Alex the boar makes unlikely muse for High Easter artist’s magnificent mural

PUBLISHED: 08:25 19 September 2019

Dan Lucken with his painting of Alex the boar, at Great Garnetts Farm, Barnston. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Dan Lucken with his painting of Alex the boar, at Great Garnetts Farm, Barnston. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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Muses come in all shapes and sizes. For Michelangelo it was David, for Pablo Picasso, Françoise Gilot.

Alex the boar is a long-term resident at Great Garnetts Farm in Barnston. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDAlex the boar is a long-term resident at Great Garnetts Farm in Barnston. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

For High Easter sign painter Dan Lucken, however, it was an eight-year-old boar called Alex, weighing about 250kg and a beloved 'mascot' for a Barnston farm.

Using about 20 cans of spray paint and a forklift, Dan, 49, painted a 20ft version of Alex on the doors of a barn at Great Garnetts farm.

Julie Smith, farm co-owner, said: "I am blown away by how fabulous it is. We thought 'we need to tell the world how good Dan is.'"

Mrs Smith added: "You actually have to do a double take. It just looks like our real boar who has grown and is coming out of the barn."

Alex the boar is a long-term resident at Great Garnetts Farm in Barnston. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDAlex the boar is a long-term resident at Great Garnetts Farm in Barnston. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Julie and her husband Jonathan bought Alex when he was about a year old and they have had him for seven years. No longer used for breeding, Alex now watches life go by from his pen.

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"He's definitely our mascot," said Julie. "He is such a lovely character. He is so much part of the farm that we couldn't let him go."

Father-of-two Dan has been friends with Jonathan since primary school and paints signs for customers as varied as shopping centres and churches.

He said: "I am always on the lookout for something for myself. I had been looking at those big doors, thinking that it looks like a big canvas. I had a word with Jonathan and I wanted to paint something that means something to him. Everyone knows Alex, he has got a twinkle in his eye."

Dan, a former art teacher, spent two days on the painting and used a forklift to reach the top.

"I grew up in a farm so I knew how to drive them," he said.

Every summer Dan travels to America to volunteer with the group The Walldogs, who visit villages and towns, commemorating the area's history with wall murals.

Dan said: "I always wanted to be an artist but it is hard to make a living. It is a life long mission, I always wanted to paint murals."

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