Artist Trafford Parsons with Tiger, one of his shop shutter murals in Dewsbury town centre

How a Dewsbury artist is turning the town centre into an art gallery

Street artist Trafford Parsons is turning Dewsbury town centre into a gallery – but only after closing time.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 1:14 pm

The Dewsbury-based international artist, who usually shows his work around the world, is now changing the face of the town centre – one shop at a time.

Trafford, 50, has painted the shutters on nine shops but this semi-secret art gallery can only be viewed when the shops have shut.

Trafford describes his work as more pop art than graffiti in style and he’s painted all kinds of images from a portrait of boxing legend Muhammad Ali at fashion retailer Polo to a tiger for Conscious Healing, Marilyn Medusa for Bling Bling Boutique to a dog having a bath for canine beautician A Dog House.

“My work is very neat and very bold and people seem to like it,” said Trafford.

“I have done nine shops now – with more to come – and it’s turning the town centre into an art gallery.

“I am really a gallery artist as well as a street artist but all art galleries in the world have been closed due to Covid so I can’t get to show my work. Normally in the autumn my work would be on show in Chicago.

“I’ve been working with shop owners and the idea of a street art gallery is really taking off. It’s all about fun and my joy of life and it’s contagious – except contagious is a word we’re not allowed to use any more because of Covid!”

Trafford’s appeal certainly has been spreading and one shop owner has said the artwork on his shutters makes him love coming into work.

The artworks are all around three metres high and five metres wide, an ideal size for Trafford – not too big, not too small.

He does lots of preparatory drawings and then comes in on a night and spends around four hours creating the artwork. It costs between £150 and £250 depending on the size.

“I do work all around the world but because I live here everything has to be really good,” said Trafford.

“People won’t be fobbed off with second best and if I do something awful, people will tap me on the shoulder and tell me so!”

Trafford has also been commissioned by Kirklees Council to paint a giant "ey-up" mural on a wall in the town centre.

It was going to be on the wall of the railway bridge on Crackenedge Lane but that’s no longer possible, so Trafford is looking for a new “big wall” for his artwork.

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