Mural unveiled on Jacob's Ladder celebrating the best of Falmouth

By Max Goodman

31st May 2023 | Local News

The creator of the Mural Dave Bain (Left) Assistant Holly Astle (Front Right) and the team of University volunteers (Image: Dave Bain)
The creator of the Mural Dave Bain (Left) Assistant Holly Astle (Front Right) and the team of University volunteers (Image: Dave Bain)

Last Friday (26th May) a new mural was unveiled which runs alongside the steep steps of Jacob's Ladder.

After the positive feedback received from a mural created at the Lawn Steps in town, the Falmouth BID team set out to commission a new project at Jacob's Ladder with the aim of brightening up an area often blighted by graffiti and anti-social behaviour.

The mural was created by the Bristol-based illustrator Dave Bain who was assisted by Falmouth artist Holly Astle and volunteers from the university. Holly was a part of the Lawn Steps team and has painted lots of murals around town, including one at Castle Beach. You can read more about that here: Meet the artist behind Falmouth's murals and here: Illustrator Holly Astle adds fifth mural to the Falmouth area.

Dave Bain and Holly Astle (Image: Supplied - Holly Astle)

Once I had seen the completed work I then managed to get in touch with Dave to learn a bit more about him and the story behind the Mural. I first asked Dave how he was selected for the job and if he had any connection to the town, he said: "I lived and studied in Falmouth for four years in the early 2000s and have frequently returned to deliver lectures and work with the students at the university.

"Falmouth BID and Falmouth University got in touch to see if I was interested in tackling the long stretch of wall running alongside the lower half of Jacobs Ladder. They asked for a celebratory mural, full of colour, characters, and energy that highlights some of the many wonderful elements that make Falmouth brilliant."

Having already completed lots of murals in other places, I asked Dave if work like this can benefit the town and people of Falmouth, he said: "I believe murals absolutely have the power to positively impact an area, but only when that area is chosen wisely and communities have been consulted.

Dave with the mural on Jacob's Ladder (Image: Dave Bain)

"Falmouth BID did a great job in talking with local residents to help identify core themes for the design. And, they had long recognised and received feedback that this stretch of unloved wall needed an intervention. Now, Jacobs Ladder has a colourful celebration of Falmouth to bring a smile to those treading the 111 steps, whatever direction they're going in."

With Jacob's Ladder being such a unique location, I got Dave to explain how the process compared to other murals, he said: "It was challenging and we had thighs of steel by the end of the week! From a design perspective, the challenge was to create an artwork that could be appreciated in sections as passers-by move up or down the steps, as it's impossible to stand-back and view the entire mural in one go.

The start of the process (Image: Holly Astle)

"The mural journey covers nautical and coastal themes, history, surfing, the art collage, sea shanty singing, music, pasty eating and there's even a cheeky seagull in there!"

The team hard at work up the steps (Image: Holly Astle)

Finally, I spoke to Dave about what it was like working with Holly and the students, he said: "Holly Astle and I have been swapping mural tips for a while now, and I've long admired her many murals dotted around Falmouth.

"She was a fantastic assistant and was another point of contact to guide our brilliant team of volunteers. There was a fantastic energy amongst the team all week as we painted, stopping from time to time to chat with locals and visitors about the mural and the painting process."

You can find more of Dave's work here:

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