REVIEW: Professor Pigment’s Trail & Error- The Movie

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!

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The ‘Trail & Error’ Guide


For more information on ProPig’s Trail & Error:

https://www.facebook.com/ProfessorPigment/?fref=ts 

http://www.doddz.co.uk/trail-and-error 

 

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Interview: Professor Pigment (ProPig)

Professor Pigment (or more commonly known as ProPig) has been making quite a name for himself around the city as he continues to create his pieces of ‘positive vandalism’ across Stoke-on-Trent. Now graffiti and stenciling might not be to everyone’s taste but to neither is renaissance art or impressionism, and I for one am a big fan of the way in which ProPig is using street art to draw everyone’s attention to the things that make our city great. After emailing ProPig’s communications team with a few questions in order to find out a bit more about this elusive character, I was delighted to see that they had been answered. Here’s what I found out about the Potteries’ Painter…

Firstly, he tells me that he has always been interested in street art. Using the bus regularly and looking out the window gave him ample opportunities to observe other graffiti tags and in his own words, after thinking to himself “How the hell did that get up there?” he decided he should probably find out. ProPig has been using Stoke as a canvas for about 2 years now and is still enjoying working on new ideas in the studio.

When I asked which of his pieces is his favourite, he gave me two examples. (See photos below) ‘Fortress Britannia’ because it was “fun to put up” (although I’m not sure dangling above the canal by a rope would constitute “fun” for everyone…) and the second piece is ‘Victoria’, which people have made a real connection with as it “reminds people of their own lives.” I think my personal favourite might be ‘Go home Cupid, we’re drunk’ just because it couldn’t have been painted in a more perfect location (Trinity Street, Hanley).

Turning to the question of inspiration, ProPig cited the city’s rich heritage as the main source of ideas for his work as he is “spoilt for choice” when it comes to choosing pieces of Stoke’s history that are worth celebrating. Events in his personal life have also caught his imagination: “We all have the same problems so I find this an effective method of connecting with people.” 

Finally, I asked ProPig where he thinks Stoke is headed in the future, and he concluded that Stoke is “definitely on the up” mentioning the European City of Sport title that Stoke has been awarded and the bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

So there we have it, ProPig on his artwork, his inspiration & his hopes for the city. I think Professor Pigment’s positive vandalism is an asset to have on our city streets and who knows, maybe his work will encourage other budding street artists to start trying out their own ideas too. (See Below?)

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Bryan Street, Hanley. A new piece of Street Art? Artist Unknown.


 

Professor Pigment’s website: http://www.propig.org/

Professor Pigment’s facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ProfessorPigment/?fref=ts