Column: Street art can transform Kirkcaldy town centre landscape

Mural in Brick Lane, London, in tribute to much loved local man, Charlie Burns., the 'King of Bacon Street' who died aged 96.Mural in Brick Lane, London, in tribute to much loved local man, Charlie Burns., the 'King of Bacon Street' who died aged 96.
Mural in Brick Lane, London, in tribute to much loved local man, Charlie Burns., the 'King of Bacon Street' who died aged 96.
Imagine a town centre filled with street art.

We are sitting with a blank canvas of shop fronts, vennels and gable ends just crying out to be transformed from dull, miserable grey into a riot of colour.

To that artwork, add light, and suddenly, the landscape comes to life.

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Sure, the critics will say “give us shops” even before the seal has been broken on the first tin of paint.

We can’t magic up a new M&S and let’s nail the myth Primark will ever come to Kirkcaldy. They won’t. Not now. Not ever.

But while the long, often painfully slow process of filling the empty units too easily abandoned by major companies and lazy landlords goes on, there is something we can do - and that’s create, literally, a vibrant town centre.

All it needs is creativity, a canvas and cash,

We got the first two in abundance, and the last one is already being worked on.

Street art can transform places.

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Take a trip across to Leith and walk around what used to be a grim old port. Today, the streets of the people’s republic are filled with gems just waiting to be discovered.

You’ll find everything from a nod to Trainspotting to a smashing mural in honour of the amazing Eduardo Paolozzi. Naturally, it’s stuck right behind a bus shelter. That never happened to Rembrandt.

Leith is a melting pot of creativity when it comes to street art. At the foot of Leith Walk, the old depot has become a constantly changing work of art as people add messages and murals which say so much about the area’s sense of character.

If you are in the Grassmarket, head up Candlemakers Row and you can’t miss the stunning set of bright red wings which have become such a focal point - and yes everyone stands in front of them for the obligatory selfie.

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There’s nothing- to prevent Kirkcaldy town centre doing something similar.

Kerry Wilson’s artwork on the steps of the Postings is fabulous.

An area that was once a dire, crumbling mess is now bright and welcoming - but let’s not stop there.

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I was in London a couple of weeks ago, and took a trip to Brick Lane where barely a wall hasn’t been coloured in.Sure, some of it is graffiti, but so much of it is jaw-dropping art which throws layer after layer of colour on to every corner.

For me, the stand out mural was one which celebrated the life and times of a local character.

The mural shows an old fella in a bunnet and the legend ‘the king of Bacon Street.’ His name was Charlie Burns and he died in 2012 aged 96.

Brick Lane was honouring one of its own with that mural, and we should do likewise - celebrate living and recent history, capturing the people who make Kirkcaldy what it is.

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For me, that means Jocky Wilson, not Adam Smith - someone folk knew, admired, drank with and made them proud.

Art works when it speaks to people and reflects their lives and aspirations.

Let’s get busy, let’s get creative

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