Influenced by the traditions of mural painting, Mellor has produced a montage depicting different moments from Michael’s life and career. References include key imagery from his best–known music videos, such as Michael’s silhouetted figure in Careless Whisper (1984); an iconic portrait of the artist blow drying his hair during Wham!’s 1985 world tour; backstage scenes; and motifs from later music videos, including Outside (1998).
Hints of the history and life of Kingsbury echo from the street to the work and back again; from images of halos surrounding men’s groomed hair on the barbershop sign opposite, to Mellor’s nod to John Logie Baird, whose experiments in Kingsbury in the late 1920’s led to the invention of the television. George Michael TV Outside was produced during an intensive three week period where the artist worked onsite, which provided an opportunity for audiences to see the process of making a mural and to engage directly with the artist.
Mellor has also incorporated various other motifs, such as the famous yellow brick road from the musical fantasy film The Wizard of Oz, which lend the work a surreal quality. These references might be understood as symbolising childhood or a person’s life journey, but are also synonymous with LGBTQ+ culture.
Mellor is a leading British artist who has been making images of public figures for over twenty years, often exploring ideas of identity, fan culture and fame. Mellor’s personal response to George Michael both celebrates and explores him as a pioneering cultural and LGBTQ+ figure.
Mellor’s artwork is part of Studio Voltaire elsewhere, a series of ambitious offsite commissions taking place throughout London and is part of the Brent Biennial – a series of projects for Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture and has been co-commissioned by Studio Voltaire, Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture and Create London.
Artist and illustrator Catherine Morton-Abuah has been commissioned to create a pack of activities for children and young people in response to Dawn Mellor’s George Michael TV Outside, 2020.
Morton-Abuah has responded to the brief with ‘Making a Star’, two activities that explore George Michael through portraiture, music and song-writing and include Morton-Abuah’s iconic illustrated ‘style files’ of Michael and his contemporaries. Morton-Abuah was inspired by George Michael’s relationship with celebrity, and his core values of standing for what you believe in, to create the pack. Co-commissioned by Studio Voltaire, Create London and Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture.
For a free printed version, which includes a set of colouring pencils, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dawn Mellor (b. 1970, Manchester) has had numerous solo exhibitions in London, New York, Venice, and Brussels. Recent publications include Sirens by Dawn Mellor (Montez Press, 2019) and recent solo exhibitions include Sirens, Team Gallery, New York, (2017), What Happened to Helen?, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, (2013), An Ecstasy of Purpose, Studio Voltaire, London (2010) and at The Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2008). Their work has been shown at the Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany; The Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania; Limerick City Art Gallery, Limerick, Ireland; Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, Netherlands; MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, New York; and Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
499 Kingsbury Road, Kingsbury, NW9 9ED
Where possible, please consider walking or cycling to visit the mural.
The site is less than a minute walk from Kingsbury Underground Station (Jubilee Line) and the area is served by a good number of local bus services. If you are using public transport, please wear a mask or face covering and consider visiting during off-peak hours.
Please visit TFL for further information on travelling safely.
Importantly, if you are feeling unwell then you must postpone your visit.
In order to help maintain social distancing, please consider visiting individually or in small groups.
The site is located at street level with no steps. Please note that the mural is on a busy working road which gives access to a carpark, and therefore may be busy with cars at your time of visit. Access information for Kingsbury Underground Station can be found here.
There is a public car park next to the mural.
Kingsbury Road has a great range of independent and family run cafés, restaurants and shops. We encourage you to support these local businesses.
More information about the project can be found in Kingsbury Library (522 – 524 Kingsbury Road, NW9).
Please note: Due to social distancing measures, there will be no opening or unveiling event and we encourage you to visit during quieter periods.
Studio Voltaire elsewhere
Taking place in locations across London, Studio Voltaire elsewhere is a site—specific programme comes at a time when our permanent home in Clapham is closed to the public whilst undergoing a transformative £2.8 million redevelopment.
Nnena Kalu, Dawn Mellor, Phyllida Barlow and Monster Chetwynd are creating new work for this series. Each artist has a special relationship with Studio Voltaire and this programme celebrates a number of important commissions in our institution’s history, reflecting our track record of supporting artists at key stages in their careers.
Create London is an arts organisation that has pioneered working with artists to realise new social enterprises, charities and cultural spaces. They commission, curate and incubate long-term projects that are useful to society, supporting artists to work collaboratively with local communities. They reimagine the role of the artist in the city, working outside of galleries to find new and often surprising ways for art to become part of everyday life.
Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture
Brent is The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2020. The programme explores the stories, art and emotions that hold life in Brent together, uncovering and celebrating the borough’s untold tales and unheard voices. Brent is the home of Zadie Smith, reggae, English football and its captains. It has London’s oldest road, the biggest Hindu Temple outside India, Kiln Theatre and Mahogany Carnival Design. Brent is where city becomes Metroland; where roads, waterways and railways cross; where outsiders fight for their place. Brent is Jayaben Desai, George Michael, Cyrille Regis, Keith Moon, Rachel Yankey, Janet Kay, Twiggy, Bob Marley and Trojan Records. It is from this alchemy that its year of culture comes.
Brent is committed to the values that underpin Brent 2020 and all the people, artists and organisations who are involved in the programme. Art and music, in all their forms, have always been a part of this borough and Brent is determined to ensure that it tells the story of the many cultures of Brent. Brent is more than a borough of culture: This is the Borough of Cultures.
About Catherine Morton-Abuah
Catherine Morton-Abuah is a Freelance Illustrator and Creative based in North-West London. She aims to depict black people in a diverse and dynamic way. Visually, her work is an array of colours and textures, sustained over a range of disciplines such as Digital Illustration and Drawing. Her work is a by-product of her interests, including but not limited to Fashion, Music, Film and Popular Culture.
Dawn Mellor, George Michael TV Outside, 2020. Photo: Benedict Johnson
Catherine Morton-Abuah, Making a Star