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Interview with Greg Harris

A special piece of artwork and outdoor mural to celebrate Special Olympics National Games in Sheffield in August 2017 has been unveiled today in Sheffield City Centre.  We are please to be a part of the collaboration along with local artist and friend Greg Harris.  We interviewed Greg about the finished piece of artwork.

How did you get involved with the special Olympics?

I received an email from the MD at Glue Design , they designed the logo for the 2017 Special Olympics and they’ve also  worked with Instant Print in the past, Instant Print  created my phone case covers  that  were  on sale  last year at The Christmas Market on Fargate in Sheffield as we say It’s a small world. 

Have You Ever Been To The Olympics?

Sorry to say I’ve never been to the Olympics the only sports I seem to follow are Cricket, Golf and Snooker, I know Jess Ennis Hill has  bought a few of my Henderson’s Relish prints in the past for friend which is really nice to hear.  I guess I’m a bit boring. I can appreciate all the hard work and dedication  that all the athletes put themselves through  and I admire them so much, I did watch the Olympics on the box  though,  A good friend of mine is a sports physiologist who worked with some big Tour Golf Pros and now he’s working with up and coming athletes. 

If you were a competitor Which Sport Would You Play?

At school I was terrible at sport and I hated the lessons,  to be honest I was the last kid to get picked for any team event and the only kid  I could beat at running in my class  was overweight and a heavy smoker to  which is no word  of lie.   I was pretty small and not very strong.   I guess my game now is golf as I got pretty good at one point and I can still hit a long drive.  Oh I was  Ok At Cricket and pretty  good on the old BMX as a kid I was the wheelie King on our Rd many years ago yet I never broke any bones  even though I did some stupid crazy stuff. 

Where Did you get your inspiration from for the Artwork?

I have to say my inspiration came from all you  guys at Artworks the pictures you all created and showed me in the meeting with Chris Hull were  fantastic  a real big help to me, so thanks guys  It was great to meet some of the athletes to, and talk to them about there aspirations for next years event.   I’m also a big fan of Joe Scarborough’s work I just love the vibrancy and  figure work he does  in his paintings there full of joy  I really wanted to get my style across in the  mural along with the Sheffield landmarks. I was also watching some of the athletes on the internet and the warmth that comes across I think  everyone should learn from this, I hope I’ve done the mural justice.

How long did It take to plan and create?

It took roughly over a month and a half to plan and create the Special Olympics  mural It’s always a hard thing starting from a blank canvas I find.   There’s always that  common thing called the dreaded artist blocks that get’s in the way and  for me It was more than just sticking a few landmarks in with  athletes dotted around , It’s one of the biggest projects I’ve taken  on not just in size too.

What was the trickiest part? 

It’s always pretty tricky when you start a new picture even when you’ve been doing It for along time. My art style has changed somewhat It’s become quirky so I’ve been told It use to be very tight and I use to draw and paint a lot of wildlife. I guess the figures were pretty tricky and I hope the athletes will recognise themselves I hope they like what I’ve done I’m really proud of the mural.

We love Sheffield landmarks and places. Which is your favourite place in Sheffield and why?

That’s a tough question to answer, to be honest there’s so many,   I have  lots of fond memories of so many different places and landmarks as a kid I loved Redgates the best toy shop around  3 floors full of toys, The Goodwin fountain on a hot  sunny day you could chill out watch the rainbows in the fountain shoots around  the rim and It was all lit up at night.   Millhouses Paddling Pool and Lido I really enjoyed my time down there as a kid with my sister in the 6 weeks summer holidays during the 1970s.

The Hole in the Rd I really liked walking through there everyone remembers the green fish tank an occasional  flash of silver from the fish to say hey were  still alive and kicking.   I love going through the Sheffield Parks  Graves Millhouses, Encliffe  Norfolk and Bishops House Meersbrook park on which you get some fantastic views of Sheffield I also like to meet up with friends in the Millennium Gallery and winter gardens It’s a great escape from all the hustle and bustle  of town centre life.   I  guess Kelham Island Museum comes first I’ve been going down there for over 30 years now and I’m there as a volunteer for 2 days a month and I really enjoy It.   My first landmark Picture was the Tinsley Cooling Towers so sad to see  em   go that’s where the gone but not forgotten range all started  and that’s why there in the mural to. 

The Special Olympics #Sheffield17 art will be on display in the city centre across from the train station over the next six months.

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