Last week we had The Refuge welcome world renowned street artist Ben Eine to create his first ever mural in Manchester. Working with the team at The Refuge, Ben has chosen ‘Hell Is A City’ to paint on the interior wall of the restaurant. The mural is in conjunction with Manchester Art Fair and art consultant Leon Martyn, ahead of the Manchester Art Fair that will be held in October.

We invited local creative, Tom Mckean down to capture the action. (@tomckean)

‘Hell Is a City’ is one of the great British cult classics – a 1960 cop thriller, it starred Stanley Baker and Billie Whitelaw, and was directed by Val ‘Quatermass’ Guest. It was largely shot on location in Manchester, with The Refuge Assurance building (now the Principal Hotel) as a key location in the film’s climactic chase sequence.

Luke and Justin, the brains behind The Refuge, like to use slogans that provoke thought and look for levels of meaning. When launching The Refuge they used the tag line “Come As You Are” to welcome the city in with open arms. Hell is a City thus tells the story of the iconic building that we love but that also alludes to other realities of big city life often exciting but sometimes darker, a complex cosmopolitan utopia where people rest their hopes and dreams.

The internationally recognised artist, and former graffiti writer, started his career over 30 years ago, leaving his own tag all over the world before developing his distinct typographic style.  His partnership with the, then emerging, Bristol graffiti artist Banksy at the Pictures On Walls Gallery was hugely influential to the commercial success of both artists. Eine was interviewed by prolific regional titles ahead of unveiling the mural at The Refuge.

Eine’s international acclaim was further heightened in 2010 when then UK Prime Minister David Cameron gifted his ‘Twenty First Century City’ canvas to President Obama.  His work is now held in permanent collections of the V&A, London, The Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles, San Francisco’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Berlin’s Urban Nation Street Art Museum.

In further recognition of his following in Manchester, the highly sought after artist will release 100 copies of a new limited edition print in two colourways and three original canvases with Leon Martyn on stand 232 at Aviva Investors Manchester Art Fair in October.  This follows last year’s successful release which saw all 100 signed prints sell out over the weekend of the fair.

Over the years Ben has worked with a number of charities including Movember and The Big Issue and working with the third sector remains key to his practice. 10% of sales from the prints and the canvases will again be donated to local charity The Mustard Tree which transforms the lives of people in Greater Manchester who are trapped in poverty and homelessness.

Head down to The Refuge to check it out!