Dublin street artist decorates Brown Thomas
Maser designs window displays at historic Dublin store Ireland's best known street artist has been commissioned to decorate one of the country's most historic and upmarket shops, Brown Thomas on Grafton Street.
Maser made a name for himself originally with his illicit art work on Dublin's walls but now the artist has teamed up with the prestigious department store, in a collaboration where subculture meets the establishment.
Maser has designed the zebra stripe patterns that enliven the window display, which for years has been a focal point of Grafton Street, particularly around Christmas time. The kaleidoscopic wallpaper installation harks back to the British Op and Pop Art scene of the 1960s and the strong designs are reminiscent of Bridget Riley or Peter Blake.
Now based in the US, the artist's work is famous in Dublin, although nobody knows what he looks like. He is reported to be aged around 30. His murals adorn sites around the capital, particularly in disadvantaged areas in such as Ballymun in the north inner city, and he recently participated in the year-long Limerick City of Culture project, painting a disused petrol station in vibrant disco stripes.
The equivalent of Selfridge's in the UK, Brown Thomas is a chain of four Irish stores that stock designer labels such as Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany and Versace. The 12,000-sqm outlet on Grafton Street is the chain's flagship premises, where guests are still greeted by a doorman in a top hat, and there are three stores in Cork, Galway and Limerick.
The original Dublin store was opened by Hugh Brown in 1848, across the street from the current site. In the mid-1990s Brown Thomas moved across to the former Switzers' store, and the orginal BT site is now occupied by Marks & Spencers. Maser’s window designs are in Brown Thomas on Grafton Street until 18 May. In the meantime shoppers can carry home a limited-edition blue and white bag with Maser's logo wrapped in a red love heart.