A STRIKING mural of Stan Laurel has appeared on wall in a ‘neglected part of a County Durham town - a walk away from where the comedy legend went to school.

The gigantic work was brainchild of street artists who felt he should be honoured in a part of Bishop Auckland "crying out for a sense of colour".

The labour of love, at the gable end of The Smoke House in Railway Street, grew from a community project spearheaded by Bish Vegas Legal Graff art collective.

The Northern Echo:

Dan Walls, who was joined by Raven Nelson-Flower and Michael Clarke in creating the mural, said “We spent three days smashing this Stan Laurel up. Its been one of the best weekends I had.

“We didn't stop laughing and had a really fun time. I knew it would turn out good, but didn’t expect it to be as spectacular it is and that it would attract as much attention as it has.”

He added: “It is something I personally wanted to give back to the town. Stan is a huge historical figure.

“He went to King James School, which is walking distance from our wall. We we thought with him being a big figurehead for the town it would be fitting commemorate him in this way - and to get people more people to that side of the town.

The Northern Echo:

“The industrial part of Bishop needs more people going to it. This is about self expression – making the area brighter and friendlier.

Dan said the only negative comment was someone asking why it had not put up in the top end of town.

He said: "My answer to that is because the top end of town wouldn’t have us.

“The town is sadly quite polarised. You have one end of town which is gentrified and has beautiful museums and art galleries, but town the bottom end gets neglected because it is old and industrial.

“I would love to reset the balance and have the Spanish Gallery and all the places up the top end of town put on the same pedestal, because as far as I am concerned, art is art – and it’s for everybody.”

Dan said a high definition photograph found online was used as a basis for the work, which was done in mixed media - from rollers and emulsion paints to spray paint. The outline was projected onto the wall.

The Northern Echo:

He added: “The biggest challenge was the height involved. We had a cherry picker donated from Planet Leisure in Newton Aycliffe and transported by Dale Robinson it free of charge.

The Bish Vegas Art Collective has been overseeing legal graffiti and street art on donated walls in Railway Street and Chester road

Raven is a tattoo artist based in Newcastle, while Michael, is a cartoonist and illustrator from Bishop Auckland, who works as a teaching assistant and Carmel College in Darlington.

Dan, of Bishop Auckland, runs Illumination Wall Art, which paints murals in children's rooms, as well as in and on pubs, football stadiums, and shop shutters.

He got a national diploma at Bishop Auckland College, before going to Leeds Met to complete fine arts degree.

Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston on June 16, 1890, but moved to Bishop Auckland where he lived in the Princes Street home with his parents. He was baptised in St Peter’s Church in the town in October 1891. He attended King James School as a boarder between 1902 and 1903.

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