Philip Battle: All My Own Work

Together, Philip Battle and Catherine MacMahon are Urban Canvas; a duo bringing Pavement Art back to life in the UK in an innovative participatory new venture which takes them across the country to big events and festivals. Philip is currently working on a book about the history of the art form, so Art in Liverpool caught up with him to find out more, and how we could help crowd-fund this new project.

Right now, I’m crowd-funding for my new book All My Own Work: A History of Pavement Art. The book is the story of an art-form that is now a world-wide modern art movement and tells the history of people once living on the margins of society, many of them homeless and often only one drawing away from the workhouse.

All My Own Work is a story about people with hope in their hearts, effectively creating something from nothing, in exchange for a few ‘browns’ (coppers). The story centres on ordinary folk who have found themselves in extraordinary circumstances, and where possible, the story is told in their own words.

My book will be the first of its kind to relate the history of pavement art; from its origins in pre-history to the Victorians, Edwardians and the present day. I have chosen to sub-title it A History of Pavement Art because that’s all it can be. It is not a definitive account, but rather a start (the First) that touches on aspects of a forgotten world. To do justice to the entire history of pavement art would take three or four volumes, which is perhaps, a project for the future!

unnamedAs well as the facts, the personal stories of individual artists plucked from historical obscurity will be told here for the very first time; like Alice G Colman (1874-1934), Britain’s first female pavement artist. The book will also feature Liverpool’s own child pavement artist James William Carling (1857-1887), with the personal stories of many others, set against the social context in which they lived

In the book, I bring this rich history right up to date with a description of modern day pavement art; festivals, events and the popularisation of the art-form across the globe, with examples of 3D anamorphic art, and other modern trends.

There are many ways to publish a book, but crowd-funding seems very appropriate somehow; it’s like the modern day equivalent of throwing a coin into a poor screever’s cap.

I firmly believe, if the interest is there, and if people wish to celebrate the diversity and common history that all pavement artists share, then this book will happen. If I only receive 50% of my crowd-funding target of £8000 by 6 October, then we are in business, and the book will be published next Spring 2015.

You can make a pledge from as little as £1, and for a pledge of just £28, you can bag yourself an advanced sale limited 1st edition copy. Please note that no money is exchanged unless or until I hit my minimum target of £4000 by October.

If you want to find out more about Pavement Art and pledge to support Philip’s project, then visit:

To learn more about Philip’s work click here, or for the Urban Canvas project, visit