Last night, I spent part of my evening down at the Staffordshire University Film Theatre, for the premiere of Professor Pigment’s ‘Trail & Error- The Movie’. In case you missed it, Professor Pigment is a street artist, dubbed Stoke-on-Trent’s answer to Banksy and he has been sharing his Stoke-inspired art with the rest of the city for nearly 3 years.
Monday night’s event celebrated the creation of ‘Trail & Error’: an urban art trail that allows the visitor to explore the best of ProPig’s work to date, while reflecting on the trial and error process that life so often follows. More specifically, the gathering allowed guests to watch the never-seen-before ‘Trail & Error: The Movie.’ The film celebrates the impact that Professor Pigment’s artwork has had within the community and told a number of inspiring stories that showcased the artist’s generosity as well as his talent. Perhaps the best example of this is his lasting memorial for Jordan Burndred. ProPig customised the football stand named after the 17-year-old, after he so sadly died from a cardiac arrest that he suffered on holiday in Turkey. Jordan’s mother was featured in the documentary expressing just how much of a boost this gesture gave her, especially over the difficult Christmas period.
The overwhelming theme running throughout the documentary (made by Inspired Film & Video) is that Stoke-on-Trent is a unique city which has a great deal to celebrate, if only we’d stop whinging about Hanley bus station and look around a bit more. His passion for the area is plain to see and his desire to depict the best of Stoke-on-Trent is infectious, whether it may be talented musicians like Slash; the mighty Staffordshire oatcake or Stoke City Football club. I came away from the premiere determined to do the same. (The celebrating-the-best-bits-of-Stoke-on-Trent part that is, not the street art!)
The biggest surprise of the evening was undoubtedly the revealing of Professor Pigment’s true identity. At the end of the documentary and his message to the audience, the 21 year old Staffs Uni student stood up and thanked everyone for coming. He also discussed his plans to take a bit of a break from street art, but promised to return under the alias “DODDZ” (taken from his ‘Defy the Odds’ motto I presume). No doubt this change represents an attempt to broaden his art and impact beyond Stoke-on-Trent, as defying the odds is an idea that everyone can relate to, not just Stokies. While it’s certainly tempting to try and limit ProPig’s canvas to just our city, I’m sure we can all agree that other areas and communities could benefit greatly from his perceptive social commentary.
Good luck Professor Pigment, just don’t forget where you came from!
For more information on ProPig’s Trail & Error: