We’ve got quite a bit of wall space at the Black Lion, so we’re always looking for something new and interesting to showcase up there. So, it was a very happy accident that at the time one set of work had to be removed for an exhibition, Immune boys, Captain Bukioe and Gustav Balderdash - two brilliant local artists (amongst many other things – check out Captain Bukioe’s “Running Punch” on Youtube for some genuinely decent and humourous UK hip hop) - were also looking for a new project and came to see us with a few ideas.
It’s a bit of a nervy decision to commission a mural, particularly in a place where your customers can range from business people, families and diners for most of the day, to a crowded dance floor full of people bouncing up and down to anything from Northern Soul to Hip Hop at the weekend. It’s a lot of different people to appeal to/not offend. Hangimg pictures on the wall is one thing, painting your walls means you have to mean it and get it right. Anyhow, a couple of coffees with us one afternoon and beers one evening, and no doubt a bit more work than that for them when we weren’t there, and their plans were in place and we let them loose on the walls.
It was all done over one long night. They turned up late-ish on the evening, as agreed, looking like people who’d had a steady day at work - and just moved house in Tristan’s (Gustav B’s) case - but reasonably fresh faced, and they set to work. By the time I came down the next morning at about 7am, I found two of the most steady-handed zombies I’ve met still beavering away and starting to discuss finishing touches. By about midday, the 13-hour-long job was done and they collapsed on a table in the garden. We refuelled them with a lunch-time supper of burgers and beer and thanked them for a job well done. They went off to their respective beds in a bit of a daze.
The work’s had some great feedback and we’re really pleased with it. They managed to work in references to the history of the building as a 16th Century brewery as well as the stuff we’re more about now as a pub, restaurant and venue. The more edgy side to our clientele seem to like it a lot – as do the staff, who are generally a good barometer. No children have run out screaming and no pensioners or business folk have complained, so it looks like they hit the right note. What’s more, despite some of the deviant characters they invent in some of their other work, you couldn’t wish to meet two nicer blokes. It seems they’re not that bad at video editing either.