A prominent public mural that has transformed a local eyesore into a welcoming landmark that has come to define the area and its history.
Kilburn is a northern London city ward thriving with life. Steeped in Irish ancestry the present day community reflects London’s vast multiculturalism. We came to appreciate the area and wanted to design a mural that would reflect Kilburn and its history. The Kilburn Tube Mural is located on a busy road serving as an artery into London from The North and outside the heavily used Kilburn Tube Station.
The 300m2 and 8m high mural spans four walls over property belonging to London Underground and two local authorities, managed by Kilburn Town Centre Partnership. Signal managed the project so that all council concerns were addressed.
Keenly aware of the issues around the public perception of graffiti, we deliberately downplayed this element by opting for an illustrative style, avoiding lettering and keeping to a uniform colour palette. We included historical content to offer the onlooker something beyond the obvious such as performers from Kilburn’s 1930s mouse circus, and characters from resident George Orwell’s Animal Farm. See the full design here.
We involved local graffiti artists by running workshops at local schools and youth clubs and consulting key community groups and historians before beginning the final design.
During the painting of the mural, we displayed information about the design and its historical and community relevance so that passers by had a better understanding of the project. This was a great cohesive tool in the community as many locals learned things about an area they had lived in their entire life.
The Kilburn Tube Mural was painted by renowned graffiti artists (Snug, Dane, Bleach, Busk and Tizer) with the assistance of a young local apprentice, involving many of the community in the consultation process. This was key to its success in being welcomed by locals and regular passers-by.
Signal secured match funding from the Arts Council England and Camden Streetscape to deliver the Kilburn Tube project – a public mural that was groundbreaking in its scale and prominence.
The biggest sign of the success of this project is that the mural has not been vandalised once since its completion in 2004, despite a footfall of millions past it every week.
This project was conceived, managed and delivered by Signal Project in 2004 and remains the largest permanent public graffiti art mural ever commissioned in the UK.
“On behalf of the Kilburn Partnership, I would like to thank you for your hard work developing and delivering the mural project at Kilburn Tube station over the last year. Local feedback on the design quality of the mural has been extremely positive – in fact (and I understand this is quite unusual for a public art project!) we haven’t received a single complaint or criticism.”
Caroline Bourne, Kilburn Town Centre Manager, March 2005
Kilburn Murals “…if we had to spend a few coins on any of London’s murals it would be these, created in 2004 by Signal Project as the largest commissioned work of graffiti in the UK… A splendid attention to detail, with many subtle references to local themes.”
Rating: 10/10 The best we’ve seen.” TimeOut London, Issue 1872, July 2006, Top Ten London Murals:
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