Six months ago I was approached by Ylana First the curator of the Bridge Gallery and long time friend of Tynemouth Station. She notice that I had recently been working on a deckchair for the Staithes Arts Festival and mention she had 10 vintage Whitley Bay District Council 1950's deckchairs in storage and asked if I would be able to make an exhibition out of them? And so the idea was born!
Four months of hard work later and a collaboration with my sons local primary school in North Shields I put together the exhibition called Back to the Beach.
The exhibition explores the revival of the British coastline and celebrates the love for our local beaches.The deckchair was once synonymous with the great British seaside holiday. It saw a decline in the 1960’s with rise in package holidays abroad leading people away from our once thriving coastline. I brought back to life these original 1950’s deckchairs by creating new chair slings with my artwork, which combines painting, collage and stitching techniques.
Local is the essence of this show. I made sailing boats from driftwood collected at Tynemouth Haven. I used maps of the area and collaged them into each deckchair sling and of course the old deckchair frames themselves that used to adorn the beaches of our North Tyneside coast.
The exhibition also combines my own artwork with a collection of deckchairs designed by pupils from Whitehouse Primary School in North Shields. I worked with the local school children to create some stunning designs using their colourful seaside drawings. It was fabulous working with the children and together we also made the colourful bunting that decorates the exhibition.
It is the biggest exhibition of my career so far and one of the most challenging spaces create to work for. Viewing is from all sides and it encouraged me to work larger scale with more 3D pieces.
You can also watch me paint live in the gallery on the 3rd 10th & 17th July Followed by a sneaky peek at 3pm for a closer look inside the gallery space.