Lewisham School of Muralism: Creating the Next-Generation Artists!
September 24th, 2020
Back in July, we highlighted how Brewers Decorator Centres were working with the newly-formed Lewisham School of Muralism by pledging support through supply of decorating materials for the school - view here.
This fantastic enterprise, also supported by Goldsmiths, University of London; the Mayor of London; and Lewisham Council, aims to give young artists and activists the skills to design, paint and maintain public murals and enrich their local community.
Supporting local communities has always been a priority for Brewers with community places and spaces being enhanced and enriched through various Brewers activities and campaigns. The collaboration with Artmongers for the Lewisham School of Muralism is a perfect fit to upskill the next generation of artists in the community.
The application call yielded some incredible applications and Patricio Forrester, the brainchild behind the Lewisham School of Muralism (LSOM), has now selected the first 12 students.
‘The School was set up with the intention of creating the next generation of muralist,’ said Patricio, ‘so it has been exciting to have significant interest from artists wanting to make change’.
Starting next month, the new students will embark on a ten-week course, learning how to design, paint, evaluate and preserve public murals through a mix of class-based workshops and practical sessions. There will then be two further ten-week courses over the next 18 months, all tutored by Patricio.
And these artists couldn’t wish for a better tutor. Patricio is an experienced muralist of nearly 20 years, co-heading Artmongers – a non-for-profit organisation which designs and installs community-enriching artwork across the globe. Set up in 2003, in their early years, Artmongers developed a series of landmark artworks in South East London, such as His ‘n’ Hers, Deptford Marbles, The Brockley Key and Cowbins.
Image courtesy of Artmongers
‘Cowbins began as almost guerrilla art,’ said Patricio, ‘We started painting bins to surprise people, but people liked them so much it got real attention.
Some people moved to the area because they saw the painted bins as a sign that the community was doing something different there.
The council eventually invited us to work with them on a design for recycling bins.’
His ‘n’ Hers was a similarly amusing project, created for the Deptford Art festival in 2002 and Artmongers’ first mural.
In this mural, the gable-end wall of a Victorian terrace with its two towering chimneys was painted with a ‘hers’ necklace and a ‘his’ necktie. ‘I like seeing this piece as the roles people play when in relationships,’ said Patricio.
‘I strongly believe murals should take into account their context, so I worked with the building, thinking about what to do with those chimneys.’
Image courtesy of Artmongers
This is an approach Artmongers took with Deptford Marbles, arguably the project for which they are best known, having garnered international attention after it was commissioned in 2007.
A series of monoliths, taking the walls buttresses into account, the mural is a fun, clever backdrop and succeeded in drawing more people to Deptford, after being featured in The New York Times.
Patricio Forrester in front of ‘The Hive’ music block at Beecroft Garden Primary School in Brockley, South London.
From Cow Bins, to His ‘n’ Hers and to Deptford Marbles, Artmongers’ aim is always the same – to engage the local community in art, to surprise people as they go about their daily lives, and to work with the landscape and buildings to layer the city with new coats of paint and meaning.
It’s these principles that Patricio hopes to share with the artists he tutors at the Lewisham School of Muralism – alongside harnessing their real passion to make change. The idea for the School came about, in fact, when a young artist approached him passionate to create a mural on knife crime. ‘It was a very organic response to this – about creating a support mechanism so that artists could work in an organised and legitimate manner,’ said Patricio.
And, as Patricio points out, after nearly 20 years creating art in the Lewisham area, it’s about passing on the skills to a generation who have grown up with Artmongers’ murals. ‘Many of the artists applying to the LSOM have grown up seeing our murals. I wanted to support the local community and teach young people a sustainable way of making art, so that they can develop their own voices and subjects going forward.’
‘Brewers have supported Artmongers for several years, either by supplying residual paint, discounted paints or by sponsorship, so I’m very pleased to have their support again’
‘Brewers have supported Artmongers for several years, either by supplying residual paint, discounted paints or by sponsorship,’ said Patricio, ‘so I’m very pleased to have their support again.’
Prior to the LSOM, Brewers have been proud to provide sponsorship for three of Artmongers’ murals – Round About Now, Music Rooms and Deptford Arena. Patricio uses the Peckham store for his supplies – mostly Albany’s water-based masonry paints for his murals, with colours mixed in store or on site. ‘I know the staff at Peckham store well, and I’ve always been very happy with Brewers’ products.’
Alongside Artmongers, Brewers is looking forward to welcoming the new artists in October, seeing their skills develop, and seeing what they create in summer 2021!
Artmongers Murals Across London
‘The School was set up with the intention of creating the next generation of muralist,’ said Patricio, ‘so it has been exciting to have significant interest from artists wanting to make change’