While most building site hoardings are covered with ugly adverts, or at a stretch, a fun-coloured lick of paint, Bath School of Art and Design had other ideas in mind. The university is relocating its main campus to a former Herman Miller factory, and while the grade II listed building undergoes renovations to transform it into a new studio space flush with creative facilities, the art school put out an open call to students and alumni to creatively cover the building site’s hoardings. The project resulted in a collaborative public art project titled Locksbrook, led by Carl Godfrey, calling on the art school’s alumni and students to delve through the university’s archives to plaster the 90 metre-long hoardings.
Regular collaborators Carl Godfrey, Thomas Goldsworthy, David Gordon and Lucy Harper took on the role as lead visionaries. The group of friends, who were all part of the graduating class of 2014, devised the concept of the archive-based curation. Artist and designer Carl Godfrey tells It’s Nice That, “We liked the idea that the school would be building on a site steeped in creative history, adding the next layer of creativity and producing the next generation of artists, designers and creatives.”
Drawing on the idea of a “layered creative history” and influenced by fly-posting culture and aesthetics, the group decided to reproduce a range of creative work from past students on the building site’s hoardings. “We scoured the school’s archives,” says Carl, “finding beautiful old Lino-cut illustrations, screen-prints, typographic experiments, event posters and old degree show posters from over 50 years ago.” And with the help of other Bath graduates, including It’s Nice That favourite Charlie Newhouse, the group created a mural in honour of the art school’s rich design history.
“It turns out 90 metres is as long as it sounds,” jokes Carl on the “sweltering” number of days it took to apply the reproductions onto the hoardings. After collating, scanning, and reprinting a wide range of pieces from the school’s archive, the group decided on a layout which would compare and contrast the variety of artistic genres and design trends over the decades. The project is currently in its second phase. As the first layer of posters has naturally deteriorated due to the weather, the group has recently pasted a second edition of the works in bright orange, revealing more innovative works from the extensive student archive.
As well as being a comprehensive overview of student work, for Charlie, the project also acted as a reminder of “the importance of self-initiated work and how integral it is to the creative process.” For him, the community project offered a chance to rekindle old memories of his old work. He recalls, “I was instantly intrigued [by the email to alumni] as the posters I created as a student were a real release for me amidst other uni work.” Not only does the public art project provide a great insight into an eclectic range of student works, Locksbrook also offered the chance for alumni to come back together in Bath and collaborate on a self-initiated project once more.
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