Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mural partially restored – and original Love Over Gold graffiti artists 'fess up

Our neighbour John alerted us on the weekend to the fact that work has finally taken place on the partial restoration of the Love Over Gold mural.

When Cockpit Arts replaced the doors in the middle of the mural, this blog campaigned for the central part of the mural to be reinstated. Money was subsequently found by Lewisham Arts Service and Cockpit Arts to pay for the mural's original artist Gary Drostle to do the work required (see our post from January). Due to other commitments and some terrible weather, it has taken Gary a while to get around to it, but now the mural's centrepiece is back – the evil Countess has returned to remind us how the gulf between rich and poor has only increased since the time Love Over Gold was first painted in 1989.

The London Mural Preservation Society took an interest in the renovation of the mural (see their page on it here), and in late summer they forwarded us an interesting email they had received from an ex-Crossfields resident, who owns up to writing the original words 'Love Over Gold' on a brick wall which went on to inspire Dire Straits and then Gary's mural:
One night in '75 (I think) four naughty art students from Goldsmiths College went out with a pot of white emulsion to paint graffiti. I was one of them. Three of us lived in Wilshaw House on Crossfields Estate, near the site of the graffiti/then mural. We can't remember which of us was responsible for Love Over Gold (but it was definitely one of us, I remember the night well!). We didn't tell anyone it was us, but have always been proud of it.

If anyone has a photo of the original graffiti, we would love to have it.
So would Crosswhatfields – so if any readers have a photo of the original graffiti, please let us (or the London Mural Preservation Society) know! Also write to us if you think you know the name of the ex-Wilshaw House resident(s) which for now we're keeping a secret. There may be a prize....

Meanwhile, last week, Gary also touched up the reds in the picture, brightening it considerably, and did his best to get rid of the damaging tagging that appeared earlier this year. Our neighbour John is very happy about the reinstatement of the mural's centrepiece, but is worried that the tagger who sprayed in white all over the mural will return to vandalise it again. He's insisted we publish his description of this pesky individual...(imagine Ray Winston doing the voiceover)...

White. Short to medium height. Very weedy. Furtive/nervous movements. Spotty or red complexion but face mostly obscured by light grey hoodie...It looks like he lives in the hoodie i.e. stained and bedraggled. Aged somewhere in his twenties. 'A really skint looking no-hoper' is my summing up of this cretin.

(Not a Goldsmiths student, then...)

A complete renovation still awaits the funding initiative promised by Lewisham Arts Service back in January (in which they would put together a funding package that could be used by us locals to approach potential funders) and, of course, it also requires concerted effort and support from local people. Anyone fancy taking this on?

1 comment:

  1. Was one of them Pete Flack ? I don't think he was an art student but he was responsible for most of the good/witty graffiti locally in the 70s/80s, including a complete verse of P.B. Shelly which I photographed. It was overpainted very quickly but you can borrow the photo for publication if you want to. JP