15 Dec NEW Bespoke art projects and the process behind it.
“Getting the feel for this superb new build development”
Understanding the Docklands
I have been working closely with a developer in Canning Town around the docklands area of London to install some of my artwork into one of the company’s new build developments. To make this happen, I have been scraping back the areas rich history of trade and commerce, studying the practices some of trade giants of the 1700s such as the East India Company and the area which dominates the banks of the river Lea. For this unique project, I have been selected to create a handful of one off pieces to showcase the buildings rich diversity in the medium of steel and muted colours.
Choosing the Annular Collection
The pieces in question are from the Annular Collection, a series of large and small scale individual artworks on steel sheets which I have been working on since the summer. These pieces have direct links to the natural beauty of the Sussex coastline and are influenced greatly by how the colours are naturally affected by the changing of the seasons and the colours created by natural lunar occurrences. The circular shape of each piece links back to an annular brooch I found when metal detecting in a field which dates back to the 1700’s which gave me the reason to change my working pattern to a more rounded theme.
Sourcing the correct materials
Throughout my career, all of the artwork which I create are based on steel, a material which I have used in all of the projects which I have been involved in. I find that steel is one of those materials which is very easy to manipulate into a finished artwork complimenting any industrial setting which many regeneration projects are now based around. The process I use with the steel involves the application of oil based paints onto the surface of the steel, mixing these with a variety of organic materials and produce such as coffee and then heat treat the steel to give the desired effect. I use an open fire as a source of heat to distress the colours on the paintings and then scrape the layers which have been revealed back to show the underlying colours. All the paint used, I glean from local companies who I have worked over a period of years with. The steel itself is imported from France and laser cut in the U.K to the desired shape and size dependent on each individual project.
The buildings history
The building in which now houses my work is a new build complex housing a mix of residential properties, leisure facilities and fine dining. Originally, the building would have been situated in a dry dock area for merchant ships, which was a type of ship used in the 1800s to ferry goods and personnel. At the height of the East India Companies success, it had a fleet of roughly 200 ships, some of which would have passed through this area. Some of the goods passing through this area at the time would have included Persian carpets, chests of tea and coffee, Indigo and a virtual haul of spices sourced from the far flung corners of the world as it was seen at that time.
Working with the Team
As with most development projects, whenever you begin the discussions with the overseer of the interior side of the project, it does helps to know about the rich history of the area. This enables me as an artist to understand how some of the colours, textures and materials which I use can infiltrate the overall design pattern. I wanted my work and the colours I use to be able to fit in with other design functions and artworks already installed into the project, having a good relationship with your partners is paramount to the success of the project and having the common shared goal of seeing the project space which you are working come to fruition and a happy conclusion.