CURIOUS South Tynesiders don’t have to disappear down a rabbit hole to see the country’s first glow-in-the-dark ultra-violet street art.
A giant image, based on the Lewis Carroll book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, has been created on the side of the old science block at Chuter Ede Community Association in South Shields.
The mural is unique in that it is the first outdoor UV piece surrounded by lights and timers to ensure it gives off an ethereal blue glow at night.
The work was created by artists Frank Styles and his partner “Irony” as part of the Street Art Heroes project for the Cultural Spring, a programme to promote the arts in 10 wards in South Tyneside and Sunderland.
The project was a blast from the past for project leader and South Shields-born artist Gary Hunter because 36 years ago, he was punished for spraying graffiti at Chuter Ede.
He said: “I was caned when I was 15 at Chuter Ede for doing some graffiti at the school, so I’m very happy to be able to contribute something more positive 36 years later.
“This exciting development in site-specific street art references Lewis Carroll’s frequent visits to South Tyneside and the street in Biddick Hall named after him, Carroll Walk, is augmented by special UV lighting at dusk.
“In a world first, UV paint is illuminated at night. bringing up the detailed portrait of Alice by artist Irony and the calligraffiti by locally-based Frank Styles.”
The work shows a giant Alice trying to break out from the surreal work surrounding her.
The text around her is a letter about a missing part of the story cut out of the book because the illustrator didn’t want to draw it.
Mr Styles said: “Irony had created a few indoor works of art using UV paint, but this is the first time one like this has been made outside.
“Due to the weather conditions, we were there for a week.
“Normal paint is used, then afterwards the UV paint is applied to certain areas to make them stand out more.
“It’s a very striking piece, and it’s a shame that it’s not in a more prominent place, so it could be seen by more people. Hopefully, once people realise it’s there, they will go along to enjoy it.”