Poster campaign marks Edinburgh Art Festival start

SOME of Edinburgh’s most celebrated artists, writers, pop stars and footballers are to feature on thousands of advertising posters, postcards, badges and even beer mats for the city’s festival season.

Ross Sinclair with some of the works. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Writers Sir Walter Scott, Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh, and musicians The Bay City Rollers, The Proclaimers and The Rezillos are among those being given top billing as part of an Edinburgh Art Festival project.

The celebrities are joined by others including, the late Hibernian FC legend Lawrie Reilly and portrait and landscape painter Sir Henry Raeburn.

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They will be appearing across the city in various forms in works being created by Ross Sinclair, for a special commission – Real Life and How to Live it in Auld Reekie – aimed at examining issues of local and national identity and Scotland’s relationship with culture and history.

Ross Sinclair with some of the works. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

They will feature on about 500 poster sites across the city, as well as on a huge installation on Calton Road, next to the Ingleby Gallery.

The festival has also produced 20,000 beer mats, 12,000 postcards, 1,000 badges, 500 bags and 15 metal signs which have been distributed at various sites across the city.

Fictional Scots, such as Scotty from Star Trek, Groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons, cartoon icon Oor Wullie, and even Shrek – as well as a roll call of Scottish kings and queens – will appear on some of the items.

Mr Sinclair, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, said: “To me, there has always been something a bit ‘peacock and feathers’ about Edinburgh, that it was always somehow on top, with its history, architecture and literature, but I was really interested in showing Edinburgh in all its light and shade.

“It’s not just about the billboards – something like 43,000 different works of art have been produced for this and they are being matched to specific locations.”

However, the less appealing aspects of the capital, including drug deaths, statistics for suicide and the city’s most deprived housing schemes, also feature in the Edinburgh project.

The city’s most notorious serial killers, Burke and Hare, also have a starring role.

Among the locations where Mr Sinclair’s work can be seen over the next month will be Harvey Nichols department store, The Oxford Bar, Camera Obscura, The Mash Tun bar on Easter Road, the Scott Monument and Gayfield Square police station.

Sorcha Carey, director of the Edinburgh Art Festival, said: “All of Ross’s work is really an extended reflection on identity and how it is constructed.”