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Graffiti artist writes poignant literary quotes in Preston’s backstreets

Posted on - 19th November, 2021 - 8:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
Street art in Preston

An anonymous artist has created a trail of literature quotations in the backstreets of Preston.

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The unauthorised graffiti artworks – installed without permission – form a unique trail which take in some of the best known and hidden alleyways and walls across the city.

All of the artworks have been installed in bricked-up windows – and the project has been named ‘Broken Places.’

The graffiti was so popular that more has been created

The first piece ‘Buy the ticket, take the ride’ at Old Cock Yard was intended as a stand-alone art work but it got such a positive reaction from the Preston public that nine more were created.

Further pieces have been installed at locations including Surgeon’s Court, Bolton’s Court and Clayton’s Gate. A map has been produced showing all ten locations.

The Preston-based artist, known only as Kit Graff, used stencils to install ten inspiring quotations from modern classic literature.

Kit Graff said: “I was involved earlier this year with the Lancashire Photography Festival. While assisting Garry Cook to put up some of the pieces for this project, I walked around many of the back streets of Preston and noticed that behind the facade of this modern, vibrant city sits a hidden layer of beauty and neglect.

“There is a wealth of fine architecture which over the years has been left untended and ultimately forgotten.

“There is a sad permanence to a window which has been bricked up. The view from the window has been removed forever.

“With the bricked-up windows, I am simply replacing this lost physical view with a metaphorical artefact, namely, a quote from literature, the point of view of an author.

“Not only are the quotes physically hidden in the alleys and backstreets, whilst they are from well-known authors’ novels and their works, they are not always their most well-known phrases so are themselves hidden.”

Street art in Preston by Kit

The installations have already been making an impact but the artist found the installation of them a scary process.

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Kit Graff added: “I must be Preston’s most anxious graffiti writer. I was always terrified of getting arrested or having people shout at me but I thought it was worth the risk to create something worthwhile. But I never had any trouble.

“While I was working on the Tithebarn, a couple on their way to an Extinction Rebellion protest came over and chatted and were so wonderfully supportive it really gave me a lift.

“When I put up the last piece on Surgeon’s Court, a group of people came past and one of them told me he had seen the piece in Bolton’s Court and that he loved it. He told me he was really pleased to be able to meet the person behind them. That was an uplifting, joyful interaction.

“I always took a picture as soon as I had finished a piece, in case it was immediately removed or tampered with. It was only when I got back home that I’d look at the photo and really see the piece for the first time.

“I was too immersed in the process when I was painting them. I would go back the next day and stand in front of it, noticing all the little flaws and muttering darkly about bits being wonky or smudged. Sometimes, I tidied up an errant letter with a black Sharpie. No one else seems to notice these imperfections but you see all the flaws in your own work.”

Street art in Preston by Kat

Kit Graff also accepts that some of the unauthorized installations could get removed, as has happened already.

They said: “I have to accept that that might happen. Once you put up a piece of graffiti you have to walk away from it knowing it’s not yours anymore. The council might take them all down. They’ve got a map now with all of them – I might have shot myself in the foot there.

“Hopefully, someone sensible will decide they are worth leaving alone, at least, until such time as the weather erodes them all away.

“You could say that I didn’t have a right to put these up and that this is vandalism – and you would be right. I never asked permission – that’s not what graffiti is about.

“I don’t give my permission to have advertising hoardings in front of my eyeballs every day on my way to work but there they are regardless. At least my work offers a brief moment of respite from the relentless onslaught of consumerism we are all bombarded with on a daily basis.”

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