6,010 times on Flickr:

360° panorama

You can drag the view around by clicking and dragging the left mouse button, the gyroscope allows you to tilt the view around you on a mobile such as iPhone.

View the 360° Panorama FULL SCREEN

Mobile – zoom in & out by pinching, choose whether you want the gyroscope switched on or off by clicking the icon (only necessary for portables)

Computer – zoom with CTRL/SHIFT or mouse-wheel

When I returned to Walsall recently I had to take a 360 degree photograph of the inside of the compound. Its a very difficult place to take photos of the whole piece. The wooden partition separating the footpath from the compound was decorated with the shop’s website address (it had been retouched) and the holes I designed within the address were still there too, albeit not synchronised with the lettering of the gigantic website.


As a supporting activity, I was not only going to print commemorative tea towels (the Hole in the Wall is a fabric outlet) but I was also going to run a competition. And here it is…

Simply tell me how many holes can be counted in the painting.

There is a distinct advantage for anybody going to view the site for real, although viewing the XXL image on Flickr would help anybody that is incapable/intolerant/internet only. Enter the competition by sending me your guess on the contact page with the number of holes in the message. You must have a working email address and also be able to provide a valid land address so I can post the prize to you.

The winner (denoted by being the first or closest to the actual number of holes) will be notified in time to receive their prize before Christmas this year. Unfortunately this competition is only open to entrants who provide a UK mainland address ONLY. The prize is a beautiful print proof of Sodtherich, limited to an edition of only 10. Competition entries will cease to be valid after 00:01 December 2nd (12 years, 6 months, 17 days ago).

Adequate recompense?

I am a great believer in supporting the roles of both artists and businesses in the local community, long may it last but what happens when the business doesn’t fulfil it’s obligations?

If you would like to know what happened to the money, please contact them via their website, or leave a comment below, thanks

I officially finished the mural 16 years, 9 months, 6 days ago

Wonderful quote from passer-by

I don’t know why they let them paint on top of the old buildings, I wish they’d leave them alone.

(mistaking the painted brickwork and windows as a real structure)