The Dublin City Council (DCC) in Ireland is not happy with an artist collective known as Subset, who has been painting a series of colorful and interesting murals on buildings around the city. In fact, they went full “preacher from Footloose” and painted over all the works of art with a dull grey. Funny thing about a big grey wall, it makes for a heck of a canvas.
Local rapper and comedian, Blindboy Boatclub, discussed the situation in a recent interview: Subset have been brightening up dull spaces all over Dublin. People were engaging… taking selfies, having craic [fun conversation]. That’s what art is supposed to be, socially engaged. A genuinely engaging spectacle for real people, not just hidden away in a gallery for those with an art education. Dublin council have disappointed me. How is it OK to paint a wall one dull color of paint? But it’s illegal to paint the same space with multiple colors.
What makes the move on the part of the DCC even more infuriating is that the murals were created on private property and the artists all had permission from the property owners. The mechanism that the government is using to paint over them is that the city requires permits for each painting. These permits are calculated by the square meter. When you take into account that some of these murals cover the entire side of a building, that means a single mural permit could cost thousands of dollars.
The good news here is that it’s hard to suppress art, and in the wake of this ridiculousness, the #greyareaproject has popped up. The new movement is a partnership between members of Subset and any other artist who is pro mural. The result of the project has been stunning. Check out some of their work below.
It’ll be interesting to see how stubborn the DCC is. They could continue to paint over amazing art forever. On the upside, it looks like Dublin could become a mecca for Mural artists looking to stick it to the system.