Street art festival brightens up hoardings

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TWENTY of the city’s best street artists have transformed a dreary hoarding in one of the busiest parts of Portsmouth.

The artists set up at 10am yesterday at the hoardings close to the roundabout at the junction of Isambard Brunel Road and Winston Churchill Avenue.

Artist Samo, real name Sam White.  ''Graffiti artists in Portsmouth have been invited to decorate a plain white wall in the centre of the city near the new Southsea Community Hub, Winston Churchill Avenue. The Portsmouth Street Art Festival will allow the artists to show their style and true creativity.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (132693-449)

Artist Samo, real name Sam White. ''Graffiti artists in Portsmouth have been invited to decorate a plain white wall in the centre of the city near the new Southsea Community Hub, Winston Churchill Avenue. The Portsmouth Street Art Festival will allow the artists to show their style and true creativity.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (132693-449)

Critically acclaimed street artist My Dog Sighs was invited by Portsmouth City Council to treat the hoardings as a huge canvas to bring it to life with unique artwork.

He was joined by artists such as Midge, freakSTATIC, Leila, Rusty Sheriff and Ooberla, near the new Southsea Community Hub at the Portsmouth Street Art Festival.

My Dog Sighs, whose work has been exhibited around the world, said: ‘I was approached by Portsmouth City Council and they asked me to come along and decorate 80 8ft by 4ft panels.

‘I know the Great South Run is coming down along here and they wanted something to brighten the city up and, as artists, we’re always looking for good spaces to paint.

‘There is a massive creative community and this is a really nice opportunity to pull them altogether.’

The artist spent the day creating a pair of huge eyes looking out onto the city.

He said: ‘I’m known for creating beautiful, melancholy eyes and my son has just started at the school opposite so I imagine them looking over at him.’

The mix of artists ranged from stencillists, painters, fine artists and graffiti artists.

One of them was Midge, who is new on the street art scene.

She said: ‘I absolutely loved it.

‘We had a really good laugh and got lots of good feedback.

‘People came up to us to talk about what we were doing and asked about our work. I’m still pretty new to street art but I’m really enjoying it.’

My Dog Sighs said he would love Portsmouth’s street art scene to be as big as Brighton or Bristol where people visit just to see the work.