How did the commission come about?
David Long: Public and Live Art provid a portal for me to work in my element. Through my involvement with live art in the music scene, I began to establish my involvement within the local communities. I collaborated with LOCWS on an event entitled ‘Swansea Plinth’ last year and from that point my relationship with the organization gradually flourished.
How did you approach the local context and site?
From my own viewpoint, the High Street itself had remained in the undercurrents of the city for some time. The recent development had shed light on this area that was burdened with a sense of deprivation, but is in fact an intrinsic milestone in the history of the city. Beautiful structures stand as sentinels overlooking the streets where the unfortunate aesthetics of unemployment created an absence of community spirit for many years. This was the task at hand; to give back the community its sense of well being and to invigorate further development.
Can you talk about the title of the work?
“To Begin at the Beginning” is a literal title that represents a new chapter or even the turning over of a new leaf for the community. The quote from Dylan Thomas holds an ambiguous grasp of the artwork. The ‘beginning’ can manifest itself at any time and in any form and it is only from our collaborative efforts that Swansea will see it in our lifetime.
Where does the design come from?
When painting a mural or creating live art, the physical expression of painting each line is in my eyes as valuable as the finished piece, thus my chosen subjects often lie in nature, where every form is unique to its element and environment. These organic forms can act as an interesting juxtaposition between the acute angles of the city and the organic flow of nature.
Can you talk about the references in the work?
The crux of the design takes reference from ‘Under Milk Wood’ and also plays upon the archetypal swan that the city is famed for and that act as banners with which local communities can rally around and mutually appreciate. The nature of the work also draws inspiration from further afield however; contemporary Illustrators and urban artists such as Jeremy Fish, Ericailcane and ROA have inspired a continental approach that enable the design to breathe new life into the city.
What are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects?
My involvement in the city and the local community has only just begun. Having established myself in Swansea, I wish to pursue further projects and collaborate on a larger scale with the city. Plans are moving swiftly upon the establishment of an artist collective: ‘All One Word’ that aims to help students establish themselves within the city as well as further collaboration with communities and businesses.
A limited edition print of David Long’s work is available to purchase here