Employees at Santander International got a taste for street art when teams were invited to graffiti- style workshops to create a mural for their staff car park in St Helier. Local artist Oli Nightingale gave teams at Santander an introduction to spray painting, before letting them loose on their car park walls.
The result – a giant mural – which features the rugby-shirted gorilla Badongo, a character created by Oli for Durrell’s Go Wild Gorilla Trail this summer. Hanging out in a Jersey jungle, Badongo brings a touch of the wild to an urban setting.
Oli said: “The original brief gave me great freedom to go wild with vibrant colours and unique characters, which is what I most love to paint! I spent time considering the wall space, and applied elements to the piece that would blend in obstacles. For example, two granite beams poking out the wall made makeshift branches on the tree in the centre of the mural.
“In line with the Go Wild Gorilla project, I applied a jungle-like environment around the characters and added exaggerated local elements like Jersey Lilies.”
Over 30 staff from Santander International’s Jersey office participated in the workshops, learning the principles of graffiti, having a go on a ‘test wall,’ then creating elements of the mural which Oli finished off.
Oli and his ‘assistants’ got through nearly 30 cans of spray paint in 17 different colours, creating a mural that brightens up a dull area of the car park, serving as a reminder of Badongo and the Go Wild Gorilla Initiative.
Gabrielle Mincer, Relationship Manger, Santander International, said: “It was a fun activity to do on a Friday afternoon, and an amazing experience to gain some knowledge from a Jersey illustrator about the technique of spray painting. Olly was a great teacher and it’s brilliant to be able to see the finished mural and know we were involved in creating it.
“It truly does bring a pop of colour and an element of fun to our staff car park while also being a lovely reminder of the Go Wild Gorilla Trail and the rewilding initiatives that took place this year.”
The Go Wild Gorilla Initiative included a series of events in Jersey on the theme ‘rewilding our world’ to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Durrell. The initiative included a trail of 40 life-size gorilla sculptures designed by different artists spread around the Island. Santander International’s sculpture of a gorilla in a Jersey Reds shirt spent the summer outside the Jersey Reds ground in St Peter.
Oli added: “It was a real pleasure working with Santander International on this project. The people who took part in the workshops quickly grasped the techniques and while creating the mural, many people commented on how nice it was to see some colour where there was none before – this was before the piece looked like anything! It is amazing how a simple splash of colour can affect all of us.
I am happy for this alone, with the bonus being that all the characters had the look that I intended in the sketch.”