Artist paints Kettering house ‘wrecked’ by graffiti

Squidge with Shauna Calderwood and his artwork.
Squidge with Shauna Calderwood and his artwork.

A Kettering artist has brightened up a house blighted by tags and swear words with a tropical mural.

Artist Ziemowit Smagala, 31, was walking his dog when he saw graffiti all over a house in the alleyway between Wood Street and Havelock Street.

The wall before it was painted.

The wall before it was painted.

He disliked what he saw so much he knocked on resident Shauna Calderwood’s door and offered to decorate the wall of the house with artwork.

Mr Smagala, known as Squidge after his great-grandmother struggled to pronounce his first name, says he just wanted to give something back to the community.

He said: “I noticed the wall and just knocked on the door.

“I had some leftover paint and they said it was difficult to do anything with the property because the owner lived in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s a walk through to schools and you don’t want kids seeing swear words, I certainly wouldn’t want them to.

“There was a great mural on the Indian restaurant on the one-way street that’s been covered up and it’s a shame.

“The owners said they couldn’t pay me for it but I didn’t want any money, I just wanted to do something for Kettering.”

Squidge moved to Kettering from Wolverton six months ago and works with children in graffiti and BMX through his company Play Street, Community Action: MK and the People’s Health Trust.

He says he hopes to establish a community group here to provide youngsters with a way of getting into art.

He said: “When you look at the amount of content on walls here there’s quite a lot but it’s mainly tags rather than art.

“Kids don’t have anywhere to learn and you’re not going to pick up a spray can and just produce a great piece of art.

“Legal walls are a great way for people to try stuff out and it reduces the number of tags which is what people hate.

“I grew up on a council estate in Milton Keynes and I know what a difference it can make.”

Squidge, who also goes by the name of SQ, is available to paint anything from bedrooms and businesses to vehicles and is also available for live art sessions.

He also wants to hear about any local projects.

To get in touch with him, email playstreet@hotmail.co.uk.