Is this York’s largest ever artwork? Urban artists from LA turn eyesore wall into epic mural

14 Mar 2017 @ 9.02 pm
| Business, Entertainment
Epic art: the wall being transformed. Photographs: Jeff Clark / Art Of Protest Gallery

It is art that will not only take your breath away – but probably give you a crick in the neck too.

This magnificent mural now covers a vast wall in York – as a new art gallery announces its arrival in the boldest way possible.

Covering 7.6m by 12.8m it is quite possibly the largest piece of art ever made in the city.

It was created by two of the world’s leading urban artists, Defer and Big Sleeps, from Los Angeles.

The scale of the task is seen here
They are leaders in urban typography

They were commissioned by the team behind the new gallery, Art Of Protest, which has just opened on the corner of Little Stonegate and Back Swinegate.

With the blessing of owner Nick Brown, they turned the blank concrete wall of department store Browns’ goods-in area into something far more eye-catching.

Art Of Protest Gallery

16 Little Stonegate, York

Open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm; Sat 11am-5pm


Defer and Big Sleeps are typographic artists from the K2S crew.

Showing the detail
An eyesore transformed

Big Sleeps and friends

Popular around the world

With another artist Retna, they established the LA written word genre in the 80s and 90s which is now popular in galleries across the major art centres of the world.

They were in the UK to deliver paintings to The Art of Protest Gallery after a convention in Paris.

After being immersed in the history of York for a few hours, they were inspired to create a work which weaved in the historical moments of York’s long past.

‘I hope York and its visitors love it’ – Defer

Defer said:

Combining different text in layers often using Arabic calligraphy, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Hebrew, Native American, Eastern calligraphy traditions and medieval typographies in a layered style allows me to give viewers glimpses of meaning and hide messages within a striking overall composition.

I hope York and its visitors love it as much as we do.

The view from the gallery

Jeff Clark from Art of Protest Gallery said it instantly turned an eyesore into “York’s newest attraction”, adding:

Art is subjective and it needs to challenge.

Not only have we helped Brown’s get rid of the eye sore, we have created a vibrant piece of art that will get people talking and divide opinion.

The City of York is privileged that Defer chose York to create his first mural in Europe.

On top of their game
From the dizzy heights to street level

For the last ten years Jeff and Craig Humble have been representing artists while working for Europe’s largest publisher.

Jeff subsequently worked in the US with Hoerle Guggenheim and Symbolic Galleries where he first met Defer.

Calligraphy, Egyptian hieroglyphs and more can be seen in the mural

Craig said:

Now we wanted to have our own gallery space exhibiting the media, and politically charged visual culture which has dominated since the early 70’s but is often only available to own via galleries in the capital cities of the world.
Wall-to-wall painting

The Art Of Protest is the latest addition to the area known as The Quarter, the hub for independent retailers as well as bars and eateries.

Already quite the crowd puller