Have you seen seaside soldier painting that is helping to mark Remembrance?
- Credit: Archant
An artist has been “blown away” by the public response to his seaside tribute to the fallen.
The poignant painting of a soldier pinned to the railings on Gorleston’s lower prom has drawn applause from hundreds of people unable to mark Remembrance in the normal way.
For Justin Peach, aka Greater Than of Hopton, it was a way of bringing people together, without encouraging gathering, given that parades and ceremonies are off limits.
The 40-year-old put it out on Wednesday and says he has been stunned by the response with fans taking their own pictures and sharing them on social media - a remote and socially distanced way of paying their respects.
“It’s not always about going to a memorial and it’s not always where people want to be,” he said.
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“So I thought it I would put it where people were going to be anyway, where it would not interfere with their day.”
Although he didn’t seek permission from the council and accepts it could be seen as an act of vandalism, he hopes officials will turn a blind eye in the circumstances.
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“It was always meant to be temporary, and I will take it down afterwards,” he said.
The father-of-four used a blended image taken from a selection of soldier pictures he found online to create the main figure, adding a colourful poppy backdrop and the words ‘Lest we forget’.
Among those commenting was Thim Fleximon who shared a picture of the painting at sunrise much to Mr Peach’s delight.
He described it as: “A poignant reminder in a beautiful setting of the lives lost for our freedom. A very nice piece of work.”
Others also praised the choice of seaside setting chiming with prime minister Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.
The 4ft by 2ft artwork is painted on board and varnished.
“I was a bit worried about getting into trouble but ultimately it is a one-off in the current situation,” Mr Peach said.
“I thought I would put it up there and no-one would care apart from my family and a few mates, but I have been blown away.
“I want to get as much art out into the community as I can without annoying people.
“People have engaged with it and I have genuinely not had any negative comments.
“I am all about seeing art for everybody, not just the rich, and it’s a great way to unite the community.”