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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Sam Manley Sprays Cheltenham ...

 
 

The Cheltenham Graffiti Festival was something brand new, a push organised and run by artist Andy 'Dice' Davies with the aim of getting quality street art into Cheltenham, and he managed to do a phenomenal job. I signed up a few months ago, as I'd really wanted to get back into stencil work and paint jams but hadn't been able to for a couple of years. I was a bit nervous, but I did my usual preparations of colour sketches, test sprays to make sure the stencils lined up correctly, and making sure I had enough paint (I always overdo it with cans, but it'd be quite embarassing to not be able to finish a design due to running out... and you can never be quite sure how absorbent a new surface might be).

My piece was of the ancient Egyptian god Anubis - at school, in year 3, the class had a term-long project on the ancient Egyptians, and the mythology and art stuck in my head. This seemed a good time to do something with it, with a character that I found particularly striking.

Anyway, I headed out to my spot, a bridge on the Honeybourne Line, where I'd been given a space next to artists StencilShed and IWalkADifferentPath (many stencil artists prefer to be known by names they've chosen). I got a fair way into the work - masking off a space, getting the black and red layers down (pic1), and then getting the scale arms and the corner decorations down (pic2, and those circles are the magnets I used to hold the stencil down on the metal surface) before the rain began. Oh my days, did the rain begin...

The three of us headed for cover, the best we could find being a bit of overhanging foliage, and waited it out. When the downpour ended, it was time to carry on. I was pretty impressed with the Kobra paint I was using - it dries almost instantly, even in a somewhat moist atmosphere; my previously-used Montana Gold paint had never fared so well in the damp air.

I was able to start the final layers (pic3), but then the heavens opened again, this time so badly I feared that my stencils (cut on 300lb paper) might get ruined - I had tried to cover them in plastic, but it was an impromptu and imperfect solution. Passing joggers and walkers huddled with us under the sparse shelter, as they didn't even want to brave the short journey back home.

It drizzled on and off for the rest of the day, so I had to just keep on running out and doing what I could (part of it done with a sheet of taped-together bags I draped over the surface and myself so I could carry on in a light shower). It got done, though!

And in case you're wondering, that's Captain Viridian from the game VVVVVV, hanging upside down. He's there purely to stop the main Anubis piece from being such a po-faced picture.

Sam Manley

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