If you haven’t taken a walk along Water Lane, Holbeck lately, it is well worth a visit to see the fantastic new mural on the Knight and Willson building.
Drawing on the city’s industrial past, Canadian artist Ian Kirkpatrick recently completed this large mural after extensive research into the area. He wanted to reflect both the history and contemporary use of the area, and tell its story in a new way.
‘If you look at the mural, it’s actually designed like a large map. At the very left of the design you’ll see buildings like the upcoming HS2 train station and Bridgewater Place – and at the very right you can see Holbeck Moor and the viaduct. In between I’ve depicted a cityscape that merges existing buildings with now-destroyed architecture, alongside construction projects that have yet to happen. My hope was to bring Holbeck’s past, present and future together into a piece about cycles of growth, decay, and regrowth.’ Ian Kirkpatrick
Ian is particularly interested in the city’s architecture and, having worked in Egypt, he was enthused by Temple Works which was inspired by the Egyptian temple of Edfu. The colourful mural contains references to Egyptian mythology in several of its panels.
‘You’ll see the god Horus; who has the body of a man and the head of a falcon and sails across the world on his solar boat. I gave his head a more ‘owl’ like appearance in reference to Leeds’ coat of arms.'
There are also references to Italian Renaissance art, inspired by Tower Works, which was modelled on Giotto’s Campanile in Florence; and look closely to discover St Francis for yourself.
The mural, which was commissioned by Leeds City Council, was designed by hand as one single picture. It was then retraced in Adobe Illustrator to create the clean lines and shapes which were arranged into the 32 separate panels, one for each window of the building. The aluminium composite artwork stretches along three sides of the historic building, and is around 158sqm, with some panels being 3m x 2m in size. The printing and installation work was undertaken by Dock Street Signs, who are located on Leeds South Bank.
‘I was taking the train at the weekend and was surprised by how visible the artwork was from the window. I’m excited to have created a piece of art that is part of the South Bank landscape. Public art can be very powerful because it gets seen by so many people – including people who otherwise wouldn’t interact with art. I’m really honoured to be part of the regeneration of this exciting area of Leeds!’