The owner of a landmark building in Cork has defended his decision to erase an iconic pieces of street art.
The new owner of a landmark building in Cork has defended his decision to erase one of the city’s most iconic pieces of street art.
Philip O’Connor said he expected some reaction to his decision to paint over the striking image of a woman on the wall of the former Kino cinema on Washington St — but he said some of the commentary on social media has been over the top.
“I expected a bit of a backlash but you’d swear we were knocking down Shandon Bells,” he said.
“I thought it was great artwork, and I am a fan of the artist’s work. It’s fair enough that some people are reacting the way they are, but when you inspect it up close, the wall was cracking and it needed a lot of work.”
Created in 2014 by internationally-renowned Corkborn urban artist Fin Dac, the Kino mural is one of a series by the artist featuring Nice-based model, Marlena, whose eyes are masked by a brightly coloured band.
In the Kino mural, titled Jackie Oh!, she is wearing a T-shirt of Cork-based band The Frank and Walters and features a tattoo on her left arm of Gregory Peck and Moby Dick, a nod to the movie filmed in Youghal.
The mural was an instant hit and transformed the drab building and the visual streetscape in one of the city’s busiest entertainment hubs. It suffered some minor graffiti attacks over the years, but was largely respected.
However, contractors, working on behalf of Mr O’Connor erased the piece yesterday, painting the entire building’s Washington St facade with white paint.
Mr O’Connor said as he prepared plans for the rea launch of the Kino as a cafe and music venue, he consulted locally and realised the significance of both the building and the mural.
He said he contacted Fin Dac some weeks ago to discuss his plans and to explore the possibility of engaging him to create another mural on the building.
But speaking from London on route to Berlin yesterday, Fin Dac said he is overseas for the next four months attending events and exhibitions in Tahiti, Miami, New Zealand and Australia, and just was not available. He said the erasing of such works is part of the business.
“To be honest, I was surprised it lasted so long. But the new owners reached out to me, I wasn’t available, and you just can’t ask for more than that.
“I hope they will do something interesting with the wall. I hope it will be well received and respected.”
Mr O’Connor, who runs Doppio cafe on College Road, said he has engaged street artist Fiona Geary to paint a new mural, with work due to start tomorrow.
He said it will have a 1960s retro feel, with a few nods to Cork’s musical heritage.
The entire building interior has been renovated ahead of the planned opening next month of the Kino as a cafe and arts venue capable of hosting gigs and poetry readings.
“It will hopefully become more of a family spot. It will breathe new life into the area,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fin Dac, who has worked on commissions for Armani, Red Bull and the London 2012 Olympics, said he is delighted to have his work feature alongside another internationally renowned Cork-born urban artist, Conor Harrington, in a new series of postage stamps by An Post.
Fin Dac said he is always open to talks on projects in Ireland, and particularly in Cork.
The artist Fin Dac in 2014 as he painted the ‘Jackie Oh!’ mural on the wall of the former Kino cinema on Washington St, Cork. The new owner of the building has painted over it, but has liaised with street artist Fiona Geary to paint a new work.
The wall of the former Kino Cinema yesterday after it was painted over.