Europe’s tallest piece of street art completed on Leicester tower block | leicester

Leicester street artist Wing Lo says he’s never had a problem with height, but when he was swung from the side of a building in a cradle more than 80 meters up to create one of the world’s tallest works of art, it took him to its limits.

“When I was in the cradle, sometimes I just wanted to get off because it’s really scary. But looking back now, I’m sad it’s over,” he said. “We just wanted to make the people of Leicester proud and I think we’ve succeeded so far.”

Lo was part of a team of artists who recently completed Europe’s tallest piece of street art, towering 82 meters (269 feet) on the side of St George’s Tower, known as the Blue Tower, in Leicester.

It’s almost twice the height of Britain’s previous tallest street art work, Athena Rising in Leeds, which was 46.8 meters (153 feet) tall, and it’s now the fourth tallest street art work in the world only is surpassed by two works of art in Calgary, Canada, and one in Karachi, Pakistan.

“But it’s the only one of these record-breakers that has been painted and designed by local artists,” said Izzy Hoskins, co-director of Leicester art company Graffwerk, which produced the piece in association with BID Leicester. “We just felt like if we didn’t have local artists with the skills to paint it and we didn’t celebrate them, what was the point?”

Graffwerk specializes in large-scale street murals, and about three years ago its artists decided to break a record. “We looked at the tallest building in Leicester that had a paintable surface and that was St George’s Tower,” Hoskins said.

The piece pays homage to the East Midlands town. It features a fox inspired by the city’s football club, a tiger for the local rugby team, an astronaut representing the National Space Center and a double helix when the University of Leicester pioneered DNA fingerprinting.

“It’s such a statement for Leicester and for Britain too,” Hoskins said after the finishing touches were made on Saturday. “You can see it from so many miles away; in one part of the city you can see it for four miles.”

Lo worked with local artists Richard Peacock and Leigh Drummond, with support from Ben Edwards and Kiene Tuckley, to bring the vision to life over five weeks. They took turns painting from a cradle about the size of a bench that hung on the side of the block.

“You can’t stand back and look because you’d have to come all the way down and you’d lose so much time,” he said. “Sometimes you just paint without knowing if it will work or not. Some things we did on the first try, other things we had to go back and change, there was a bit of back and forth.”

People have already traveled to the city to take photos and the team behind it hope it becomes a Leicester landmark.

“We have this immense sense of pride when we sit back and see what has been accomplished,” Hoskins said. “We’re a creative country, we have creative cities, and we have some incredible artists. And it’s great to put them on this platform and show what’s possible.”

Outstanding achievements

Calgary Tower, Canada

At 95 meters (312 feet) tall, a mural on the side of the Calgary Tower in Canada holds the title of the tallest street art in the world. The abstract piece was created this year by German artist Mirko Reisser, known as DAIM, and required more than 500 cans of spray paint to complete. It was created as part of a project to transform a brutalist concrete area of ​​the city into an open-air urban art gallery.

Statue of Unity, India

Completed in 2018, the Statue of Unity in India now holds the title of tallest statue in the world at 182 meters (597 feet). It features Indian statesman and independence activist Vallabhbhai Patel and is twice the size of New York’s Statue of Liberty. Costing an estimated 29.8 billion rupees (314 million pounds), it took four years to build and has elevators that can carry up to 15,000 tourists a day to a viewing gallery some 152 meters high.

Arc Majeur, Belgium

Unlike a historical monument, Bernar Venet’s Arc Majeur, a 200-tonne steel sculpture set around a motorway in Belgium, is the world’s tallest purely artistic sculpture. Its location on either side of the E411 between the cities of Namur and Luxembourg was chosen so that the driver’s view is not obstructed by lampposts. It consists of two arches, 28 meters and 60 meters high, which protrude from the ground on either side of the street.

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