The Duke of Lancaster ‘Faces the Authorities’

A 1950s cruise liner has once again been hit with another stunning mural from a sought after, up-and-coming street artist – this time by stencil artist Bungle, which culminates in a piece which is the largest of the artist’s works so far.

The piece by the Bristolian artist, which is entitled “The Face of Authority” features a 12 meter high portrait of a masked man wear a suit. It is the latest in a line of works to be added to The Duke of Lancaster ship, which is docked off the North Wales coastline. It follows earlier pieces, which started to appear on the ship back in late August this year, including works by Latvian Street Artist; KIWIE and Welsh local boys; The Cream Soda Crew.

The group in control of the artworks, DuDug, have been reflecting on what they had achieved so far. Founder of DuDug and project coordinator, Maurice, commented: “We knew the next artist had to be big. We knew the next mural had to be big. We knew the impact of the piece had to be big. We had 22 artists to aim at and we had the scope to demonstrate yet another technique and style.

“One name jumped off the page ‘BUNGLE’.”

Having recently taken part in Upfest, an annual Urban Paint Festival based in Bristol, Bungle’s work and time is increasingly in demand. Maurice continues: “We were worried about how we could attract him to a cold and wet dock in North Wales, from the comfortable surroundings of the mecca of Urban arts in the UK, which is the Bristol Arts scene.

“In the end we just asked.”

Bungle explains his decision to come to North Wales and leave his own mark on the famous landmark: “I thought the whole history of the ship was fascinating and I was quite happy to take part in the project. The ship needs to be revitalised and it could be a great attraction.”

He continues: “The story really enthralled me – how could the council, who originally committed to supporting the project in the beginning, so quickly changed their mind. The owners have continuously working to bring the ship into a state where people can come on-board to use and enjoy it, but it has constantly been blocked.”

Quickly ideas were bouncing backwards and forwards between DuDug and Bungle, and ‘The Face of Authority’ was born. Bungle comments on the piece: “The theme is of a two faced image I had in my head. It’s a businessman, but underneath he has his own agenda – it is the ‘Face of Authority.”

However, the project wasn’t without challenges for Bungle. As a stencil artist, this was the biggest piece he had attempted and his traditional technique wasn’t possible on the huge uneven surface of a cruise liner. Likewise “The Face of Authority” has 8 separate colours which make it unfeasible to stencil.

The solution came by way of projecting the image onto the side of the ship at dusk and then going around the outline of the piece with heavy duty paint markers – something that hadn’t been attempted by Bungle previously.

Bungle explains the challenging conditions: “Each different colour was projected on the ship until the outline of the whole image could clearly be seen. Slight movements in the projector meant the outlines shifted massively and when they did the projector had to be reset to datum marks placed on the side of the ship. Add to this the cold and damp of dusk – it made for a very interesting evening. However, pretty soon the majority of the black areas had been completed.”

The following day the piece was completed pretty much in freehand, working from laminated mock-ups for reference. It was during this process that Bungle realised exactly the real expanse of the piece, which only added to the sense of pride and achievement when it was finally finished. “It is only until you step away from the mural you can appreciate both the detail and the size of the piece” he comments.

Although using a completely different technique to stencilling, Bungle thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is extremely proud of the piece. It is also an image which seamlessly moves from ship to canvas to make a stunning piece of art in its own right.

Talking about the project and the team, Bungle said “I really hope with continued support from other artists and the public that the project is the success it deserves to be and I’ll continue to help and be involved where I can. Also, it was great to meet and work with a group of people who are so passionate about not only the ship but the artwork too. Good luck Maurice and thanks for the invite!”

Maurice was equally complimentary about Bungle “Working with Bungle has been a pleasure, his no nonsense approach to the piece and the way he worked round all the challenges the piece brought was excellent and together The Dudug Team has pulled off another stunning effect on the side of The Duke”.

It was announced last month by the Dudug team that they are intending to transform the ship into the UK’s largest open air art gallery. With the additions of these stunning and controversial artworks, it’s well on its way to becoming a much talked about destination on the Welsh Coastline.