Dime One


RECENT STREET art murals which have appeared mysteriously on the side of an iconic landmark in North Wales, have received exposure on an international scale by a leading and extremely talented ‘grunge artist’ who has recently broken onto the Gallery Art Scene; Lora Zombie, from Russia.

The Duke of Lancaster 1950s Cruise liner, is docked off the coast of Llanerch-y-Mor, was targeted during August by Latvian Street Artist KIWIE, and quickly became talked about on specialist street art blogs. The group who orchestrated the street art, DuDug, went on to approach Lora, whose work is continually selling out galleries worldwide, and invited her to be involved in the project.

Self-taught artist, Lora, who was unable to come over the UK to leave her own mural on the ship due to other work commitments, instead produced a unique piece of art titled ‘Rise Dear Child’. This is created in her own distinctive signature style and the level of detail and effort which has gone into producing the piece is exceptional.

Depicted in the instantly recognisable work is the Duke of Lancaster ship itself, along with some of her own cult figures, which have appeared in her other works.

This comes at a time when a second mural has been unveiled by DuDug, this time the work is much more local, from a North Wales based artist and crew.

Andy Birch, better known as Dime One and the Cream Soda Crew, Japf, WarPig and Kash, paid a visit to The Duke of Lancaster last week to add their own tag to The Duke in support of The DuDug Project.

Andy, a local lad from Colwyn Bay, has looked on the ship for years with a desire to lay down some paint, however, as Birch explains “Whilst we have always been aware of the ship there is no way we would ever of considered painting her without permission, she’s a local icon!”

The Dudug Project is committed to supporting local artists and utilising local resources wherever possible, so when Birch was approached by Maurice, from DuDug, he was overwhelmed and eager to join the team. Birch comments: “When Maurice called it was totally out of the blue but it was obvious from the first time we spoke she knew a lot more about me and the crew than I did about her, particularly my involvement with youth workshops.”

A date was set for The Cream Soda Crew to come to the site and, after a discussion about the size of the art and the theme, work started. Utilising a completely different technique to KIWIE, Eduk The Diver was a living breathing mural which evolved throughout the day with many tweaks and changes. The mural also includes a 3D lettering technique to spell out the phrase “The Boat That Shocked”, Birch explained that Maurice has a bit of a crush on Rhys Ifans, who is also a local lad, and this helped inspire the wording.

Birch went on to say “I was really concerned about the legalities of the project but Maurice explained she would be on site, and that the project had the support of the owners. She was very much true to her word and spoilt us rotten for the entire time we were on site”

Birch and his crew are extremely proud to be involved in the project and also what it has achieved in such a short period of time he is fully aware that the artwork may have a limited lifespan and may get covered over but it’s a risk he’s willing to take.

He comments: “As a graffiti artist you sometimes expect that your work may be covered and it was made clear to us that might well be the case. We are just pleased to be invited onto the team. We didn’t come to disrespect this amazing landmark, we merely wanted to add some colour to her worn and rusty sides and hopefully get her the attention she deserves. We have grown up with memories of the ship in her prime and we hope someday she will be restored to her former glory and remain at Llanerch-y-Mor for years to come.”

Following this latest piece of artwork being unveiled, John Rowley, co-owner of the Duke of Lancaster released a statement which outlines that his aim was to allow the disused boat to become a new art attraction: “To set the record straight on my involvement in the artwork that has appeared on the Funship the following is the case;

“I was contacted here in Romania by a person from the UK called Maurice, telling me she knew of a group of young art enthusiasts who had the idea of using the Duke of Lancaster and Llanerch-y-mor dock as a venue for an open air art gallery and sculpture park.

“Never being involved in art, it wasn’t something that I could pass judgement on, but I must admit I could picture in my mind’s eye the suggestion becoming a huge tourist attraction, being alongside the coast road and adjacent to what could become an interesting part of the Coastal path, given that sculpture parks are popular throughout Europe.

“I know the world is in crisis and any private enterprise in these times needs plenty of courage, and for young people to be even thinking along those lines then they need applauding.

“I remember only too well back in 1979 when Deeside became a disaster area for jobs, and at the same time with hearts as big as lions we brought the Duke of Lancaster to Llanerch-y-mor, I can’t forget the local authority kicking us in the teeth from all angles for our efforts.

“I personally must take the blame for giving the young artists a chance to start their project by allowing them to carry out a feasibility study at the site; which could  involve local artists and benefit local suppliers just like the Funship did. If it turns out to be a disaster their work can always be painted out or replaced – so what is there to lose? Although that said, I see so much to gain.  I have been told that a poll in the press has met with some negatives but also many positives in favour of the art.

“The project could already be a victim of its own success as I have been told there has been much interest from many well-known, artists including ten established international artists wanting to travel to North Wales at their own expense to display their art and that must be, potentially, a boost for the local economy.  One already appeared from Latvia. The artists are also willing to get involved in community workshops should the project be successful.

“I noticed the groups advertising campaign referred to “Your Ship Looked like Sh*t, So We Painted It”. I can’t argue with that, good luck to them in their study and who knows, one day the locality could host an international art festival at Llanerch y mor.

“Give the youngsters a chance.”