The project around the building site of the old Savoy came about when Bernards estate agents on behalf of the owner Harry Redknapp contacted us to paint them with murals we were recommended by Portsmouth City Council principal planning officer John Pike. I suggested the theme of Portsmouth history including naval speak.

This was a very important project to us at it was not only on our seafront but also the majority of our income for projects like this go to support and fund our community art centre and the events and projects we do yet we pay wages on commissioned projects. We have a reputation in the South as leading muralists, painting for over 30 years and over 300 murals worldwide yet we did experience problems on this project before we started and just months after we finished this huge highly visible public art.

The estate agents used a company from Southampton that was connected to Harry to prep the hoardings which I instructed to be marine board with an oil based white wood primer with plastic top cappings yet what they used the thinnest cheapest ply boards then painted the whole site with interior emulsion.

I couldn’t believe the poor quality of the preparation and instructed them to sand down the entire length of hoardings and re-prime them asap, they did this yet with masonry paint!. Also using interior filler for the joins and water getting into the top before it was capped did not help and this delay made us have to work in severe weather conditions as it was too late in the year.

It was a disappointing result to the project as it could have lasted 5-10 years if prepared as I instructed and even moved and used on other sites or donated to a school playground, yet they did not even last a couple of years.