French street artists leave their mark on Portsmouth

UNION JACK Or�, right, and his mural at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard ''               Picture: Jason Kay
UNION JACK Or�, right, and his mural at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard '' Picture: Jason Kay

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Two internationally acclaimed French artists have created artwork inspired by locations around Portsmouth.

Renowned street artists and painters Oré and Artiste-Ouvrier have exhibited work, created new artworks and worked with young people from Pompey in the Community as part of an artist residency organised by the Kings Theatre Portsmouth’s community engagement team.

This seemed especially apt as the Warrior was the pride of the Royal Navy, so painting the Union Jack just made sense to me

Oré

Oré spent time painting on the containers opposite the HMS Warrior in the Historic Dockyard and decided to paint a huge Union Jack in the background of the mural.

He said: ‘Graphically, I love the Union Jack and it doesn’t have the nationalistic impression that some other flags have – it is about ‘union’.

‘This seemed especially apt as the Warrior was the pride of the Royal Navy, so painting the Union Jack just made sense to me.

‘After painting the background I incorporated my symbol, which is a huge Mexican feather snake called Quetzalcóatl.

‘I ended the mural with the words from William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence. The Union Jack, the snake, and the Blake quote all built together into this completed mural.’

Artiste-Ouvrier used his distinctive two-layer stencilling art on the exterior of the Wedgewood Rooms on Albert Road, Southsea.

He said: ‘Each stencil takes about 100 hours to design and cut and I brought a whole range with me.

‘As this year is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, I used my designs based on Christopher Walker’s Walkerloo toy soldiers.

‘I also used stencils inspired by my love of British Victorian painters and illustrators such as Reginald Knowles, Edward Burne-Jones and John William Waterhouse.’

Oré also spent a day holding workshops with 10 young people from Pompey in the Community, where they created a mural in a corridor in Fratton Park incorporating words ‘Play up Pompey’, the club’s logo and a picture of the grounds.