Maser, one of Ireland’s leading street artists, headed west in 2020 to collaborate with Foroige Ballina’s Neighbourhood Project to celebrate the theme of ‘Place’ by creating some iconic street art. This, of course was the year of the great Covid-19 disruption, and things didn’t go *quite* to plan.
While Maser (and his lovely partner Dee) managed to create their flagship piece, on Connolly Street (Hill Street) Ballina, the community wall to be painted with the Foroige group met no fewer than four false starts. It was finally completed, restriction-free, in early summer 2022.
The finished artwork at Connolly Street, Ballina.
But back to the main piece, for whom we have John Clarke of Ballina’s famous Clarke’s Salmon Smokery to thank for allowing us to use his building.
Said Maser at the time:
“The concept for my mural at Ballina Fringe Festival is to approach the theme of ‘The Place’ in a considered and abstract way. It will be especially designed to be inclusive to locals and visitors alike, encouraging positive engagement and discourse by people from all walks of life. Taking my point of departure from the North Mayo phrase ‘it’s not just a place to visit, but a place where you feel alive’, my ambition is to capture the vibrant energy of Ballina town with my signature style of street art.”
The piece, he says, was created in response to the flora and fauna of rural Ireland, as discovered and newly appreciated by so many of us within our own 5km during those strange days of lockdown.
Finally, in May 2022, Maser and Foroige Ballina’s Neighbourhood Project got to realise their long awaited street art collaboration, and in doing so, brought a whole lot of colour to a badly neglected and run-down site right beside Ballina Arts Centre, on Barrett St.
The group drew initial inspiration from the green and red of Mayo. Their main idea focused around bees, a honey pot and and a field of bee friendly flowers. They had heard a lot about Ballina Community Cleanup Group’s Beelieve in Ballina biodiversity initiative and liked the idea of it. They also loved the street art created by Friz and Involve Ballina and the North Mayo Youth Project in 2019 and wanted theirs to look just as child friendly. We think they’ve definitely achieved all they set out to!
Here’s the finished artwork at Barrett Street, Ballina.
The prep work for both walla was carried out by volunteers from Ballina Community Cleanup Group.