An Athlone street artist unveiled his biggest project yet at the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally this month.
In the back garden of his home in Baylin, Chris Flicker spent months working on an art installation called Crazy Train which involved building a train carriage structure from scratch.
The carriage was then transported to Electric Picnic, where it went on display as an interactive art exhibit in the trailer park area of the festival.
“The trailer park is an area that’s made up of old caravans and various different vehicles,” explained Chris. “You might have a mobile home that’s been turned into a cocktail bar, or a camper van that’s become an Indian restaurant.”
It was there that people got to interact with the Crazy Train.
Festival-goers were invited to try out graffiti art on the exterior of the train carriage, while inside a rotating canvas could be used to generate abstract painting patterns.
The project was approved for funding from Electric Picnic after Chris submitted an application to the festival organisers in March. About two months later he found out it had been given the go-ahead, and his work then got underway.
“For the last few months it was a case of me coming home from my job, having something to eat, and then heading out into the garden to work on it,” said Chris.
“My wife Karen was delighted when Electric Picnic was over because it meant she was getting her husband back!
“But overall it was a great experience and I would really recommend it to anyone who might be thinking of doing something similar.”
He said the hands-on nature of the exhibit meant it was popular with people of all ages.
“I had markers for the younger children, who were delighted to be allowed to draw on the side of the train, and then there was spray paint for the older kids who had a chance to get their rebellious streak out.
“There were two woman of about 80 years of age who really got into the rotating canvas and spent a lot of time at that. So it was really the full spectrum of age groups.”
A self-taught artist who was born in London but has been living in the Athlone area since the 1980s, Chris had work featured at Electric Picnic before, most recently in 2019.
He said the conclusion of this year’s event meant he would now have more time to look into possible street art commissions in the Athlone area.
* For more details about Chris Flicker’s artwork, see his Facebook page: ‘Art by Flicker’.