Tag Archives: upnorthfest

Jack Mackem – The Sunderland Fitter


After a couple of years hiatus it was once again time for Upnorthfest. After the first one in Southport this time it was back but had gone further up north to Sunderland. After we’d loaded up the id-iomobile it was time to hit the road. A gruelling 6.5 hour drive saw us arriving around 1.30am where, thankfully, our gracious host was still up and receiving guests. (A big thanks to Pauline for putting us up and Frank for putting us in touch with her!)

The next morning we were up early and headed down to Studio Q where we’d be painting. Street work in late September is always something of a gamble so we were hugely relieved that it was blue skies and sunshine all round. We got shown to our wall but it hadn’t yet been painted with red oxide, the paint of choice for this year’s festival, so to start the day it was rollers at the ready with red oxide in hand. The first act of the day was managing to break the extendable roller so a quick trip to Homebase was in order. After that it was the laborious job of painting the wall with the glue-like red oxide.

Using the tower scaffold proved easier than anticipated once we’d managed to get the legs level and once the wall was dry it was time to move onto the main event – Jack Mackem the Sunderland Fitter. We’d done a little research in the hopes of coming up with a good design and it was revealed that historically the playing card the Jack of Clubs was also known as the Sunderland Fitter. Once we had this little nugget of information the design pretty much suggested itself.  The ‘Mackem’ ambigram in the middle was the final flourish and we’re left with the somewhat moody visage of Jack Mackem the Sunderland Fitter. As he’s the Jack of Clubs it’s probably fitting that he looks something like a bouncer. With any luck he’ll be gracing the streets for a couple of years so keep your eyes open if you’re up in the North East.




Comments Off on Jack Mackem – The Sunderland Fitter

Filed under art, Graffiti, Painting, stencil, street art

Pretty up North – id-iom @ UpNorthFest

For the first graffiti road trip of the year we headed up to Southport for the weekend to do a little painting at UpNorthFest. As seems to happen with alarming regularity we only managed to come up with a design at pretty much the last minute. Our final design features a huge version of Hugo’s head with Southport pier reflected in his sunglasses and the text ‘Hey la, it ain’t ‘alf pretty up north’ in the background. Our lackadaisical approach to planning left precious little time to cut it and get ready but we somehow managed to get it all done in time for departure.

Once we were all set up and disco bag was happily pumping out some tunes we got down to the messy business of creating the background. After we’d let the paint dry properly (a lesson learned the hard way) it was time to get the lettering and face up. Thankfully the weather remained good all day – or else our piece wouldn’t have made all that much sense! But you can’t let things like that worry you in advance… The reflection of Southport pier in his glasses seemed to go down well with the locals and I just like any excuse to get the chrome out!

On top of all that we had the extra bonus of catching up with old friends in the sunshine so all in all it was well worth the effort. Hopefully there will be the same again next year!



Stage 1 – getting the background done

Stage 2 – text

Stage 3 – Final pic with model posing next to it (he even has the same hat on!)

Stage 4 – Final – (You can see what a nice day it was!)


Filed under art, funny, Graffiti, Painting, stencil, street art