Have you spotted the amazing artwork which has spruced up the entrance to The Mall near NatWest yet?
It’s certainly transformed it from a drab grey area into a colourful tribute to retro video games – so fair play to the shopping centre bosses for allowing this bold street art to be installed.
On view are some iconic gaming characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Link (Legend of Zelda), Pacman and ghosts, plus Mario and Luigi.
I must admit I didn’t look upwards when I popped along to view the images, so missed the aliens invading Luton until I was sent some Space Invader photos from the brains behind the project.
So what’s the story behind all this, I hear you ask...?
In November 2017, Aimi Rix and and her two cofounders of Little Red Creative Studios Jamie Newell and Kelly Seaton ambitiously took on the lease for 32a George Street, an unused listed building in the heart of Luton’s town centre.
Aimi takes up the story... “We worked tirelessly for months to lovingly restore the building and make it home of the arts in Luton. We developed the business as a community interest company in order to provide a space for and support local artist. Little Red Creative Studios opened its doors to the public in April 2018.
“While the building was being developed and becoming more popular we noticed that the exterior of Little Red and the adjoining Mall entrance was looking rather dull and so we approached Roy Greening and Tracey Bateman at The Mall with a proposal to uplift the entire space with artwork.
“We were delighted that they were in agreement to work in partnership with us and taking the bold move to enhance the town by using street art and following examples of other successful cities such as Bristol, Manchester and Hull where street art is now common place and has given them an identity of their own.
“After agreeing on a theme for the area which would be fun and inviting; a retro games theme which we were confident would be something people of all ages would recognise and relate to.
“The primary idea behind this was to make people smile and to create a fun, vibrant and interactive area where families could enjoy the space and make the entrance to our building and The Mall more welcoming. We hope that in doing so we can detract people from smoking directly outside The Mall entrance and give families and young people ownership of this area.
“As a proud Lutonian it hurts me to hear so many people speak negatively of my home town. It has become my mission to make Luton a more beautiful place to live by adding vibrant artwork to the bland areas of the town.
“I believe I have started to make this ambition a reality and from people reactions and comments during and after the art work I think it’s been a successful and worthwhile endeavour. I can hear people’s excitement as they pass by Little Red Creative Studios and this in itself makes me know I’m creating value in my community.”
Their work isn’t quite done, however, as we can look forward to some floor games being added over the next week (weather permitting).
About the artists:
In 2017 while transforming four of the underpasses in Marsh Farm Aimi Rix put a call out for artists, hoping to build a creative team. She was contacted by Mark Tanti (www.demograffix.com) and Sharon Mitchell, talented artists and who have worked with Aimi on several projects before including the tunnels, Marsh House and now the Mall.
Mark is a professional Graffiti Artist with over 15 years of experience in public and community-based artwork. Mark has provided artwork for a wide variety of clients ranging from local councils to commercial businesses like Sony and Rimmel.
Sharon paints with acrylics and brushes and has developed her style to create some magical scenes. Sharon is responsible for many of the fun Luton Rocks that you can find hidden around Luton.
Aimi has been working with many primary schools and communities to create fun, interactive spaces for children, passionate about her work and improving environments especially for children you can see her work covering classrooms, corridors and tunnels around Luton. An extensive body of work can be found on her social media channels and website Aimi Rix Artist & Aimirixartist.com