Street art paintings spread positivity to Leeds locals

By Jessica Bayley

Image courtesy of Andy McVeigh on Instagram

Artists of Leeds have brought a bit of colour to the city in an attempt to brighten up both the streets and people’s days as well as an attempt to dissuade graffiti taggers.

With the onset of the colder months, many places are beginning to look a lot greyer and gloomier but despite the cooler tones of winter, colourful artworks can be found all across the streets of Leeds. 

‘Burley Banksy’, Andy McVeigh, has done around 50 paintings across Leeds, featured from Headingley to Elland Road.

He began painting across the city around four years ago. “I started painting over some of the boxes that were covered in tagging, just to stop the area going downhill,” he said.

He told Yorkshire Voice that his Dad had been assaulted, last year, by some people graffiti tagging in Burley.

The Burley Banksy highlighted this incident as an extreme of what happens when people lose pride in where they live.

Image via Andy McVeigh on Instagram

“I just wanted to counteract some of this,” he added.

Many others have followed suit, with university students, professional artists and more all doing as Mr McVeigh has done, each with their own unique style.

George Addy is another artist from Leeds, who was part of a project run by some Headingley residents, in 2016, which entailed the painting of the Virgin Media boxes.

Image courtesy of George Addy via Instagram

Mr Addy said: “The project’s intention was to make the electrical boxes interesting and colourful to brighten up the area – also to deter graffiti.”

While the plethora of paintings all over the city may have different styles, designs and canvases, they all share the effect of spreading positivity to the people of Leeds.

George Addy said: “My intention for the painting was to make something that caught people’s eye, lift people’s mood, and just get a bit more colour onto the streets.”

Becky Kedge, 19, a resident of Headingley said: “I really like walking around and seeing all of the paintings, I think they just brighten up the streets and give it some character.”

Mr Addy added that he wanted his paintings to be “a reminder there’s always something nice and bright in your life.”

Mr McVeigh echoed this, he said: “I didn’t realise how much it meant to people it has kind of blown me away.”

He described the responses which he has had from people as “overwhelming”, with people telling him that his works make their day.

The Burley Banksy is working on more Leeds United paintings and professional artists are having street art commissioned in the near future.

Image via Andy McVeigh on Instagram
Image via Andy McVeigh on Instagram

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