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Arts / Dirk’s dragon mural adds colour to SIBC building

‘Rain would occasionally wash away an afternoon’s worth of work’, artist says

Dirk Robertson showing off his work. Photo: Supplied

AN EYE-catching mural is now gracing the outside wall of the SIBC radio building in Lerwick.

Dirk Robertson recently put the finishing touches on the dragon-themed artwork on the wall at the car park off Market Street.

It is not the first time the Shetland artist has painted public pieces, having carried out work on a New Zealand hostel for example – as well as inside an Aberdeen bar and venue.

Robertson said he was “extremely flattered” to be asked to paint a large and bold public mural in such a prominent spot in Lerwick.

“I have already supplied the Outpost in Burra with a mural, however this is the first piece I have done in situ in the isle,” he told Shetland News.

“The obvious challenges were the weather. Rain would occasionally wash away an afternoon’s worth of work, the wind chill meant I found myself wearing long johns in September and the nights drawing in meant I couldn’t see what I was painting until I came back in the morning.”

The artist was first commissioned two years ago but parenthood and Covid impacted the project’s progress.

Robertson added that the painting was quite a social affair, due to the central location.

“Normally when working on art I’m hidden away in my basement all alone with the radio for company – of course I’m tuned into SIBC,” he said.

“During this project I was accompanied by a whole host of passers by who would check in on my progress along the way, swap stories, point out drips for me and even offer to help

“I throughly enjoyed and was humbled by the kind reaction I received while standing there, on my peerie scaffold, shivering in my long johns slapping paint on a rain drenched wall.”

Inga Walterson from SIBC said Robertson was only given “vague instructions of what we didn’t want and which colours we favoured”.

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“We didn’t want anything to do with radio and the preferred colours were shades of blue and grey,” she explained.

“He also had the challenge of not having a large section of wall to work on. Dirk submitted the design of dragons twisting and turning around the windows and doors, which we loved.”

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