If walls could talk — and this one does ...
Filling public spaces with community activities and good vibes is East Londoner Nicole McComb’s main mission, and her latest project is a perfect example.
Armed with colourful paint, a good design, a borrowed ladder and the support of the community, artist McComb and painters Mike Moyo and Ebhias Munogo have created a massive mural at the playground area on Vincent Road.
“Community art projects are popular in a lot of cities around the world and I wanted to bring a bit of that to East London,” McComb, 26, said.
McComb is also the brains behind the monthly night-time good food market at the Nahoon lifesavers’ shack and other innovative events around town.
“I’ve always been really interested in street culture and public art,” she said.
“I believe that public artworks can change who occupies a specific space and what activities take place in that space.
“This park has kind of been forgotten and I want families to start coming here again and have picnics and enjoy it.
“Apart from that, the project is also about beautifying public spaces and giving people something encouraging and beautiful to look at.”
The mural stands 11m tall on the side wall of a private home overlooking the playground.
Pink, grey and green hues fill up McComb’s flowery design, but it is the message written on the wall that McComb hopes will inspire the public.
“Extraordinary starts with the ordinary” is written in bold letters across the 9m-wide mural.
McComb describes it as a “pep-talk” wall and hopes it is the first of many to be painted around the city.
“I wanted to give East London a pep talk so the reason I painted this message is to encourage a new mindset.
“We don’t have to be or do the best from the start. We can start slow and by doing the small things often and well, we can grow and become better versions of ourselves.”
She said that while the design for the mural was her own, it was the painters who had helped her make the artwork a reality.
It took 40 litres of paint and the better part of a week for the three to complete the artwork.
“It turned out to be quite an industrial project and took a lot more resources and energy than I expected at first, but we worked hard and got it done in a week and it feels worth it,” McComb said.
“I designed the artwork and made the grid on the wall for them to follow, but Mike and Ebhias are the real skill here. They really did an amazing job.”
Moyo and Munogo said they had enjoyed being part of the project.
“It was very different from painting houses, and it was a lot of work, but it was fun,” Munogo said.