When we began working together in 2009 we concentrated on permanent, visual public art projects; 2D graphic murals, ceramic printing, exterior and interior vinyl transfers and eventually sculptural work.
With each new commission we worked with more students, employees and members of the the public to create the artwork. With each new commission we valued their input more. This is when we developed our current working ethos; that public art is successful when the public help make it. In many ways this process lead to our current practice, where audience collaboration is the main focus. Our work during this period gave us many of the skills we use today to manage projects, subcontract fabricators, create 2D and 3D designs and visually reinterpret public spaces.
Left: Voices Through Corridors. 2012. Printed vinyl illustrations of spoken accounts of Walsall Manor Hospital from the 1950’s onwards. Photograph from the launch event >
Top Right: Upside Down Waterfall. 2011. Kings School Wolverhampton. Printed vinyl illustration made in collaboration with students in the entrance hall of the school. ^>
Bottom Right: Detail from UNEARTHED. 2013. Stainless Steel sculpture (see mass participation for more info) >>
“Their approach to project management has been exemplary. They are both good organisers, flexible, open, pro-active and honest. Both are also endowed with excellent communication skills which make them very accessible to a wide and diverse range of individuals, organisations and communities.”
– Paul Bailey, Cultural Development Officer, Stoke-on-Trent City Council
CASE STUDY- Out of Darkness Cometh Light
Out of Darkness Cometh Light is the Wolverhampton Moto. It refers to their place in the industrial revolution, and how the city got from there to where it is today. We learned this, and many other things from the students at Wednesfield High School, who we worked with to produce this artwork in 2011. We think the story of this artwork is a good example why working with audiences makes the art more relevant.
We were commissioned to design exterior vinyl graphics for Wednesfield’s new BSF funded Sports Building. The theme the school wanted to explore was ‘light and flight’. Together with students in the art department, we conducted local research and draw up potential designs. The students and teachers told us that the local community were already referring to the building as ‘The lamp shade’ because of how it lit up at night. So together we started to think about moth based designs to build on this organic narrative from the community.
During the research, one student reported back about the Peppered Moth, a species that camouflaged itself on the bark of trees with mottled grey markings. During the industrial revelation, when tree trunks in the region were soot-blackened, the moths changed their colouring from grey to black. When the clean air act was introduced in the mid 20th Century the trees returned to normal and so did the Peppered moths.
The story of light, dark and change was continued onto the building by the artwork’s ever-changing reaction to light conditions. During the day the moths appear grey or even white on the Rhodica surface, then at night, lit from behind, they are bold and black, returning again to white at sunrise. Out of Darkness, Cometh Light.
< Left: Detail from outside Wednesfield Sports Hall in daylight.
^ Above: Detail from outside Wednesfield Sports Hall at night.
^^ Top: Detail from inside Wednesfield Sports Hall in daylight.