Artwork reflecting life in lockdown and seaside to brighten up towns

Culture Weston director, Fiona Matthews, alongside the final designs. Picture: Culture Weston

Culture Weston director, Fiona Matthews, alongside the final designs. Picture: Culture Weston - Credit: Archant

Empty noticeboards in Weston and Clevedon are being given a new lease of life with vibrant poster artworks created by artists in the area, as part of an initiative organised by Culture Weston and Weston Artspace.

Following a call-out to artists to submit ideas, six final designs have been specially selected to adorn a number of North Somerset Council’s noticeboards dotted along the promenades and beyond in the seaside towns.

The mix of images from both professional and amateur artists, including former students at University College Weston, represent a range of different artforms featuring painting, illustration, photography, graphic design, collage and mixed media.

Natalie Cooke’s Finding The Colour landscape of landmark Brent Knoll was painted during lockdown by the artist, who works as a nurse.

Her image is paired with a verse of poetry written by Conrad Collinge, a member of Theatre Orchard’s Chapter One writing group, as part of a collaborative poem about lockdown called All Closer Together Now.

Rainbow Lady by illustrator Ana Jaks is a computer generated work inspired by the initial rush of rainbows that covered people’s windows in lockdown, while The Smile In Smiling Somerset newspaper collage by Weston-based Lauren Clark explores the social and cultural context juxtaposed with the town’s nostalgic seaside iconography.

Dylan Barker’s The Only Way Is Through striking maze illustration reflects how, like many during the coronavirus health crisis, his mental health suffered and life felt like being in a maze with no end in sight.

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Fiona Matthews, creative director at Culture Weston, said: “We invited artists to think outside the box and come up with personal responses on Weston, North Somerset or the wider world from a 2020 viewpoint.

“The selected entries include strong, vibrant designs that reflect upon life in lockdown, promote the environment and capture that optimistic essence of the seaside.

“The council has very kindly offered the use of its display sites and it is wonderful to see them filled with original, eye-catching designs from artists young and old, amateur and professional. What better time than now for anyone and everyone to feel able to say something through creativity.”

Cllr Mark Canniford, the council’s executive member for business, economy and employment, said: “Weston has a thriving arts, culture and heritage sector and we’re keen to encourage opportunities that showcase the town’s artistic talent. These are beautifully designed posters and I look forward to seeing them on display for the public to enjoy.”

The initiative is the result of ideas by artists at a new online group Creative Conversations, set up for the lockdown period by Culture Weston in partnership with Weston Artspace.