Lick of Paint

A Lick of Paint: New Street Art Festival to Launch in Sheffield

Take just a brief stroll through central Sheffield and you’re likely to come across some engaging street art on your travels. It’s certainly a sobering thought to picture the city centre and its suburbs without contributions from the likes of Kid Acne, Phlegm, McKee, Jo Peel, Rob Lee, Marcus Method, Florence Blanchard and countless other artists who’ve added an injection of life and vibrancy into our surroundings.

Not only can a diverse selection of street art aesthetically improve previously uninspiring urban spaces, but studies have shown it can have beneficial impacts on community engagement, increase tourism to an area, spark important conversations about social issues, provide networking opportunities for creatives and help to foster local artistic talent.

It’s for these reasons and more that two Sheffield-based artists, Alastair Flindall (@neckofthewoodsstudio) and Megan Russell (@_peachzz_), have come together to form Lick of Paint Fest – the city’s first mural and street art festival.

“I’ve always wanted to do a street art festival, ever since realising they were a thing,” explains Megan. “For me, it’s all about giving back to the community; it’s public art that’s free and accessible for people to engage with.”

After speaking to Alastair on the topic around two years ago, Megan found that they shared an ambition and plans were quickly put in place to make Lick of Paint a reality.

Together they make a perfect fit. Alastair’s teaching background makes him the prime candidate to drive the festival’s engagement efforts, organising educational workshops, developing young artists and collaborating with local schools and community groups. Meanwhile, Megan’s extensive experience in street murals, spanning projects worldwide, qualifies her to spearhead the curation and production of the event.

“For me, it’s all about giving back to the community; it’s public art that’s free and accessible…”

The festival will prominently feature local artists from Sheffield, Yorkshire and across the North, with approximately 20-30 artists commissioned, including a selection of international talents. The organisers aim to utilise 10-15 walls as canvases, all of which will be nearing completion by the festival weekend.

To keep things compact and accessible, a central hub will be agreed upon to host the artworks with live music, DJs and culinary offerings on hand to help generate a festival atmosphere. A downloadable map and events guide will also be provided to make planning out the weekend a straightforward affair.

“We’ll be contacting a few live venues to collaborate with,” says Megan. “While artists are painting, there’ll be other examples of live art to watch and we want to create an environment where people can grab some food or a beer, listen to music from local bands, get involved with a workshop… it’s all about bringing the community together.”

In terms of making Lick of Paint stand out from other street art festivals in the UK, Alastair explains that there will be a key focus on two areas: sustainability and technology. “We’re looking to talk to leading people in the field of sustainable development in cities, discussing how we can use the materials more wisely and create street art in a more eco-friendly matter. It’s a big talking point in the industry and one we want to address, so we’ll also be opening that debate up to the public while directly asking people what they want to see at the festival.”

“The technology focus of the event coincides with sustainability in some aspects,” he continues. “A lot of that revolves around reducing carbon footprint in art, so we’ll be exploring AR artworks – which we’ve already seen in Sheffield through the Look Up project – while using projection mapping to create temporary exhibits of street art as well as permanent ones.”

The inaugural Lick of Paint will take place next summer, with a series of soft launch events planned this year so the team can promote the festival’s aims while engaging with public feedback.

There are some upcoming showcases taking place as soon as next month, so keep an eye out for free workshops and live art heading to Get Together Festival on 18 May.

Alastair Flindall (pictured) has joined forces with Megan Russell to bring the city’s first street art festival ‘Lick of Paint’ to life.

“You’ll be hearing more from us throughout 2024,” says Megan. “We’ll be collaborating with different local events and festivals so we can share with the community what our plans are. We want to create a successful festival that everyone wants to see – this event is for Sheffield, so getting that feedback will be key.”

For more info, sign up at lickofpaintfest.com and follow @lickofpaintfest. They are also looking for walls in the northwest of the city, both in terms of sponsors and/or walls to work on. Again, drop them a line on socials or their website if you can help. 




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