We’ve worked with Portsmouth-based artist My Dog Sighs in the past as we built his website in return for a beautiful mural he created on our studio wall. Our Business Development Manager Joe has also worked alongside him to create pieces around another site launch, Democracy Street, where the public can discover more about the history of their local street names and contribute to artwork celebrating the anniversary of the Magna Carta.

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It was at one of these workshops that Joe and My Dog Sighs began talking about creating a large graffiti piece with interaction from children in the community, inspired by Democracy Street. The workshop was being held at Make & The Craft Kitchen in Fratton, who were happy to support the project by offering up their outside wall for transformation. A few months later, and with Portsmouth Council permission, the invite went out to local children between 6 and 16 to come along on Saturday 12th September to learn some graffiti skills, and take part in creating a huge art piece designed by Joe and My Dog Sighs.

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An early start saw the day begin with the initial outlines being drawn for the distinctive My Dog Sighs eye designs, along with the bold blue background. This provided the template for the work that would be added by the children. The equipment was set up with plenty of stencils and spray cans ready to start at 10am.

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After a brief explanation and demonstration about how to use the stencils and materials a steady stream of young people arrived throughout the day to put their mark on the developing artwork. Inspired by recent work Joe has done, it was decided to create lots of different size arrow templates that could be used, with a range of complimentary spray paint colours available for the children to choose from.

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Those who could only stop by for a short time had a crash course on basic spraying and stencil techniques, such as how to make sure their arrows had clean, straight outlines. Other contributors were able to give a little more of their time so they were taught slightly more advanced skills including how to apply different fades and shadows to their work. When he wasn’t passing on advice, My Dog Sighs also worked on his incredible eye designs, while Joe added more arrows to round out the top of the piece, where the children couldn’t reach.

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By the end of Saturday around 30 young people had stopped by to spend their time contributing to this stunning mural. All that remained was for My Dog Sighs to complete the piece with some beautiful bubbles cascading down the wall, and to add the Democracy St tag. Pictures of the finished design have been sent to the artist Jon Adams, who is responsible for using all the public contributions to the Democracy Street project to create the final Magna Carta celebration piece. We are really proud of Joe for his involvement in the creation of this amazing work, and pleased that our Democracy Street site could help inspire him and My Dog Sighs to produce this fantastic community art project.

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