dot-art worked with The Good Business Festival and UK Youth for Nature to bring an iconic new mural to Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. The giant painting of a Northern Dune Tiger Beetle is the first piece of work to be commissioned as part of the Natural Kingdom: Wild Walls project, which aims to raise awareness of biodiversity and the crucial role it plays in the climate crisis.
Internationally renowned street artist ATM has created a gigantic version of this highly endangered species, which can be seen on the corner of Grafton Street and Stanhope Street in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. The beetle was chosen, after discussions with local experts, as 75% of the remaining population can be found in Merseyside’s sand dunes! Find out more about the project and dot-art’s work to combat climate change here.
Dedicated to creating exciting and unique opportunities for our dot-art members, we arranged for seven of our artists to work with street artist ATM in delivering the mural. We spoke to the artists about their experience and what they learnt from working with ATM.
dot-art member Haylea Archer explained ‘Working with ATM really sparked an interest in the power and potency of street art for me so thank you to dot-art.
I learnt a lot in terms of ATM’s process, and practical elements such as his brushes, paints of choice, and his creative process. It was really interesting talking to him and finding out about his journey from being an art student to an accomplished international street artist who is raising awareness about endangered species.
ATM’s work magnifies something so small and makes it more visible. In our fast-paced society perhaps this helps us relate to and connect on a deeper level, to the insects and animals that are at risk. It was an incredible experience and a thought-provoking artwork. I was really grateful for the opportunity, I found it so inspiring!’
dot-art member and fellow street artist Simon Cooper told us ‘I learnt a lot from this experience – firstly, being able to watch another artist working, as well as being useful in their day’s labour was rewarding. Second, by assisting ATM, I’m able to gauge my own approach to street art on both logistical approach and execution of a piece, as well as gauge what I can do to improve and tighten up those processes for future works. ATM was great to be around!’
dot-art member Madeleine Pires said ‘Thanks to dot-art for setting up this opportunity. It was fascinating to shadow ATM and so very refreshing to discuss his process and experiences with him and the other artists.
Probably the most helpful thing for me was the practical tips: preparation, the types of paint and brushes, and what to do first. Other practical problem-solving insights included taping a piece of chalk to a stick to reach the higher areas and using rope to measure sections of the subject matter to make sure it was all in proportion.
We went across the road with him a few times to check that the first white layer (basically a silhouette/outline of the beetle) was all absolutely correct. It was interesting how he was very intent on getting every proportion correct and everything the right curve etc before moving on to the next step. He had A4 size reference photos in plastic pockets to avoid getting splattered by rain or paint, as well as a detailed sketch of the beetle in a sketchbook.
It was really good to see how it is possible for someone who can draw and paint things realistically to transfer these skills to a wall/side of a building on, large scale. It made me believe I could do the same thing too. I don’t have a problem with inspiration or ideas, but it can sometimes be challenging to turn them into a practical reality. Seeing ATM’S practical outworking of these street art projects has given me the necessary knowledge and confidence to potentially be able to do something similar in the future. I need to work with bigger brushes!
Another thing that pleasantly surprised me was how the rough and uneven texture of the brick made the addition of colour so very appealing and full of character. I also like the way that the realistic and colourful painted image contrasts with the bare and basic unpainted background of the building.
It was also really good to have conversations with other artists while working on this project. After 16 months of not really spending time with other people in person because of covid, it was very refreshing to ask each other questions, share ideas and express views and convictions, and I think this is a very healthy practice for artists. Thanks again for making this possible.’
dot-art member Mike Kirby explained ‘My afternoon with ATM was really interesting, you’re never too old to learn from another artist! We had a very informative chat regarding his approach to creating his murals, I have a vested interest in this, as I have been commissioned to paint one soon.
I was very keen to ask him about the materials he uses and how he started the artwork when he told me he doesn’t use a grid to put the design on the wall, I was amazed, when you consider, how difficult it is to scale up from relatively small reference material! Overall a great day and a great artist!’
Make sure you check out the mural when you’re next visiting the Baltic area!
If you are a visual artist based in Merseyside, Cheshire or Greater Manchester, you can apply for dot-art artist membership whatever your background or previous experience, find out more.