A Scottish mural artist has brought primary schoolchildrens’ ideas to life in a stunning large-scale street art project.
Working with four Renfrew primary schools, artist Bmore Sketchy has completely transformed a rundown underpass into a gallery to behold – with ideas ranging from mental health to commemorating NHS heroes.
The idea was simple: children from from Arkleston, Kirkland, Newmains and St James primary schools participated in workshops run by the YMCA, and each one given a wall where the street artist would bring their ideas to life.
With each wall unique in its own way, they all have a theme behind it supplied by the children’s creative freedom. They include Mental Health and online bullying, Renfrewshire Events, Renfrew Architecture, and a lockdown and NHS wall.
Bmore Sketchy, whose real name is Steven Blackmore, began creating the first wall and brought some of his own designs from mental health awareness clothing brand ‘Unsubtle Skulls’, mixing it with the childrens’ ideas.
Steven said that the project gave him a new challenge and it was fun getting to do a diverse range of ideas and styles which came from the kids’ ‘whacky’ imagination.
He said: “This project was so cool because I got to do each wall in a different style based on different themes.
“During the workshops it was brilliant to get an insight into the kids’ minds. They have the craziest ideas, and they were coming up with some really whacky stuff.
“The mental health theme by St James primary definitely meant something for me, because I suffer from social anxiety myself. That’s why I thought designs from unsubtle skills would fit well, after showing the kids during the workshops.
“With certain walls I decided to run with as much of the kids’ imagination as I could. So instead of running with one theme in particular, I tried to take the ideas the kids came up with, created a story out of the things they wanted in it.“
Renfrew Councillor and Chairman of Renfrew Local Partnership John Shaw managed to kickstart the project after reports of anti-social behaviour in the underpass.
He decided something had to be done to help revamp the run-down area and said the collaboration between all parties involved is behind the successful project.
He said: “I was delighted to be able to propose and secure funding for this project through Renfrew Local Partnership after receiving many complaints about the anti-social behaviour taking place in what could be a dark and dingy underpass.
“With the Council installing lighting, the YMCA running workshops with each of the town’s Primary Schools and Steven from Bmore Sketchy showcasing his awesome talents in bringing the ideas of our young people to life the underpass has been completely transformed”
Now that the project is complete, Steven is looking for his next artistic challenge and his eyes are set on something impressive.
He added: “I would love to do a big gable end in Glasgow. I know that will take a lot of planning and a lot of time to complete, but I’d like to get a big project like that under my belt.
“This project was a cool experience and pushed me out of my comfort zone, so I’m very happy I did it, and will continue to do local projects of this scale.”
Here is what the finished project looks like.
Wall one, in collaboration with St James Primary, and Unsubtle Skulls.
A mental health awareness theme chosen by the children of St James primary school shows a young boy on his phone crying, whilst the ‘internet troll’ looks over his children.
In unmissable writing the message in this is ‘Just Talk’.
This design’s purpose is to create is a visual metaphor for certain mental health conditions and to use imagery to promote mental health and remove the stigma.
Wall two, in collaboration with Arkleston Primary
The mural design for this wall is used to represent the impressive architecture in and around Renfrew where all the kids are growing up.
It shows designs of Renfrew’s well-known buildings such as the Town Hall, and Renfrew swimming baths.
Wall three, in collaboration with Primary Newmains Primary School.
A design celebrating Renfrew events.
Renfrew is well-known for its fireworks display each year as this mural shows a young girl with a sparkler gazing at the colourful explosions in the sky.
Wall four, in collaboration with Kirkland Primary School
This wall allowed to Bmore Sketchy to ‘go wild’ with the kids’ imagination.
The house in the mural represents lockdown, the pig breaking out of on a plane is the visual metaphor for ‘coming out of lockdown when pigs fly’, and the rainbow smoke coming out the back of the plane is to represent the NHS and key workers being the driving force behind it all.