Shaz on Spring Bank

Question:        “Why yellow and red?”

Answer:           “Chicken and beef of course!”

This is the reasoning behind the colour scheme for Medina Butchers, chosen by the owner and staff at the shop as described by Shaz, Artlink’s resident Spring Bank Artist. We asked her to talk more about the project:

Spring Bank Art is definitely an arts project, but if I were asked what I thought the cornerstone of the project was – my answer would be ‘choice’.  The original palette was chosen by the community, and the humans who inhabit/use/work in the buildings we have painted so far (that’s 4) had ultimate choice as to the colour scheme for their building.  Choice is a good thing.  Lot’s of people don’t have many choices in their everyday lives; if they do, they’re often ‘between a rock and hard place’ sort of choices. That’s why, as an artist, it’s great to be able to offer people several really great choices in the form of colours.

The next important foundation is ‘identity’.  Spring Bank people have a very strong sense of identity.  However, there was very little visual representation of it in the public realm.  The palette and use of colours is a way for us to physically represent the unique identity of Spring Bank that people told us about.  Spring Bank is unique – we just have to show the rest of the world how unique it is.

The third important thing for this project is ‘love’.  Same as the love we felt on the street when we spoke to people about how they felt about Spring Bank.  ‘True Colours’ is giving us a chance to show the street, and the community, a whole load of love, using art as the vehicle.  We have been very careful to respect the original architecture, for example, when painting facades, and have targeted buildings that really needed sprucing up.  The amazing thing is that while we’ve been busy sprucing – others’ have started sprucing themselves.  Walls and doors have received a new lick of paint on several buildings.   Long may this continue.

As an artist, I am very interested in how we can transform places using colour and light – without necessarily demolishing things or spending hundreds or thousands of pounds which isn’t available.  I also have strong feelings about the monochrome environment that poorer communities are expected to live in – palettes made up of white, black, grey, magnolia and brick-red.  I’m not saying a muted palette doesn’t have a place in our lives; but in some circumstances, I think a clever injection of a vibrant hue can lift the spirits and make places feel more attractive and safer to use.

This brings me onto the next phase of the project – a permanent light installation. We haven’t finished painting buildings yet, but when we did the initial consultation – coloured “beautiful” outdoor lighting was a very popular choice.  There are also some ‘problem’ sites around Spring Bank that people have highlighted to us – places that they don’t use or walk through any more because they are afraid.  Places that could just do with a bit of light and a bit of love.   Over the next few months we will be going through the process of identifying one site (out of several possibilities), and doing more consultation with the people who live near to the chosen site.  We’ll also be working with partners such as Hull Council and Hull Art College. Together we will come up with and install clever, quirky ways to brighten up dark spaces with aesthetically pleasing clever design solutions.

Thanks To Our Main Funders

Arts Council Hull City Council