Windmills have been around for thousands of years in one form or another but they’re not a particularly common sight nowadays. Brixton however has London’s only working windmill. It’s tucked away near the prison overlooking an estate. Originally it would have milled local flour, been surrounded by fields and been the best place to catch the prevailing wind. I know because I’ve had the guided tour.
To celebrate this hidden little gem and Brixton in general I’ve produced this image. I think that’s the best explanation I can come up with for its existence. It would be good to have a proper use for it. I should probably get on with some real work…
Since living in Brixton I’ve become enamoured with the phrase ‘Whagwan’. For the uninitiated, the phrase means ‘what’s going on’ in Jamaican Patois. The spelling can vary but the meaning doesn’t change.
Anyway, once I’d combined that with a nice little romantic statement and a bit of traditional Claddagh ring design, hey presto, I had this little declaration of love for Brixton. Then it was just a matter of adding it to the messy ‘graffiti wall’ style background and, by jingo, you’ve got it!
“Featuring some of Brixton’s more notable addresses – such as Billa’s 24hour booze, Happy Shopper and The Sultan – this is an exciting game that will bring long, tedious hours of ‘fun’ for all the family. Brought to you by id-iom and Parker Brothers”
We’ve just finished up our 1m x 1m Brixton Monopoly commission and are pretty pleased with the final result – especially considering how long this one managed to take. After a load of emails back and forth we came up with a finished design which incorporated elements from various international editions of Monopoly, some invented elements and a load of place names from around Brixton which had significance to the client. As they live near to us all the locations (including Billa’s 24hr booze and Pizza Man) are somewhat familiar to me too…
Despite the fact they are known to me many spaces on the board are undoubtedly unfamiliar to just about everyone else. If, however, you do happen to be know all the place names and are particularly eagle-eyed you may even notice that we even arranged the squares so that they are grouped together logically (i.e by location and/or function) and the board follows a circuit from locations at the bottom of Brixton up to the top of Brixton Hill.
By far the biggest problem was how to go about doing the small lettering for the place names so that it was the correct size and font whilst still being clearly legible. Using stencils was out as they would have been problematic and time-consuming to cut and wouldn’t have guaranteed the level of clarity which I felt was necessary. So we then had to experiment in order to come up with something that would work to our satisfaction. After a bit of research and some failed attempts en route we came upon the world of gel medium transfers which, once you’ve got the hang of it, gives a nice clean transfer – albeit with a little residue from the gel medium left on the canvas but I felt this was an adequate compromise given some of the other methods tried…
Once all the lettering was on it was largely downhill from there although it was relatively slow work due to the fact that any mistakes would be highly visible – so I had to be careful to make none. Thankfully it all passed with hardly a hitch although I was conscious that doing the line work last would only lead to higher stress levels until it was all safely completed as one small slip would have probably set me back a fair bit.
Below are a few in progress shots for those that like that kind of thing.
Title: Monopoly (Brixton edition)
Media: Spraypaint, stencils, paint pen, gel medium and varnish