Stobswell Shutter Arts

I’ve loved painting the shutter art designs on 3 businesses on Albert Street in Stobswell Dundee. All designs are inspired by highlighting the positives in the area.

It’s been a joyful experience with lots of banter from locals giving me positive encouragement ‘what you up to?’ and me replying I’m bringing a bit of colour and pattern to the area to brighten it up!

Here’s a flavour of what folk have said over the weeks I was painting: “You’re doing a braw job of this, it’s keeping you busy, it’s so cheerful “, “Amazing what a difference it makes”, “That’s smart”, “You must have good patience, it’s lovely!”, “Radical Colours”, “He’s fascinated with your swans”, “Are you painting the whole street?”, “I hope you’re getting paid for this, it’s lovely and making a real difference”, And to top it off ‘Eh Ken you’

Colour is really important to me and I believe it can change how a place feels, which in turn can change how people feel. I want the people of Stobswell to feel positive and uplifted. For these designs I used the same vibrant colour palette from the Pocket Parks I designed in 2021 on Craigie St and Eliza Street.

The Albert Bar

The Albert Bar design is filled with colourful patterns, shapes and colours taken from the local area, such as the row of 7 arches inspired by the arches of the windows of the Baxter Park Pavilion, zig zags from the public art sculpture on Princess Street and geometrics from the brickwork gable end on Craigie Street.

Initially I was only to be painting one shutter but I extended the design onto 2 other shutters to look like the squares were falling off like an old school video game and bouncing in the shape of a zig zag to echo the detail. I think having all 3 together gives a stronger impact and the zig zag directs your eye to the main shutter.  Great to hear The Albert Bar or should I say L’lbert is planning on upgrading their frontage and fixing their sign now that they have shutter art!

The Property Shop

The Property Shop design is inspired by the Swannie Ponds featuring rows of swans, leaves and rippling water to create stripes of colourful patterns. This design idea developed further as I was painting as I wanted it to be more engaging to the children that walked and wheeled past as the bottom section is at a good eye level for them. I added 2 larger scale swans and some boats to give a nod to the Dundee Model Boat Club. It was nice to hear “He’s fascinated with your swans” as a lady and wee boy passed daily.

I’ll be popping back to paint the door

Lucky House

The Lucky House bold circular design is full of decorative details on the inside and outside and I think the clashing red and pink just sing together.  I was keen to include red as it represents happiness, beauty, success, and good fortune in China.

Can you spot where the patterns come from?

Ornamental details from the Baxter Park railings and the ironwork on the rooftop of Morgan Academy, zig zags from the public art sculpture. Some of these elements are also seen in my colourful crossing on Eliza Street. (you can read more about it here)

While painting the Lucky House shutter a local said ‘That’s not an oriental design’ and I explained the meaning of the patterns which started the conversation and hearing the history about how the Morgan Academy railings were removed in the 2nd world war to be used for bullets. You learn something new everyday!

I wanted each design to look unique but also to work as a series. I think they make a stronger impact being positioned quite close together, just imagine if they went all the way up Albert Street!

This commission was part of an open call from Sustran Scotland who are encouraging walking and wheeling in the area. We approached business owners with possible designs to find out if they were interested. I created sketches and shared for feedback, then agreed suitable times I could paint that didn’t interfere with their opening hours. I got all layered up in my painting clothes. The designs were painted by hand and I used some stencils and I created the circle shape using the lofi method of a bit of string and chalk. Thanks to all the help from Stobswell Forum and Dundee City Council Community Officer to encourage businesses to take part.

We had a Celebration Day to showcase the shutter art where myself and artist Gordy Crawford did tours talking about our inspiration and process. This event was in partnership with the Stobswell Form, Sustrans Scotland, Dundee City Council, where fun chalk activities were happening on Craigie Street and info about the future regeneration plans.

I really hope that the shutters bring joy to the people of the area who use it. Let me know what you think or how they make you feel!

`You can find out more about my projects here

This project was funded by Sustrans Scotland, Pocket Places programme where local communities shape their neighbourhood and take a lead in making their local area a better place to walk, wheel, cycle – and live.

Art Shows the Way

ART Shows The Way!

New dementia-friendly art and design projects at three Perthshire sheltered housing units have been created to help residents find their way around the complexes while adding new positive character.

Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) in partnership with Perth & Kinross Council has commissioned these creative art and design solutions at the Carpenter Court and Strathmore Street sheltered housing units in Perth and at James Court in Pitlochry

Developed using dementia-friendly principles, the artworks and enhanced design will help make navigation around the buildings easier for the tenants.  

THAT commissioned designer Louise Kirby to hold consultation workshops with staff and tenants looking at themes and colours that residents responded well too. Louise then devised different plans, each appropriate to the individual sites. The concept was to use imagery that was based around the changing seasons and nature, and reflected the established colour coding system for each floor of the Carpenter Court and Strathmore Street. Within the third unit at James Court Pitlochry these designs reflected tenants’ and staffs’ love of the local animals and landscape and provided positive images that brighten up the corridor.

Louise said: “I loved the challenge of using my design skills to improve how tenants find their way around and across these sheltered housing units. The buildings are very different in size and layout and so required different solutions, but the principle is the same. The design elements link and flow with the established colour coding to provide positive visual markers for people. This has been a great opportunity to see how my design can help people living in these complexes.”

Perth & Kinross Council’s Housing and Communities Convener, Councillor Bob Brawn, added: “These   are lovely images and we have been getting a lot of positive comments about them from both tenants and visitors, who are really enjoying the colour they’ve brought to the complexes. They are a great addition to all the units and our tenants and staff are really pleased with the outcome.”

THAT promotes the therapeutic value of the arts based programmes to enhance environments, quality of life, and promote social inclusion by empowering individuals to make an important contribution to their health and wellbeing.

For more information about the THAT project, please contact Karine Neill Development Officer THAT on 01382 835509 or if you would like to chat to Louise Kirby about enhancing your space contact hello@louisekirby.com