‘I’ll paint Kate Moss. Just pay me this time,’ says artist

In the latest twist to the saga surrounding the town centre’s Churchill mural, the artist who painted it claims he was never paid by the council-backed gallery who commissioned him. By KEN TOWL

David Hollier, the artist who painted the mural of Churchill on the corner of Park Street in Croydon town centre, says he would be very happy to paint over it with a more suitable and relevant mural – provided that this time he gets paid.

Supermodel Kate Moss: a better subject for a Croydon mural?

Hollier made the startling claim that he was never paid for his Churchill after seeing Inside Croydon’s report earlier this week which highlighted the three-petition squabble over the fate of the mural.

The Churchill mural appeared overnight in 2016 after the council and building owners had granted permission to use the site.

It was commissioned by the Rise Gallery, whose owner Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison received a series of grants and an £80,000 sponsorship from Croydon Council and Croydon BID, the business improvement district, supposedly towards the costs of street art and festivals.

Artist David Hollier: ready for offers of paid work

But in 2018, Zuchowski-Morrison was declared bankrupt after he failed to pay bills to one service supplier for his council-backed Rise Festival.

Now it seems that Hollier’s name can be added to a growing list of figures from the art world – including Banksy – who have been left out-of-pocket or regretting having had dealings with Zuchowski-Morrison.

The Croydon petitions against Hollier’s Churchill mural came about after a statue to a slave-owner had been hauled down during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol, and the former Prime Minister’s statue in Parliament Square had been daubed with paint.

British-born Hollier says he was told that the petitions to remove the Churchill mural had been started by Croydon residents, and that he was unaware that they had in fact been started by councillor Chris Clark and his erstwhile colleague, Niro Sirisena, until he’d read the Inside Croydon article.

The artist has been quoted as describing Churchill as “a racist warmonger”. Reports have also quoted Zuchowski-Morrison as claiming that he paid for the Churchill mural.

Hollier’s exasperation with local politicians is palpable.

He was commissioned to fly over from his Brooklyn home to paint the Churchill mural, featuring the “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech that helped to set Britain’s resolve against the Nazi threat. He was asked to do so after an earlier work, of aviation pioneer Amy Johnson, on another Croydon wall, was damaged beyond repair.

Hollier is now suggesting a petition of his own – “To replace the Churchill portrait with one of Kate Moss, the Croydon-born model, but this time they pay the artist for doing it!”

One of Holliers latest works, completed last weekend

As Hollier concedes, “Nobody gave a crap about my opinion when I did the first one, why would they now?”

In the meantime, Hollier remains busy with his work and getting paid for it.

At the weekend he painted Bob Marley using the text of “One Love” on the wall of the Jamaica Kitchen in Mount Vernon, Westchester in New York state, and on Sunday night he produced a Black Lives Matter “protest peace”, exhorting American citizens not to vote for the racist Donald Trump.

Croydon is the London Borough of Culture 2023.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to ‘I’ll paint Kate Moss. Just pay me this time,’ says artist

  1. sebastian tillinger says:

    If the Rise Gallery / Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison did not pay the mural artist, what did they spend the Croydon grants and £80,000 Croydon Council and Croydon BID money on?

    Does Tony Newman just sign these things off without checking?

    When Croydon is the City of Culture in 2023 I do not expect to see these sorts of things happening because Tony Newman will not be the Leader. It would be most embarrassing for this sort of thing to be happening in 2023 under the focus of the rest of London.

  2. Sue Harling says:

    Hasn’t Kate Moss slagged off Croydon?
    Why not use the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of a local black person? Samuel Coleridge Taylor? Stormzy?

    • You might be taking the artist’s offer a bit more literally than intended. Think he’s basically expressing his lack of attachment to the Churchill work, which he did, after all, to replace his Amy Johnson.
      Your response shows the problems in fetishising any individual through a commemorative artwork. None of us are perfect, after all.

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