Tech Moon’s lifelike murals provide a unique sense of realism which isn’t always present in graffiti art. He has a longstanding connection to Bournemouth, which can be seen on many of its once bleak walls. His most recent mural in Pokesdown is another example of his talents as an artist…
Anybody fond of graffiti and local to the greater Bournemouth area will be familiar with the colourful, striking graffiti murals around town of Technicolor Moon (or Tech Moon for short). The Dorset-based spray painter has painted a stunning Saharan elephant, a ‘fly on the wall’, and many more murals around the town centre. Having graduated from the AUB, Krishna Malla’s art has gained widespread recognition. Not just across Bournemouth, but around the country.
He found some time to speak with HQB about some of the details surrounding his career. As well as the recently-completed Pokesdown train station mural, featuring some animated doves of peace.
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO MAKE SO MANY VISIBLE MURALS AROUND BOURNEMOUTH?
It’s been a slow game — it took a long time to get to where I am today. I started in the events industry. When I graduated from uni, I shamelessly promoted myself and a lot of other artists as well with the event that I was working on. That gave me a platform to make a mark on the place where I am living, and also create work at the same time. Jobs have just snowballed off that and grown bigger and bigger. Each mural that I paint is a kind of billboard in itself, so it works for advertising.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR RECENT MURAL AT POKESDOWN STATION?
That job was one I did with Network Rail. A bit of a sensitive one to do with mental health within the area. Trying to detract from that to try and uplift the area, and make it a nicer place to be in. It’s all about positivity. There’s the symbolism about doves – inner peace and dealing with trauma from within. I involved a lot of shadow work, which is part of my style — at the end of every shadow there is light.
The idea is to make it “move”, from the perspective of the train. The train’s the moving element and there’s this big long wall. I tried to create an animation from it. Usually the image would move, but in this case you’re the moving component. At the end of the wall there are some birds flying, which gives an essence of flight as you’re moving down the wall.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR GRAFFITI TECHNIQUE?
I’m a graduate of the Arts University and I have a degree in illustration. I have some background knowledge of design; putting images together, colour theory and that kind of thing. I taught myself spray painting and it’s something I had a play about with when I was a lot younger. With any kind of medium with art, it’s just learning how to make the marks you have with the tools you’re working with. You learn lots of different techniques with making marks. How to make a fade, a sharp line, thicker lines, or fills, for example. There’s a lot of different components that make up an image.
I like painting realism, so nostrils in the nose can be really hard if you’ve spent loads of time on the surrounding detail of the face. Transferring images to a bigger scale is difficult as well. Something I’ve recently started working with is a “chicken scratch” technique and it’s essentially gridding. If you would grid a square piece of paper up to a metre, it helps you put reference points in. So I can scribble onto a wall, overlay my image with a camera and then it’s literally just a series of scribbles.
Any kind of mark making, scratches, symbols, numbers, whatever… it is allows me to see what goes where in the image. So when I’m up close at a wall, it’s really hard to step back quickly and look at what you’re painting. A lot of the time, I’m just painting shapes and lines that, in a way, join the dots to what I’m looking at.
ARE THERE ANY ARTISTS WHO HAVE INSPIRED YOUR WORK?
I wouldn’t want to just say there’s one or two specific artists. Entire newsfeeds of any social channels are just inundated with artwork. I’m surrounded and saturated by it. I’ve always been influenced by a lot of people. I really do look up to realism painters. It’s very challenging to do it with a spray can and a few people do it exceptionally well like Smug (Sam Bates from Glasgow).
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED FROM YOU IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I have a few small jobs coming up in the near future. It’s obviously been a weird year for painting. A job I’m looking forward to next year is an actor’s coach, which he has renovated and is now living in. I’m painting film posters and imagery around that, which will look cool — that’s in Bournemouth. I’m also painting a church next month, which I’ve never done before. It’s quite weird to be invited to do that too. And finally, in the new year, I’m going to Mexico to paint someone’s house, which is really exciting.
To see more from Tech Moon, check out his work on Instagram, or on his website. For more local stories concerning art, click here. And you can also follow HQB Media on all our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.