Art space oddity as OuthouseMCR laments lack of ch, ch, ch, changes

Anyone who regularly visits the Northern Quarter in Manchester will be aware of the strict street art rotation in operation in Stevenson Square and other areas.

It’s all part of the #outhouseMCR project which started life as a way of encouraging  something a little more creative than offensive tagging on the boards covering the closed down public loos outside Fred Aldous.

The legendary art supplies shop sponsors the project to the tune of around £150 per month and that makes perfect sense – literally encouraging art on its own doorstep.

Each piece of #outhouseMCR artwork is supposed to remain in place for around three months before being replaced. But now it seems the project has become a victim of its own success, with artists reticent about painting over some of the better known works.

I bump into Jay, part of the #outhouseMCR team, as an artist who has just flown into the UK from Hong Kong – see below – is putting the finishing touches to the latest piece to decorate one of the ventilation shafts that stand at either end of the “gallery”.

He explains a little bit about how #outhouseMCR has taken shape in recent years, attracting artists from all over the world and a fair few fans too (pre-publicity has now stopped to allow artists the time to work undisturbed). 

The great irony, he says, is that many local artists would prefer not to paint over some of the more famous works, including the striking image of David Bowie. He personally took flak for painting over the picture of Prince which appeared on the Tib Street sub-station (also home to Manchester’s Banksy). A super cool image of Richard Roundtree as John Shaft currently graces that space.

He adds: “It’s understandable but many of the Manchester artists are concerned about getting grief for removing some of the of works, even though they’re only meant to be there for three months at a time. We’ve ended up speaking to guys from London about it.”

Sadly, he’s concerned about the current state of Manchester’s Banksy given the potential damage done by condensation during the time it’s been hidden behind Perspex.

Jay also explains that most of the street art appears in locations where private landlords or tenants have given approval, adding to the vibrancy of the Northern Quarter.

Freshly painted, and on the opposite side of the Bowie ventilation shaft, the latest piece of street art was completed by the artist Used Pencil, who’s done a number of works around the Northern Quarter. He’s originally from Kendal and now lives in Lisbon and was kind enough to give me this brief video interview about his work.

To see more street art from the Northern Quarter take a look at the gallery I’ve put together here.

And if you’re thinking of paying a visit, why not check out some of the accommodation below.

EasyHotel Manchester.