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Street art has legs on Castle Steps

Street Art Octopus 2017 ( Photo John Bugeja) 17-10-17 Jessica Darch painting of an octopus in a restored derelict building in Castle Steps Architects Alain Navarro and Alex Dobbs of the newly refurbished building.

A large octopus mural has been hand-painted onto the side of a Castle Steps building measuring some 22 metres in length.

University friends Alain Navarro, Alex Dobbs and Jessica Darch have come together to create the octopus, which has stunned passers-by.

Ms Darch is the painter, while Mr Navarro and Mr Dobbs are the architects of the building, with the idea of the octopus being that it is a species native to the Bay of Gibraltar that is protected and subject to a seasonal fishing ban.

The octopus took Ms Darch 10 days to paint using acrylics, using one metre by one metre grids as a guide.

The octopus measures eight metres in height by 22 metres in length and the aim of the project was to bring a fresh look to a previously derelict building.

Ms Darch worked “old school”, painting by hand for around seven to eight hours a day.

The idea of painting a street art mural on the wall has been in the works for a year and a half, and the trio ultimately decided on an octopus as its shape lent itself to the building.

“It was the only thing I could think of that was going to encompass the whole façade,” Ms Darch said.

She added that everyone who had walked past the octopus had “loved it”.

“All the neighbours have been watching me while I have been painting it, they are all thrilled with it, especially the younger ones they all love having an octopus on their street,” she said.

Mr Dobbs added: “What is also fun is all the cruise ships tourists walk up here to get to the Moorish Castle so although it is for Gibraltarians we have people from all over the world seeing it.”

The octopus is a residential building that aims to be completed by the end of the year with Mr Dobbs and his family set to move into one of the flats.

“We were trying to make people smile, it is not a political statement or trying to shock anyone, it is trying to bring a bit of joy and I think that is the reaction we have received from everyone,” Mr Dobbs said.

For Mr Navarro there was never the intention to deface the building and instead the team hoped to create a positive contribution to street art.

The octopus can be seen at the top end of Castle Steps just before reaching Willis’s Road.

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