The Courier

Gorilla art proposed for Perth city centre wonder wall

An artist impression of how the gorilla artwork could look

A prolific painter whose rock star portraits caused a stir in Perth city centre has submitted his vision for a bold new artwork.

Ian Cuthbert Imrie has proposed a huge painting of a silverback gorilla for a blank canvas wall on Mill Street.

© Supplied
Artist Ian Imrie.

Culture Perth and Kinross (CPK) launched a competition earlier this summer to find a street artist to design and produce a £30,000 mural or artwork as part of the city’s new cultural quarter.

The deadline for submissions is September 21, and a shortlist will be draw up by a panel of judges next month.

CPK said there had been a “strong” level of interest in the competition so far.

Mr Imrie said he has tabled his gorilla plan to the local culture authority, which has agreed to put it before the committee.

However, he said he refuses to take part in the official contest.

“As far as I can see, there’s nobody on the panel professional enough to judge my work,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I don’t want my art decided on by any butcher, baker or candlestick maker.”


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He said: “I think the gorilla would like quite striking. It would be put in place like a mosaic on laminated board. I could have it up before Christmas.”

Mr Imrie said he had received “overwhelmingly” positive public feedback from his controversial portraits of John Lennon, Michael Jackson and David Bowie which were installed on the wall without proper consent from the owner.

He has also revealed a design for a new portrait of Marvel superhero the Hulk, which he plans to install in another part of Perth soon.

Culture Perth and Kinross boss Helen Smout said the rock star portraits on Mill Street could be moved to make way for a new artwork.

It is hoped a new mural will bring “international attention” to Perth. Artists have been encouraged to come up with an idea that could be illuminated at night.

A CPK spokesman said: “There has been a strong level of interest shown in this opportunity, with the brief being shared widely through local and national channels, and with over 500 views of the brief on the Culture Perth and Kinross website to date.

“We look forward to viewing the submissions with Perth and Kinross Council after September 21, and engaging with the winning artist once a decision has been reached.”

It is the first project of its kind – fusing art and lighting technologies – in Scotland.

A final design will be decided following consultation with residents, city centre traders and local schools.

If all goes to plan, the work could be in place by March next year.