Swindon used to be a town full of murals. Many, though not all, were the work of Ken White. Only one of his now remains and that’s the Golden Lion mural which you can see in the image below. Now though there are some new murals in Swindon.
‘The inSwindon BID team, in partnership with Artsite and Swindon Climate Action Network, launched the project to help re-energise the town centre and boost community arts.’
On his Facebook page, Martin says: ‘Locality is about things that take place within an area – theatre, arts, creativity – that’s what makes a place.’ He’s not wrong.
The quotation used on the mural is from our very own Richard Jefferies:‘If every plant and flower were found in all places, the charm of locality would not exist. Everything varies, and that gives the interest.’
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. – Pablo Picasso
Well listeners, if we stretch that analogy a little further and consider the wealth of art of all kinds that goes on here in Swindon we can find ourselves washing the dust off our souls in a veritable ocean of creativity – much of which has featured at various times on Born again Swindonian.
I popped in there today too and met Lynette Thomas who works with mosaics. I ended up buying a piece of her work and having a good old natter with the lovely people in Artsite. Lynette has created a wonderful mosaic homage to the Magic Roundabout a couple of pictures of which are in the gallery below. I like it. I want it. Don’t give me any other… I find myself drawn to mosaics.
Earlier this year I bought a mosaic piece from another of the artists at Artsite which now has pride of place in my garden. Maybe I was a Roman in a past life? Anyway…
Paul Sullivan & S.Carr/T.Humphries
Magic roundabout mosaic
This year too I’ve learnt of the existence of David Bent about whom I really need a blog post. DONE! Missing still is Tim Carroll. That needs to be addressed – I’ll get there. As well as the small piece up above I’m the proud owner of one his 100 views of Swindon. I LOVE them all. I like a lot of his work in general.
A few months or so ago art work by Caroline Day started appearing on my Facebook timeline. I started sharing it on the Facebook page for Born again Swindonian – an act that resulted in a lovely guest blog post from Caroline in which she explained all about the work of the Old Town Garden’s art work.
So today it was a great pleasure to finally get to meet Caroline, up in the town gardens and to see some of her lovely works first-hand as part of the Old Town Garden’s Little Big festival and Swindon Open Studios art event. I like her work very much. Many of her prints have interesting juxtapositions of photographs of the band stand and even her children set against drawings of flowers.
Plein Air artists
Two artists I also had the pleasure to meet today were Terry Humphries and Susan M Carr. Susan is, amongst other things, a ‘Plein Air’ artist. A little bit of internet research reveals that ‘En plein air’ is a French expression meaning ‘in the open air’. It’s used particularly to describe the act of painting outdoors. “Artists have long painted outdoors, but in the mid-19th century working in natural light became increasingly important to multiple schools of art.
The Barbizon school of France was of particular influence on the Realists, who focused their work on everyday subjects versus prominent figures. These Realists inspired the Impressionists, whose style included visible brush strokes, ordinary subject matter, and an emphasis on light in its changing qualities.
The popularity of painting en plein air increased in the 1870s with the introduction of paint in tubes, which replaced the task of grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. It was also during this period that the “Box Easle “, typically known as the French Box Easel, was invented. This development increased the ease and portability of art supplies, making treks into the forest and up the hillsides less intimidating and more appealing to those looking to paint new landscapes.”
“Artsite and the postmodern is an artist led group and has studios and a gallery complex in Theatre Square Swindon. They are developing a creative hub in Number Nine, with a variety of workshops, events and Handmade Swindon.”
Vicky Silver, one of the doyennes of the Artiste and the Postmodern set-up gave me a little tour of some of the studios – 15 in all I recall – in what used to be a post office.
One of my favourite pieces was the chair or throne? I absolutely loved it but I my picture, quickly snapped on my phone, doesn’t do it justice. I really, really want that piece!
But anyway, don’t take my word for it, pop in and see for yourself. What with this and the Old Town gardens artists group and the recent temporary Second Mouth project, there is just so much artistic activity going on in Swindon.
I really must start carrying my camera around with me. These are taken with my phone and they won’t always come up bigger? I dunno why. It’s beyond me. Iny my defence I hadn’t planned to go in there today – I just happened to be passing. But anyway, they give a flavour.
Artsite and the work they do is a huge asset to Swindon and a rich part of the town’s cultural landscape.