Revamping the Northern Quarter


Written by Sinan Jefferies
Photos and illustrations by Ric Lowe
20 Sunday 20th November 2011

Spiritual home of Manchester’s counterculture, The Northern Quarter grew as an alternative to the traditionally commercial shopping and entertainment services that dominate the nearby city centre. From Afflecks Palace to Piccadilly Records to the Nexus Art Café, the area boasts many independent businesses each painstakingly carving out its own niche in an attempt to draw the city’s media-savvy uber-cats to its bosom.


On the Eastern front of the Northern Quarter, a brand new art installation towers above passers by. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It is in fact… a proper massive bird. Yes, bigger than Michelle McManus, bigger than the debt crisis, and bigger than any blue tit that ever existed, may we introduce Sheffield based artist Faunagraphic’s latest installation courtesy of Converse!



Located on Newton Street, the piece will remain on display for the next month or so and was commissioned by Converse as part of their ‘Wall to Wall’ project that has created larger-than-life street art installations across Europe in cities including Antwerp, Barcelona and Naples.



Far from being the only recent change to the appearance of the Northern Quarter, people may also have noticed that the outhouse area on Stephenson Square has also been furnished with several new and impressive works of art. Formerly a public toilet, the space was up until recently the canvas of choice for a large photo-realistic graffiti piece by Spanish Master of Arts Belin. The subject of the piece: none other than the distinctively beardy Hoya:Hoya bossman Jonny Dub.



Having survived at least one penis tagging in its time, Jonny’s face was unable to withstand the tide of progress, which in this case manifested itself in the form of a pug carrying what appears to be an amulet of love. 



Alongside Lispencie’s pug, pieces by Hammo, TankPetrol and The Pern complete the Outhouse project. In the next couple of months, with the backing of esteemed local arts supplier Fred Aldous Art Supplies and city centre management firm CityCo, the outhouse will be revamped yet again. So when you’re in the Northern Quarter, keep your eyes peeled for some of the crazy works of art on display.

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