Dublin is a “hostile environment” for street artists, the man behind the condemned mural of two ballerinas on a house in Sandycove has agreed.
An Bord Pleanála has ruled that the mural of Cathy McGowan’s house must be removed on the grounds that it is “out of scale with the façade” and that it would “seriously injure the visual amenities of the properties in the vicinity”.
Ms McGowan commissioned the artwork during lockdown and artist Solus said that people seemed enthused by the project while he was working away at it:
“Everything was really positive,” he recalled to The Hard Shoulder.
“The cars were stopping, beeping. It was very difficult to paint because I had to stop every two minutes and talk to people.
“But the feedback was incredible, it was really good. I didn’t see any negative feedback.”
Solus said that he agreed that Dublin was a “hostile environment” for street art and that other parts of the country were much more receptive:
“I’ve noticed a lot of other counties in Ireland are opening up to it,” he continued.
“Like you see Waterford and different counties that are really embracing it but it just seems to be so much more difficult to do it in Dublin.
“And I could understand if we were hand painting advertising or something where it was for financial gain.
“But it’s a piece of artwork that’s not looking to sell anything. It’s for people’s enjoyment.”
Ms McGowan said she was “devastated” by An Bord Pleanála's ruling and is unsure about whether to appeal the decision:
"I think I've got four choices: one is that I comply and I do paint over it,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
"One is that I don't and I wait and see what happens.
"You do have the right to go for a judicial review, but that's very expensive.
"And also you can't actually question the decision, you can question if there's a flaw in the procedure.
"I actually do think that there is".
She adds: "I'm hopping mad right now, so I don't want to make a decision about what I'm going to do."
"I want to think about it".
Main image: The mural in Dún Laoghaire.