Internationally renowned street artist Solus has an impressive portfolio of works. Now, having worked together briefly in 2022, Ballymore has commissioned Solus once again, this time to create a striking new mural at 8th Lock, the final phase of development at Ballymore’s Royal Canal Park in Dublin.
The new mural along the southern bank of the Royal Canal is the biggest artwork of Solus’ career. It adopts Solus’ inimitable style of silhouettes with pops of vibrant colours, with a scene showing the canal being used by people, dogs and horses. He explains: “It’s a joy to take on this site, and I was keen to create something that would serve as a tribute to the history of the canal and how it was used in the past to transport goods – that’s what we’ve done with this piece, captured a moment in time.
“I used spray paint to create a series of black silhouettes – then adding colours over the blacks; the colours are much more vibrant when they’re used in this way - it creates depth and enhances the colour”
The ambitious piece took a month to design, and a further two weeks to physically paint, with new features being added to the piece as it came to life. Solus continues: “To the right of the main piece we added signposts – each intended to offer directions to the canal bridges; given that the apartments at 8th Lock are named after the bridges it seemed a pertinent way to bring them together – and it makes the piece really site specific!”
The contemporary approach Solus used to create this vast piece of art makes it thoroughly modern while still paying homage to its canalside location. He adds: “I used black silhouettes with colours over the blacks; the colours are much more vibrant when they’re used in this way - it creates depth and enhances the colour”.
The scale and bold colour palette of the mural have created a joyous focal point that’s evoked a heartwarming reaction from residents and passers-by. Many have been inspired to share their own memories of the canal as Solus worked, with one man bringing old photos of the workers who built the original structure, and others complimenting the work as they passed.
Creating such a vast piece doesn’t come without complications, with Solus recounting the difficulties of working on the wall: “It’s not a flat surface, which is very difficult to work on, so I relied heavily on complementary colours to give detail and to make the mural visually appealing”. Solus is content with the completed mural, concluding happily that the original goal was achieved: “It’s an authentic nod to the history of the site, which creates a striking focal point for the community.”
Solus is a renowned Irish artist. In 2017 he served as National Trailblazer (Ambassador) for Culture Ireland, representing and promoting culture in Ireland, and in 2018 he was nominated as one of five Irish artists to receive the IrishCentral Creativity and Arts awards, honouring him for his work in the streets of New York.