Gentrification turf war …

I dropped into a friend’s fashion boutique yesterday for a chat and learnt that the whole side of his building had recently been graced with fashionably graphic street art mural. He recounted how the artist turned up and introduced himself, saying that the building’s landlord had given him permission over the phone to paint a mural covering the whole outside wall over four floors, shared by the ground floor shop and three floors of flats above. My friend called the landlord and was informed that the artist had been told to check with his shop tenants first and ask what they thought … so armed with this knowledge my friend proceeded to propose various suitable imagery options to the artist that could complement the female orientated merchandize stocked in his boutique … fashion accessories, lipstick, clothing etc. The following day a diesel powered scissor platform was delivered and positioned in front of the wall and the artist got to work preparing the wall surface and removing loose masonry, a fragment of which hit a passing young lady in the eye, causing her to stagger into the road and narrowly miss being hit by a car.

My friend returned to his shop a week later to discover that the mural incorporated none of his desired imagery and the artist had also painted over his boutique posters … he called the artist and asked why he’d completely ignored his requirements and also painted over his posters … the artist explained that he also needed to earn a living and that the mural was to advertise his own street-wear brand available on his website and he painted over the shop’s own independent brand fashion posters because they were rubbish … stunned by his dictatorial arrogance, my friend, who works hard to earn the money to pay for rent, insurance and business rates, decided he would paint over the ground floor section of the mural. The following day he got to work repainting his ground level wall and was later confronted by a street art tour guide and his £15 per head, camera wielding group, who united to hurl abuse at him for painting over the work … hardened by this reaction, he took the decision that the following week, he’d hire a scissor platform for himself, at a cost of £150 per day plus materials and repaint over the whole piece with fresh white paint.


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