On the 3rd of September 2023, I attended Southend City Jam, arguably the largest street art event in the UK for that year. With over a hundred artists coming together to paint the town, I knew I was in for something special. This blog post details my journey from the early preparations to the final strokes of my spray can on a large wall, surrounded by fellow artists, photographers, and art enthusiasts.
Preparation and Inspiration
To make the most of this incredible opportunity, I arrived in Southend a few days ahead of the event. I was assigned a massive wall and given an electric lift, which would be my work horse over the following days. I decided to create a stunning piece of street art that combined elements of science fiction and nature with my signature colour tones.
My Artistic Vision
The focal point of my mural was a captivating spacewoman, adorned in a futuristic helmet. I chose a palette of turquoise blues and greens, complemented by subtle shades of pink, reds, and orange tones, to create a striking contrast. However, the wall had some unique features, including a large air conditioning unit on the right side and a slight step in the middle. Rather than seeing these as obstacles, I saw them as opportunities for creativity.
Incorporating Challenges into the Art
I decided to integrate the air conditioning unit into the artwork, transforming it into a futuristic backpack air filtration system for the spacewoman. This added an element of functionality and made the mural more engaging. Additionally, I included intricately painted pitcher plants, that intertwined with her arms and helmet, giving the piece an organic touch within a sci-fi setting. The air conditioning unit also provided the perfect perch for a magpie bird, and I was able to capture its reflection in the visor of the spacewoman's helmet.
Adding the Finishing Touches
To bring the mural to life, I adorned it with sparkling jewels, gems, diamonds, and badges that dangled from the pitcher plants, vines, and leaves. These details added a bit of an ethereal touch that chimed with the whole mysterious universe vibe i was aiming for. And of course, the flying saucer UFO made a slight appearance in the top left corner.
I decided to name the piece 'One for sorrow, two for joy' which is an old English saying we say when we see Magpie birds. i thought it quite fitting as although there's only one magpie bird, another can be seen in the reflection.
The Artist Community
Southend City Jam was more than just an art event; it was a celebration of creativity and a chance to connect with fellow artists, it was a gathering of some of the UK's top graffiti and street artists. During the event, I had the pleasure of working alongside talented individuals such as Tech Moon from the UK, and Jeks from North Carolina.
A Well-Managed Event
Southend City Jam 2023 was a brilliantly managed event that allowed artists to showcase their talents to a broad audience. The organisation and logistics were flawless, and I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people who equally enjoyed the weekend
My experience at Southend City Jam 2023 was inspiring, and raised the bar of what a UK street art event should be. The Southend community embraced the vibrant street art culture with open arms, and I left with a sense of fulfillment and excitement for events coming in 2024. I'm eagerly looking forward to returning to Southend for future events, as the city has become a canvas for artists like me to express our imaginations and captivate locals with our art.