Happy Superhero Day!

Tuesday, 28 April 2020
Heard of the fabulous Pontefract based artist Rachel List? Of course you have! It's hard to miss her and her incredible murals that have been popping up all over Pontefract.

To mark Superhero Day and fallen NHS and keyworkers during Covid-19, Rachel has painted this gorgeous tribute. We caught up with her recently to find out a little more about her art and how she is supporting the Hospice.

Your work is amazing Rachel, How long have your been an artist?
'I think all artists are born artists as soon as they can pick up a pencil, but professionally speaking I've worked as an artist since I completed my degree at 21.'

What inspired you to start painting the murals around Pontefract?
'I saw the horse vaults owner asking for a banner printing and I thought a painting would be a more personal touch.'

How many in total have you painted and where are they?
'I'm starting to lose track, but I think 10. There's Horse Vaults, Hope and Anchor, Cobbler, The Olde Tavern, Baden Butties/ Scouts, The Malt Shovel, Pomfret Art Gallery, Myxology, Lake View, Mamma Mia's car park. We are also auctioning one off for the Hospice which is displayed on the gates of Barkers Fencing.'

It is very kind of you to use your artwork to support the Hospice, why did you decide to support us?
'My grandma Margery Taylor was actually cared for by the Hospice in her last few months of life. Strange actually that I am writing this now, on the anniversary of her passing, which is 4 years ago today. I think as family members we all recognised the hard work of all involved. When my mum told me how the Hospice fundraising had been affected by Covid-19, I had to help.'

How did you feel after painting the first one?
'It was a mix - nervous about the response but also excited.'

How did you decide where to paint them?
'I receive permission first and then I decide. For example the Malt Shovel had already offered their wall as a canvas, but when I saw the Captain Tom story, I knew it was perfect, especially with the war memorial so close.'

Has anyone seen you paint them?
'I always see the runners and the dog walkers! But due to the time I choose to paint, 6am, passersby are few.'

Were you worried about what reactions the work would get?
'Yes. I worried because I'm not a graffiti artist. My work is hand painted not spray painted, so I worried that it would be seen as not authentic street art. Although now I realise that's silly, there are no rules, art is art.'

What did you want people's reaction to be?
'I just hoped that people felt I had appropriately visualised how we all feel.'

You have received a lot of media attention, how do you feel about it?
'It has been a whirlwind. I've definitely had to adjust over the last few weeks. I don't think I'll ever get used to it, but its raising awareness for a great cause.'

You have been compared to Banksy, how does that make you feel?
'At first I was mistaken for Banksy, then compared. It can only be a compliment, although our work is very different. It is still a humbling comparison.'
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