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.

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.

Explore. Play. Create.

DCA Windows Inspiration and Process

I was delighted to be commissioned by the DCA to create an exciting, vibrant window design that celebrates all the activity, energy and sense of community found across all the programme areas of DCA.  Bringing the inside activity and energy to the outside of the building in the window areas.

The process involved research, development, prototyping and good communication with the DCA team and fabricator to creating the final designs on display.

Research

I got a feel for the building by visiting all the different departments, taking lots of photos that I could refer to in the studio.

I found lots of geometric shapes within the building from the angular windows, step shaped walls, winged gallery roof plus so many circles, from the vintage projectors, printing press wheels, pegboard, retail display units, circular fairy lights fittings in Jute Café Bar to products in the shop.

I am naturally drawn to seeing pattern and texture and loved the overlaid wire racks in the print studio that created modern checks and the negative space of the screen-printing racks full of irregular stripes.

I found colour references from the bright cinema seats, pots of ink in the print studio, participant artwork on display in the creative learning store, bright colours of the Riso print samples to the more subtle cladding of the building. 

Development

To process ideas, I created sketches in pencil and ink then found visual connections.  I created rough thumbnail sketches of designs in situ and mocked them up digitally to test various colour combinations and played with different juxtaposition of textures within shapes.  I played with rotation and scale of the spots to capture the energy from the activity from inside of the building.  I referred to the brief, discussed technical details with the local fabricator RobertSign and worked within design constraints so that the design would work practically.  I selected and rejected elements to create coherent concepts for presenting to the DCA team.

The final designs are inspired from the bold geometric shapes with a playful feel using my signature style that retain the hand drawn feel of my linework and confidently uses a vibrant colour palette with clashing and contrasting of patterns bringing together all the activity of the building. I wanted the circles in the top windows to have a lot of movement the capture the energy of the building and connect to the shop windows below. 

With my design work I like to capture a sense of place by creating bespoke designs that are meaningful and unique to the space and I hope these designs help people to connect to the DCA and remind past visitors to come inside and entice new visitors to see the variety of things it has to offer, from a trip to the cinema to taking part in a workshop to grabbing a bite to eat with friends or seeing the latest contemporary art exhibition.

You can find out more about my work here

Colours and pattens inspired by the River Tay for Artist Support Pledge.

During lockdown the simple things in life became even more important to me, from watching the waves in the River Tay to spending time painting for fun on the kitchen table.  During this time I created a series of watercolour collages playing with rhythms of stripes with the juxtaposition of colour and pattern inspired by my local surroundings of the River Tay. It’s great what’s on our doorstep here in Dundee.

Prices range from £15 – £25 each, if you would like one for your home or office drop me an email on hello@louisekirby.com   Each one is a one-off original piece, initialled with free delivery. Each one is numbered under the image so please quote that in your email.


26.Costal Calm Watercolour Collage B. (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £15 – SOLD

31.Mindful Watercolour Collage B. (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £18

35.Sandy Shore Watercolour Collage C. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £18

41.Meditation Watercolour Collage D. (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

42.Meditation Watercolour Collage E. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

43 Colour Study Watercolour Collage A. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20 – SOLD

44.Zesty Summer Watercolour Collage. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

45.Colour Study Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

46.Tranquil Tay A Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

48.Seaweed Watercolour Collage. (Fits in a standard 8” x 6” frame).  £20

49.Rustic Watercolour Collage (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

51.Ripple Watercolour Collage A (fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

52.Ripple Watercolour Collage B. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

53.Rhythm Watercolour Collage A. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

54.Rhythm Watercolour Collage B. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame) £20

55.Teal Tay Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

56.Journey Watercolour Collage A. (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

58.Accent Watercolour Collage A. (Fits in a standard 8” x 8” frame).  £25

59.Accent Watercolour Collage B (fits a standard 8” x 8” frame). £25

60.Accent Watercolour Collage C. (Fits into a standard 8” x 8” frame) £25

62.Costal Calm Watercolour Collage F. (Fits a standard 8” x 8” frame) £25 – SOLD

64. Sand Meets Seat and Sky Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20 – SOLD

65. Brightness After the Rain A Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

66. Brightness After the Rain B Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

67. Rhythm A Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

68. Rhythm B Watercolour Collage . (Fits a standard 8” x 6” frame). £20

When my sales reach £1000 I pledge to buy £200 from another artist to help support others artists through this difficult time. This initiative was set up by Mathew Burrows Studio to support artists who have lost commissions, teaching and gallery work through the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you’re interested in my design commissions or Dundee Delights products you can see more about them here

Hogmanay Scottish First Foot Tradition

Here in Scotland its tradition on Hogmanay (New Years Eve) to give a first foot gift after midnight.  Traditionally gifts would be whisky to represent financial prosperity and good cheer, a lump of coal to represent warmth and to keep the fire burning, or a black bun or shortbread to symbolise that the receiving family would not go hungry during the forthcoming year.

Or a Dundee tradition I’ve been hearing about through Lynne Campbell (local folk singer) is the Dundee tradition of dressed herring in paper bonnets and skirts, which is meant to be a good luck charm (not for eating).  Never seen it but sounds pretty unusual and cool!
A couple of alternative Scottish First Foot Gifts in Dundee would be a Dundee Cake Tea Towel from my Dundee Delights collection of illustrated gift products or some Char Coal cheese from The Cheesery (Broughty Ferry or Exchange Street), which the first all black delicious vintage cheddar cheese with charcoal.  Message me on social media or by email of what you like to be gifted as a first foot?

At the bells a Robert Burns song of Auld Lang Syne is often sung (or belted out!) or the bag pipes or some cheesy tunes.

All round Scotland on New Years Day some brave people take part in The Dook, where you go in the freezing water whatever the weather.  You’ve got no chance of me doing that but I’ll will be watching The Dook in Broughty Ferry, with all the fun costumes and brave people.  More info on it here.

What will you be doing for Hogmanay?  Tucked up cosy in bed before the bells of partying the night away.  What ever you’re doing enjoy and all the best for 2020!

 

 

 

Photo credit: David Band Photography