FIRST MURAL IN THE CAPITAL ✅
Ticked off the first UK capital, London, from my list of murals to create around the world. It was definitely a task but nothing could stop me. Not even a nearly 7m wide and 3m tall wall or Acrophobia (the fear of heights). At the beginning of October 2022, I received a phone call to create a mural for one of the newly opening Triple Two Coffee Shop in Camden Town, right next to the entrance of Camden Market. And oh girl, this is how it went:
SZAFONI MURALS HISTORY
In past, I already worked on few murals in my hometown, like Public Library "Filia" or Private Language School, and few non-public commissions. So when I first moved to London, I knew I had to put it on my to do list. However looking for opportunities to land my paintings on walls of London, knowing that I don't fit in graffiti genre and all my murals are hand painted with acrylics and then varnish for protection, I wasn't sure if this would be possible, so I waited... I waited nearly 4 years and that I received
ONE PHONE CALL.
Around summer time 2022, I started running Painting Classes in the Triple Two Coffee Shop, as they gain quite attention and soon later everyone in the residence was talking about it and of course the coffee shop. We had a visit from the owner of the franchise, who was intrigued what was going on and I got to talk about this event and own art with him that day.
A week pass and then... I received a phone call. It was the owner who had proposition, if I would like to be a part of opening the new shop in Camden and paint mural on 7x3m wall. Yes, I was thrilled and agreed right away.
First one was about coffee shop history which is connected to steam train and logo, second was more with my specialisation of portrait painting, and it was the second choice the company went for: Coffee with the Great Brits!
Camden Town is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood located in the borough of Camden in north London. It is known for its bustling markets, live music venues, street art and alternative culture. One of the main attractions is the Camden Market, which opposite the main entrance will be located our new coffee shop! Beside music and market, Camden is home to a vibrant street art scene with many colourful murals and graffiti pieces adorning the walls and building of the neighborhood. Overall, Camden Town is a unique and exciting destinations that offers a glimpse into the alternative and creative side of London.
When I finally received picture of the wall, the research began and few great ideas were born.
However I needed to take into consideration few aspects. Yes, wall is big but space itself not so much due to the furnisher and bar area, plus stair case, and its underground.
Having all that in mind, I remember one of the most iconic street art in Penang, Malaysia. The murals in Penang depict cultural traditions, historical events and local scenes designed to highlight the unique character and heritage of the city. And it was what we aimed for to embrace Camden and London but also make it interactive, allowing Triple Two customers to pose and take pictures with the art while sipping one of the best coffee in town.
However before I could start, I had to fix the wooden board, clean & prepare painting space, and go shopping! I had to cover the mural and big tube of wall primer was needed as well a painting roll, large heavy duty sheets and extra lamp as the light inside was not the best to paint around. Same day I proceed to fill in holes, tested and then primed the wall. As the wall was drying I spend few hours resuming the project steps, the time management was very important, as I had only one week to finished this mural.
In the end decided to use projector to be most efficient and speed up applying of sketch. Which in the end took only 3h instead of whole day or two.
Holding hand up in air nearly 4 to 8 hours requires a lot of strength, and by mid of 3rd day god was testing me. I got extreme period pains (every month) I knew had to postpone painting, took lots of painkillers and head home immediately. There was big disappointment knowing I didn't get to paint even half of what I planned.
After calming the storm, decided to stay overnight next day. Stocked up on tea and blanket, I went back to the shop and made quite a progress. Later in the evening my friend, Amanda, jump to help me as well, and we paint the night away nearly until 4 am !
& LIVE PAINTING
On day 4 rushed with finishing but I knew I won't managed so decision was made to actually do live painting session on the opening day. Which in the end turned to be delightful idea as the visitors and customers where taking pictures, leaving encouraging comments and with some I made friends.
I wasn't allowed to stay overnight and it was time to celebrate my 30th birthday, and more than a decade of being an artist!
Surrounded by precious people I recharged my batteries and had a blast of a night.
I'm very thankful for this opportunity to the Triple Two and the owners of Camden site.
Hope that all visitors will enjoy it and take plenty of beautiful pictures, waiting for all the tags and reviews!
Onto the next one,