Photo gallery: Britain's first graffiti murals
- 13 September 2012
- From the section Manchester
Walter Kershaw is widely regarded as the pioneer of street art in the UK, predating Banksy by several decades. He spoke to the BBC ahead of a new Radio 4 documentary about his career.
Walter Kershaw is widely regarded as the pioneer of street art in the UK, predating Banksy by several decades. Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said: 'I'm a big fan of the work of Banksy,' I don't have the wit of artists like him. It's no longer graffiti, it's an artform. I paint in a more traditional way.''
Kershaw began painting walls in his home-town of Rochdale in the mid-1970s. He said: ''Everything was so grim and black and white in those days, so I asked this chap if could paint some big flowers on his wall. It transformed that area of Wardleworth. That was the first one that we did."
The 'inside-out house' is probably Kershaw's most famous work. "I just thought it would look wonderful showing on the outside of the house what people might be doing on the inside,'' he said. ''It really caught the imagination and people were coming to see it from all over."
The original plan was to feature Elvis Presley on this wall in Heywood. ''At the last minute no one could find a picture of Elvis,'' explained Walter. ''It wasn't like nowadays when you can just get them off the internet. Someone found one of Alvin Stardust who'd just had a song in the charts and we said, 'That'll do!'"
Members of the local community often turned out to help Walter and his team and it turned into quite a public spectacle. He painted this spitfire mural on a wall in Bury. Walter Kershaw: The UK's First Street Artist? is broadcast on Thursday 13 September at 11:30 BST on BBC Radio 4.