05 April 2013

Artwork bringing smiles to Gloucester business centre

A resident artist has brought smiles to the Morelands Trading Estate in Gloucester by creating murals featuring giant portraits of familiar businesspeople.

Portrait artist Russell Haines moved his studio into our business centre earlier this year. He thought the plain white walls of the enclosed outdoor walkways could do with some cheering up, so, after consulting with management, he has embarked on some colourful paintings to bring the area to life.

Artwork: a quirky talking point

As well as a montage of huge portraits of some of the Bizspace customers who have units on the site, another wall features a fun, springtime scene of flowers, butterflies and snails.

“It really brightens the place up and makes such an unusual feature, as well as a talking point for the people whose faces are in the paintings,” Business Centre Manager Jackie Houslop says.

“It makes the centre unique and brings fun to the work environment. We have had lots of positive comments from businesses here, as well as from visitors coming to the site – including some councillors from the city council.”

The ideal location

Russell explained that he first rented the studio space at Morelands Trading Estate to complete some work for a large exhibition at Gloucester City Museum.

“Jackie showed me around the site and I came back to sign up the very next day because it was so good. It really does tick every box for me,” says Russell.

“Next month I am moving into a larger industrial unit on the same site to give me more space and allow me to hold classes, which I run for adults and children with learning disabilities, all in a single premises. It is also useful for me to have meeting rooms on site which I can rent on an hourly basis at fantastic value.”

The murals on the walls close to Russell’s unit are around three quarters finished. Russell hoped the springtime scene would bring some cheer through the cold and snow, while the wall of portraits shows off his talent for capturing a likeness.

“It is very different painting on walls than on canvas and the portraits have taken me ages,” he says.

“Also over the Easter weekend I did a painting of Jack Nicholson in a famous scene from The Shining, which lots of people have commented on.  It is painted to look like a stencil but I did it all freehand. I must have talked to at least 200 people who have passed by as I’m working and I have had nothing but good things said to me, which is really pleasing.

“It is a new thing for me to have people watch me working and it is a bit scary, but it’s very satisfying knowing that people are enjoying what I do.”

Community spirit

The plan is for Russell to invite guest artists along to the business centre to leave their mark in different styles across the site, transforming the outdoor walls into giant canvasses.  Local college students will also be invited to make use of a wall in the centre to create art for their coursework.