A new mural designed by Anthony Burrill has appeared in Leeds city centre, marking a positive start to 2021 and is the graphic artist's biggest ever work to date.
Based on the side of a historic canal-side building, 'You&Me, Me&You' features a message of unity during a moment in history when the world has never felt more divided. But interestingly, the project began in the middle of 2019, way before the global pandemic and all the turbulent events of the last 12 months.
That said, Anthony's design "couldn't feel more relevant for the current time," says In Good Company founder and curator Laura Wellington, who collaborated with Burrill on the 88ft high artwork. "From the start, the plan was that this piece will be here for the people of Leeds for centuries, but I think it's the perfect message of unity to start 2021 - a year when continued connection and community will be so vital."
Burrill's work has been showcased in galleries and museums around the world from the V&A Museum in London to the National Design Museum in New York. Despite studying graphic design at Leeds Polytechnic (now Leeds Beckett), this is the first time one of his works has had a permanent place in Leeds.
"Leeds is the city where I first studied graphic design," Burrill tells Creative Boom. "The people and the place left a powerful imprint on me and has shaped the artist I have become. It's great to return the favour and make a piece of art that connects me back to the city. And amazing to have such a huge canvas to work with. Putting art on the streets is a way to give a place back to its community, and it means a lot that we've been able to do it on this monumental scale."
Burrill's design was brought to life by multidisciplinary studio Bread Collective, along with funding and support from local property firm King & Co. "Trust is such an important part of a project like this," adds Laura. "You can't do something this big and public for a city without property owners, but you can end up with design-by-committee. It takes a partnership with someone like King and Co, who really trusted me to find the right artist and then trusted Anthony to do something brilliant, to create a piece this powerful."
Of course, this isn't the first time In Good Company has curated large-scale street art projects. Previous collaborations include The Barge by Benjamin Craven and Jenny Beard, Victoria Road by Morag Myerscough and Graphical House by Mr Penfold. Laura's venture has also raised over £15,000 for the NHS with its Posters for the People public art initiative.