Friday, 27 November 2015

Dublin Canvas

It's turning out to be the biggest public art project in the city, a simple idea to brighten up the streetscapes by giving artists those boring old grey traffic-light control boxes as a blank canvas.

The "Dublin Canvas" project is managed by Dave Murtagh for Dublin City Council. While backpacking around Australia a decade ago he was inspired by a similar scheme by street artists in Brisbane.

The Dublin project was in beta (testing) mode from mid 2012 to mid 2013, when 11 boxes were painted around the Four Courts. Then the full project was rolled out in stages.

Some of the control boxes around Smithfield/Stoneybatter

In each round Dublin Canvas seeks submissions from established and amateur artists. A judging panel from various departments in Dublin City Council sifts through them and selects the best, on the basis of:
"creativity and innovation of design, relevance of the image to the chosen area and participants' ability to work within the guidelines of the project".
They also go on to explain in the rules and regulations on their website:
"Selected artwork imagery will still be owned by the participants. However, you must agree to let Dublin Canvas use the artwork image in any way to promote the project and Dublin City which will include use on websites, social media and all related publications. It is intended that the artwork will stay for a minimum of 1 year. However Dublin Canvas reserves the right to remove any artwork at anytime (sic) without prior notice."
Who pays for it all? Either Dublin Canvas supplies all materials (paints, brushes etc) "plus a payment of €150 to cover travel expenses/food/caffeine for the day". Or option two: a one-off payment of €200 and participants supply their own materials.

So with this design-by-committee approach don't expect mini-murals contemplating the overthrow of the State, or remotely critical of the Corpo. Many of the pieces are feelgood, whimsical, abstract or surreal, and very brightly coloured.

From the Dublin Canvas website: six more examples of the artworks