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Hotwells Voices

I had the pleasure of working alongside Anna Haydock-Wilson over the weekend, to regenerate a wall which had been badly tagged on the Cumberland Basin. Sadly, the taggers had destroyed the popular "Help the Bristol Homeless" mural, by Luke Palmer and Graham Paris, which was not only stunning, but raised awareness in a very visible location of the plight of a growing street population.

Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association agreed to support artists activities led by Anna & I as a community engagement exercise around how local people feel about their area. There had recently been a spate of penises tagged across the site and words such as 'hate' daubed on my Heron Mural. Since H&CCA first started introducing artists' painting on the walls and pillars in 2015, tagging has been much reduced.

The wider world and politics seems to be full of negative words and phrases and with the damage done to the 'Help Bristol's Homeless' mural and tagging around the site, Anna & I decided to keep it simple and use stencils and Posca pens, asking the community for positive words, applied to create a balance of colour across the wall. We provided stencils for younger participants to add to the mural, letting them decide what they wanted to stencil and where, guiding their decisions with creative suggestions, support and Influences.

This giant scrabble board idea worked successfully to engage the community, capturing positive affirmations about Hotwells, by those who live and frequent the area. The response was overwhelming, with lots of people stopping to chat and approximately 60 words offered up for inclusion in the artwork. This is a piece which truly reflects the community.

People love how mixed the area is - with local heritage (Brunel's Other Bridge was celebrating 170 years of history over the weekend), creativity, community and landmarks all making their presence felt in word form. Hotwells has a fascinating sense of place and identity. This mural was great fun to create with the community that surrounds it.

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