AN EYECATCHING wall mural had heads turning in Lurgan town centre this week.
Locals have been intrigued and impressed by the massive image of a beautiful woman which appeared on the gable wall of Wade Training in Market Street.
Even as artist Dermot McConaghy began painting “The Wish” on Friday, scores of people stopped to pay homage to his work.
And though it is already only days old, it has been proving a huge hit with many taking photos of the effigy.
The 32-year-old artist said: “I was eyeing up that wall since I was about 14.”
Dermot, who is from the Lough Road area, started as a graffiti artist and it when one of his friends had ‘tagged’ that particular wall ‘really badly’ he put his mind to putting his own stamp on it.
A former pupil of St Paul’s and St Michael’s, Dermot said he almost got kicked out of school for painting graffiti in the toilets.
However, he focused his talent and trained at Lurgan Tech, graduating in 2006, spending recent years doing art projects with organisations such as the Millennium Arts Centre.
“I do art projects to pay the bills but it is my own art that I want to do,” he said.
Dermot said he spoke to someone in Wade a number of weeks ago and asked if he could paint the wall.
He was delighted that Wade were very supportive and after a number of discussions, Dermot decided to create this image, he has named “The Wish”.
“‘The Wish’ represents a girl blowing a dandelion clock and making a wish,” explained Dermot.
The artist said he wanted to assure Wade that he would paint something positive.
“Most of the stuff I do can appear to be quite dark. They wanted something positive.”
Of the woman in the mural, he said: “It is like having a dream, having hope and going for it.
“I think that is what Wades is about too, helping people better their lives.”
It took Dermot three days. He started at 7am on Friday and worked from 7am to 7pm each day.
Wade Training organised a cherry picker for him and Dermot worked with another artist friend, Jonny McKerr (JMK), who looked from the ground and kept him right as far as perspective was concerned.
“His input was so important to getting the piece right as it was such a big piece,” said Dermot.
“Unfortunately in Craigavon there is a certain idea about art murals and it is usually about politics,” said Dermot.
He added that a lot of the work now is done via community groups. “I paint a piece to be true. It is for the public but not owned by anyone,” he said.
Dermot said he had a huge feedback when he was working on it with loads of people watching him work and encouraging him, beeping horns and wishing him well.
“A lot of people are talking about the town being dead. Maybe these wee pieces of art might change that,” he said.
Annesley Renshaw; Wade Training Ltd. MD said: “For me ‘The Wish’ exhibits a real reflection of hope and positivity for our young people, so it fits perfectly with Wade Training’s company values in addressing and striving to meet the needs of the unemployed in our community.
“Dermot has such a talent, the mural looks absolutely fantastic, it is a stunning piece of work and sure to be a hot talking point in Lurgan and beyond.
“I would urge local companies and property owners to offer space to Dermot and give him the opportunity to showcase his unique art and skill”
On Facebook the image has gone viral with lots of positive comments.