Step 1 – Find an old pencil sketch of Muhammad Ali that your dad did back in the 70’s in your auntie’s kitchen and decide that you want to do your own version of it. Attempt to find the reference photograph that he must have used but fail. #ali #muhammadali #mohammadali #mohammedali #stencil #art #contemporary #mural #paint #painting #wall #london #overcomplicated #sketch #70s #modern #street #urban #graffiti #lockdown #stepbystep #instructions It turns out Ali has been photographed thousands of times over the years and the internet is not particularly helpful when you can’t be very specific. No problem. You’ll just have to make the detail up yourself.
Step 2 – Using the arcane skills you’ve learned over the years turn the original sketch into a wall sized stencil and then apply to your wall in black. So far so good. This is easy.
Step 3 – After much deliberation about colour and the general direction you want the picture to take you decide on a nice bright red and go with the wallpaper with the hidden morse code message and sit back to admire your handiwork. You leave it overnight and decide to come back tomorrow to see if you’ve actually finished…
Step 4 – Have a harebrained idea about taking this piece next level by having it as three murals in one and then proceed to attempt to make this idea a reality. Constantly question whether it will work or just be an immense waste of your time. Add some detail to the hair area then try to take some classy shots. This could be as good as it gets. Really go for it and include the cat if you can and any other arty shots you can manage.
Step 5 – Apply tape to half the wall and then recolour the background in a vague approximation of the colours of the Islamic flag to denote his membership of the Nation of Islam in 1964 and his name change from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. Your idea already sounds pretty highfalutin but you’ll go with it all the same.
Step 6 – Add some white to the background then, using your meagre skills at skin tone and having no reference pic to go from (other than the photo of your dad’s pencil sketch), colour the face in and try to make it look at least a little convincing. Hmmm. You’ll have to try a little harder than that.
Step 7 – Fuss around for ages trying to get the skin tone looking at least a bit more believable. That’s a bit better. Best to stop now before you go too far. Admire your handiwork and take another pic. That’s two murals down. There’s no turning back now.
Step 8 – It’s reveal time! Find the ends of the tape that you applied to the wall in Step 5 and yank that stuff straight off the wall. You’re now officially a performance artist.
Step 9 – Now you get to see if your plan actually worked. Admire your handiwork and take a few more pics. Job done. Congratulations. Then it’s time to wonder if anyone has done this kind of thing before or if you’ve finally found your thing. Think about this for approximately five minutes before your attention is diverted by the next shiny idea to pass through your brain.