Graffiti gallery is toast of Preston pub
Graffiti can be a dirty word, but not at one city centre pub.
Landlord Andrew Forster is encouraging urban artists to show off their talents on the walls of his beer garden at the Wellington Inn in Preston.
And the avant garde exhibition is attracting visitors from far and wide to view some of the Banksyesque art works on show.
“It’s incredible,” said Andrew at the pub in Glovers Court. “Only last weekend an elderly couple caught a train over from their home in Manchester just to see it.
“One of the graffiti artists had posted a picture of the wall on the net and they saw it. They spent an hour-and-a-half here taking photographs.”
The idea came recently when Andrew was refurbishing the rear space at the Wellington. An old schoolfriend, who is also a graffiti artists, suggested decorating the walls of the tunnel which used to be the entrance to stables at the pub but now leads to the beer garden.
“He said we had a wonderful stage on which we could put some artwork and why didn’t we turn it into a gallery,” he said. “I wanted it to be in keeping with what we were doing outside.
“A soldier at Fulwood Barracks has put a couple of pieces of his artwork in there. And artists from all over have been contributing stuff.
“We’ve had artists in the United States sending work over to put on the wall. People have called at the pub asking if they can exhibit. All I ask is that they buy a pint in return.
“Someone brought his son from Manchester and so we sold him a pint of lemonade.
“The tunnel was just a wasted space before. Staff used to park their cars there or the bins were kept there.
“Now it looks brilliant and new work is coming in all the time. It’s a terrific idea.”
The first drawings were scratched onto walls thousands of years ago. The term graffiti came from the Latin word ‘graffiato’ meaning scratched.
Modern day graffiti seems to have originated in Philadelphia in the 1960s and had reached New York by the late sixties. By the seventies the artform had really taken off with subway cars covered in spray paint masterpieces.
Debate has been raging ever since as to whether graffiti really is art, or just vandalism. But the emergence of the mysterious British artist Banksy, whose works have been bought for six figures, have given graffiti credibility.