Bye-bye graffiti, hello paint-bomb


GUERRILLA ART:THIS WEEK, a group of teenagers are plastering the pristine white walls of the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast with colourful graffiti, writes FIONOLA MEREDITH.

But there's nothing clandestine about this activity - it's all part of an unusual art project called Splattered.Led by artists Duncan Ross and the enigmatically named "Filth",the project's theme is explosions and fireworks. The idea is to encourage innovative crossovers between street art and more established forms of contemporary visual art. Most of all, it represents an irresistible opportunity for youngsters from across the city (aka "the Splat Pack") to get messy with spray cans. On Saturday, the graffiti will be entirely obliterated in a special "paint-bombing" event.

Ross says working with teenagers like this is a careful balancing act: "You have to let their chaos happen, and keep it open to them - but don't lose the logic behind it." Meanwhile, Sally Hughes (15) - kitted out in protective boilersuit and mask - carefully adds another layer of spray paint to her section of the gallery wall. Doesn't she mind that it will all be wiped out in a few days' time?

"There's no point being precious about it," she says. "After all, the same thing usually happens to graffiti on the street". Her mentor, Filth, who has just opened The Rogues Gallery in Belfast's Gresham Street, specialising in "low-brow" street art, agrees. "I painted a wall with six Swiss guys last week, and it was painted over again by Monday. Nothing lasts."

Spanish artist and explosives expert Carlos Llavata, whose exhibition of new work, Bodyscapes, is also on display in the gallery, will be in charge of the paint-bombing.

It will be accompanied by the newest beats from young DJs, while video artists Christian Johnston and Finbar McGinn - along with members of the Splat Pack - will create a short film from footage of the graffiti process and, of course, the splattering itself.

The event is launched on Saturday August 9th, 2-4pm at the Golden Thread Gallery, 84-94 Great Patrick Street, Belfast.