‘Street art is an antidote’: Spectacular substation mural unveiled in St Anne’s

The Crescent Gardens’ art project in St Anne’s-on-sea has been completed, with a new mural being unveiled, marking the end of a six year-long plan. 

The mural, painted by local artist Karl Tsang of Graffiti Pro, decorates the gardens’ substation, and features a forest scene showing birds and critters, such as foxes and rabbits.

He said: “My design proposal came from the environment itself… it was one of those situations where the minute I looked at it I knew what it was going to look like.”

The project was jointly funded by St Anne’s Town Council and Fylde District Borough Council, with help from the Fylde Community Grant and was revealed at the weekend.

Speaking of the importance of public art, Mr Tsang said: “It’s something that can improve wellness. It can make the commute to work or school a lot more cheerful. Street art is an antidote, it’s there to be shared by everybody.”

He added: “Where I’ve been working, in the kind of places you wouldn’t necessarily venture down at night, I’ve had OAPs stopping me and saying, ‘since you guys have started painting, I feel safe to come down here’.”

At the mural unveiling, Monica Pople, local resident and member of the Friends of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Gardens, whose effort was instrumental in bringing the project into fruition, gave a short speech thanking all those involved.

She said: “It was 2017 that the original committee met to discuss a project to enliven these gardens and to see it turn out so beautifully is really wonderful.”

At the event, acknowledgements were also made to St Anne’s in Bloom, the Friends of St Anne’s Station, Fylde Council’s Parks and Gardens team and the Fylde Ranger Service for their hard work.

Karl Tsang has painted graffiti murals on skateparks, in restaurants and even in people’s bedrooms (credit: Graffiti Pro)

Since entering his seventh year as a commercial graffiti artist, Mr Tsang said he’d noticed a change in the perception of the art form.

“[Graffiti] has always had a stigma about it… the fact that street art came about and mainstreamed it, really helped,” he said.

He added: “What you would find, up until very recently, any media coverage of graffiti would be about crime, vandalism, damage. Now it’s actually the word people use to talk about my kind of work.”

Since the artwork is complete, shrubs and plants are expected to be reintroduced around the substation to bring more life back to the gardens.