Press Release: Hartlepool Borough Council Railway Station Artwork
'TWELVE bold new pieces of artwork have gone on display at Hartlepool railway station.
The designs – by Cleveland College of Art and Design graduates Abigail Taylor and Owen Smith – show popular Hartlepool landmarks, including the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Greatham Beck, the Heugh Battery Museum and Hartlepool Marina. Abigail and Owen won the competition run by Hartlepool Council to create six pieces themed on key locations in Hartlepool-based on the hey-day of railway posters of the 1920s-1950s. Once they had won the competition the council commissioned them for a further six pieces.
Owen, 26, said: “We worked with our photographs and sketches of the areas to create rough collages, in pursuit of the scenic compositions of the golden age of railway poster art. “We were able to pin down some compositions right away, while others took shape organically as we worked.”
The pair remember very well the day they found out they had won the competition. Abigail said: “We were sat in a busy pub checking emails on my phone and suddenly I just fl ew up out of my seat and started whooping! “Of course, then I had to explain to the table of confused faces that we had won the railway art competition we’d been telling our friends about, and before we knew it, everybody was buying us shots to celebrate! Everybody was really pleased for us, then we had a wonky walk back to the station, smiling our faces off !” She added: “It feels very surreal to see the artwork up at the railway station in Hartlepool “The largest we’d seen the artwork until that point was as A3 printouts! I guess most of all we were just incredibly pleased to be giving something back."
The Creative Process ...
We began by visiting each of the six locations with sketchbooks tucked under our arms and a camera at the ready, hoping to capture some of the qualities that make each place unique. We worked with our photos and sketches to create rough collages, in pursuit of the scenic compositions of the golden age of railway poster art. We were able to pin down some compositions right away, while others took shape organically as we worked.
We created blocks of vibrant colour using Adobe Illustrator's drawing tools, in a meticulous process reminiscent of traditional cut and paste techniques. We drew from the colours of Norman Wilkinson's lithographic prints to inspire our palette.
In the work of Frank Mason and his contemporaries, there is a separation between the title and subject, with the title sitting in an allocated space beneath the artwork. We chose to do away with this divide, marrying text and image and creating an interplay between them. The font had to be a classic and timeless san serif, Futura, created in the 1920s by Paul Renner.
We sat beside each other as we worked, passing each piece back and forth, building up each scene as a team. At times it felt as if we were playmates, constructing each scene with a bunch of colourful blocks.'