A five storey mural at the heart of Bootstrap

by Mat Amp

Occasionally things appear in life that absolutely belong, and once they’re here you can’t remember a time that they weren’t.  

It may be something as dramatic as the Shard, which is now a defining testimony to London’s cutting edge, or it may be just be a sticker on your laptop. In this case it is a mural that accompanies you up the Bootstrap stairs.

With a different individual story on each floor the mural informs visitors about what goes on in the building and at the same time reminds tenants that they are part of a community that is, after all is said and done, like no other.

Winding up the walls of the main building’s stairway the mural is a stylish and vibrant illustration that that has already become an integral part of its surroundings.

Painted by Roger Mason of Looks Good on Paper, the mural shows how Bootstrap engages with its community, its sustainability record and the programmes it produces to support young people.

Roger says nothing can replace the joy of drawing by hand with pencil on paper and for him this mural offered the same creative reward. He said: “I used the wall as a piece of paper and the ink brush as a giant pencil. I did design the scenes on the wall before I painted them but they were pencilled straight on to the wall then inked straight on. That’s exciting. I love working in that way.”


He added: “When people know it’s been drawn by hand on paper people respond to it more. There is something more authentic and maybe magical about working on paper that people respond to.”

For Roger the process of the mural’s creation was a powerful demonstration of the community spirit that pervades the building. Tenants would stop and talk to Roger while he worked and he was surprised to find so many different creatives working here.

While he has collaborated on various projects with other tenants in the past he feels like this project has painted him deeper into the Bootstrap narrative. Roger said: “Doing the mural has opened up the building to me as well. I was standing in the stairwell for weeks talking to passers by. I really like that I have that connection.”

Roger feels this broadened his own experience and understanding too. One of his illustrations was about the Refugee Women’s Association so he went to meet them and in doing so realised the importance of what they do.

Roger says Bootstrap is a genuinely positive part of his working life, adding: “I’ve worked in a few shared studio spaces, usually with no central heating and in need of development. When I was shown around Bootstrap, Fitzroy Studios, I immediately liked it and the way the Fitzroy studios are set up with the shared desk spaces and shared kitchen makes it immediately sociable. There have been a couple of times along the way when I’ve fallen on hard times and they’ve helped me out. I think it’s a terrific place to work.”

The mural itself is informative but it’s real power lies in drawing together the broad range of work that Bootstrap itself, and the wildly talented tenant cohort, undertakes into one narrative. It is the energy of the illustration that manages to convey the creative energy and communal spirit that drives the Bootstrap community.

Find out more about Roger Mason by visiting his website.

This blog was created for Bootstrap, by volunteers at Poached Creative.

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