Scots artist Paolozzi immortalised in shop mural

ONE of Scotland’s greatest ever artists has been immortalised in a striking new mural - on a derelict shop front.

Russell Ian Dempster puts the finishing touches to his mural of Eduardo Paolozzi. Picture: Jon Savage

Eduardo Paolozzi, one of Britain’s leading post-war sculptors and a figurehead of the “Pop Art” movement, has been honoured with a striking work of art close to his former home in Leith, nine years after his death.

It is hoped the site on Henderson Street, next to a bus stop and close to the fashionable Shore area, will help raise awareness of Paolozzi’s connections to the area he was born into in 1924. His nearest works of art can be found outside St Mary’s Cathedral, at the top of Leith Walk, although the site is outwith Leith’s boundary.

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Fife artist Russell Ian Dempster was commissioned by the award-winning arts project Leith Late, which has been working to brighten up shop fronts and neglected sites in the area for the last couple of years.

Russell Ian Dempster with his mural. Picture: Jon Savage

Paolozzi, who was famously inspired by the packaging in his father’s ice cream and sweet shop, decided against following in his footsteps. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art in Edinburgh, heading to London to St Martin’s School of Art and then Slade School of Art, before moving to Paris, in 1947.

The work is based on a drawing created by Dempster and then transformed into five huge posters, which he has then assembled together into a fractured portrait.

Dempster, 32, who was merely asked to create a mural with connections to Leith, said: “Not that many people in Leith have actually heard of Eduardo Paolozzi and if they have they don’t realise he was actually brought up there.

“The work is still being finished but is already getting an amazing reaction from people - they are already really protective of it.

“I got a lot of help putting all the pieces into place from the pub next door and people really seem happy with the change, as the site was looking really run-down before.

“I’ve been told the site used to be an old ice cream shop, which is another really nice connection.”

Morvern Cunningham, founder of Leith Late, said: “It’s strange that you can’t actually see Paolozzi’s work in public in Leith, considering he was one of the founders of the whole Pop Art movement. He is really under-represented in the area where he was from so hopefully this will help address that.”