Twitching in Johnstone Street
Paisley is set to become the first Business Improvement District (BID) in Scotland to have a gable end transformed into a giant mural.
The work will highlight one of the town’s most famous and relatively unknown sons, Alexander Wilson, as well as one of the town’s iconic buildings and some local wildlife.
Paisley First have launched the project to enhance the town’s image and tap into the creative potential in Renfrewshire.
A number of walls have been identified for the murals and the first is situated at Johnston Street. This mural depicts a beautiful kingfisher perched next to a ball of yarn, while the distinctive Coats Memorial Church appears in the background.
The kingfisher, a bird that can sometimes be spotted on the Cart, represents the life and work of Paisley’s Alexander Wilson, who is credited with establishing ornithology as a science. Originally a weaver poet, Alexander Wilson moved to America where he studied wildlife and travelled widely, documenting and drawing hundreds of illustrations of birds on his way.
The Coats Memorial Church was built in memory of Thomas Coats, founder of the town’s biggest thread firm.
This mural is designed to amalgamate just some of Paisley’s rich historical and cultural past.
Paisley artists Mark Worst, 26, and Ross Dinnett, 25, are currently painting the three-storey mural and have undergone special safety training specifically for the job.
Mark said: “At 16m, this is one of the highest murals I’ve ever painted and it’s certainly the most unusual. Ross and I have had to do training to operate the scissors lift to get up and down the gable end. “
Paisley First project leader Melanie Hughes has developed the concept with the artists from the start and said: “Hopefully, this is the first of other murals in the town and we are excited to see the reaction of town centre businesses and the local community.”
Paisley First Chairman, Ian Henderson stated,
“This should help make the town centre more appealing to potential businesses and visitors, as well as to Buddies themselves. It’s a project that will help breathe new life into the town and hopefully, raise its profile. Ultimately, we want this project to increase footfall and encourage people to spend money in local businesses.”
Ian said: “We asked local artists to submit their proposals for various locations around the town and we have had some terrific entries.”
“Some of Mark’s work can already be seen around the town in places such as Brown’s Lane where he has painted a spectacular mural on the outside wall of The Bungalow featuring Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon.”
“He has also painted another mural on one of the walls of the beer garden at the popular Paisley pub DeBeers and Mark produced the art work on the shutters of the music shop in Causeyside Street.”