Local art brings Leith to life at night

Leith artists are being commissioned to brighten up Leith Walk by 'The Shutter Project' supported by the City of Edinburgh Council's I Love Leith initiative and LeithLate.

The shutters, used by businesses to close up their shops for the night, are being used as a blank canvas for local artists to display their work after hours.

Illustrator Jamie Johnson is the first of six artists to be selected to take part in the project and his work will be revealed when Gamesmaster Games Exchange (287 Leith Walk) closes for the night on Thursday, 28 June.

Jamie has worked with the owner of Gamesmaster to create a 2D retro gaming-style 'landscape' to reflect the business, which has been painted onto the Gamesmaster shutter. The final image will be very much in keeping with Jamie's own work, which is concerned both with mapping and other worldly narratives.

Cllr Tom Buchanan, Convener of the Economic Development Committee, said: "This is an excellent example of local collaboration to improve the look of the town centre. It is important that we encourage shopkeepers to look after their premises to create a good impression for potential customers passing by after hours."

Morvern Cunningham from LeithLate said: "We are proud to be collaborating with the City of Edinburgh Council on an initiative that brings high-quality artwork by talented artists onto the streets of the creative hub that is Leith."

Jamie Johnson, local artist, said: It is really good to be part of a local project, working with Dave to achieve something we are both happy with. It also adds to the cultural vibrancy of the area, which I think is important."

I Love Leith is part of a programme to build stronger town centres in Edinburgh and LeithLate is Leith's annual multi-arts event, now in its second year.

Businesses on Leith Walk interested in the project should contact Sarah Woodford at the City of Edinburgh Council - sarah.woodford@edinburgh.gov.uk or Morvern Cunningham of LeithLate - leithlate@gmail.com

Additional information:

Jamie Johnson

A graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone art school in Dundee but grew up in a flat opposite the shop on Leith Walk.  He was a Gamesmaster customer from an early age, getting his first Sega Game Gear around the age of eight and had regular visits to the shop with his mum as a boy, spending a lot of pocket money in the process! 

Dave Wilson

Dave Wilson has managed the Gamesmaster business for the last twenty years, and has borne witness to the shift from the 'retro' cartridge-style games exemplified by the Nintendo NES and Sega Mega Drive in the 80s, to contemporary discs for the Playstation and Wii, and, more increasingly, the upsurge in online gaming. 

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