Local artists bring wow-factor to Weston shop windows 

Artist Sami Green with her giant seed pod installation at the Sovereign Centre.

Artist Sami Green with her giant seed pod installation at the Sovereign Centre. - Credit: Culture Weston

To mark the re-opening of high street trade this week, shop windows in Weston town centre have been given a creative makeover, showcasing wow-factor window art installations designed by local artists in the area.    

Weston-super-Shop Windows is a project led by Weston Artspace and supported by Culture Weston, that commissioned a group of artists from Weston, Bristol and North Somerset to brighten up the frontages of shops and empty units through an eclectic array of colourful and unique artwork.   

More than 70 artists entered the Weston Artspace competition to transform a window, submitting a wide range of artwork designed to uplift the area as lockdown restrictions are eased.  

The selected artists were each allocated an individual space to re-create in premises in Weston’s High Street, the Sovereign Shopping Centre, Orchard and Regent Street.  

Artist Rachel Ackerman at Weston Artspace.

Artist Rachel Ackerman at Weston Artspace. - Credit: Mark Bradshaw

Over the past week, they have been bringing their designs alive and creating eye-catching, vibrant vistas to welcome back shoppers and visitors to the town, that will remain on display for around a month for people to enjoy. 

Karen Blake, at Weston Artspace, said: “We had such an amazing response to the competition that whittling down all the fantastic entries was really difficult.

"The final selection represents a variety of artistic styles and mediums from sculpture and glass making to illustration and street art, with something to appeal to everyone. 

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“As well as brightening up shop windows with colour and joy, Weston-super-Shop Windows has been a way to commission individual artists and recognise the wealth of artistic talent that exists in the area.

"We want to thank all the participating venues for providing space to display this great gallery of work.” 

Showcase artists and venues 

Artist Rachel Ackerman (right) in front of interactive wildlife display with Karen Blake at Weston Artspace.

Artist Rachel Ackerman (right) in front of interactive wildlife display with Karen Blake at Weston Artspace. - Credit: Mark Bradshaw

Weston Artspace, High Street.

Rachel Ackerman is an illustrator currently based in Somerset having studied at Falmouth University, who has worked on window displays for Cornish clothing brand Seasalt. 

Her window design is a playful installation reminding people to hold on to how important being outdoors in nature was on our daily lockdown walks. The design shows the local wildlife around us with an interactive ‘What can you see …?’ identification poster to encourage people to take time to stop, look, learn and enjoy. 

Artist Claire Hall with her glass postcard display at Optika Opticians.

Artist Claire Hall with her glass postcard display at Optika Opticians. - Credit: Culture Weston

Optika Opticians, High Street.

Claire Hall is a glass artist based in Brockley, North Somerset. 

Her window design features images of nature and local landscapes taken by the artist through the coronavirus pandemic, transferred onto individual glass postcards to create ‘Postcards from Home’, a unique installation and photographic record of the coastline through 2020. 

Sami Green's giant sculptural seed pod display at the Sovereign Centre.

Sami Green's giant sculptural seed pod display at the Sovereign Centre. - Credit: Culture Weston

Sovereign Shopping Centre, High Street.

Shruti Bhoyar is an illustrator and muralist who has recently moved to Weston.  

Her window design is brightly coloured, cardboard cut-out, carefree figures based on street culture and a bit of absurdity.

Also based in the shopping centre will be the Bristol-based, prop artist and scene maker, Ramona Bigwood. Her work reflects her fascination with geometric shapes, pop culture, puns, pattern, abstraction and surrealist symbolism. 

During lockdown, people had to make the best of where they were; Ramona encourages people to 'build paradise where you are’ and her installation reimagines what already exists around you through a utopian lens. The large props featured are of iconic holiday symbols with landmarks specific to Weston and seaside towns.  

Sami Green, an artist living in Burnham who teaches at Weston College, will also be based in a Sovereign Centre unit. She is interested in exploring immersive space, architecture and sculptural form.  

Sami's window design called evolve is an artwork installation arising from research into life cycles and new beginnings symbolized by seed pods. A series of giant, hand-cut, sculptural seedpods have been created, enhanced by coloured lights and reflective flooring.  

Aleks Nocny's and his fantasy art image at new Sanctuary Cafe opening in Weston.

Aleks Nocny's and his fantasy art image at new Sanctuary Cafe opening in Weston. - Credit: Aleks Nocny

Sanctuary Café, Orchard Street.

Weston-based artist Aleks Nocny specialises in street art and murals. Originally from Poland, Aleks is the owner of tattoo shop Fox’n’Roses Tattoo and Art Gallery in the town.

Aleks created a fantasy art image window design on wooden panels in keeping with the host shop style, currently being renovated as a vegan-friendly, boardgames café and due to open soon.  

Good and Proper Zero, Regent Street.

Bristol-based artist, illustrator and creative producer Cai Burton has created murals, window displays and painted at Upfest in Bristol.  

His eye-catching underwater scene using Posca pens drawn directly onto the windows spanning the full width of the host shop’s frontage, which can be seen inside and out and draws the eye with its bright colours as it catches the light. 

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