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Artelier Curation: Public Art Mural by Ian Kirkpatrick for Residence Development in Southwark, London


In the realm of public art, Artelier specialises in research, strategising and developing significant art collections for high-end projects of any calibre. Beyond acquiring contemporary pieces from renowned global artists, we engage in partnerships with local artists to craft bespoke public art commissions specifically designed for each project.


Southern Housing Group, renowned for its expertise in high-end residential projects, enlisted the services of Artelier to commission a public art mural for a residential development in Southwark, London.


A multi-storey apartment block on Glengall Road, post-modern design with exposed red brick and grey brick exterior facades at certain intervals either side of the building.
© HG Construction

© Glengall Road Conservation Area Appraisal via southwark.gov.uk



The Building: Glengall Road in Southwark, London


This new multi-storey apartment complex spans an impressive 190,000 sq ft, featuring 171 residential apartments distributed across four blocks. The development integrates commercial space on the ground and first floors, preserving the façade on two elevations to honour the heritage of the local area. Additionally, an industrial chimney is set to be retained and seamlessly integrated into the scheme's design, with the residential blocks converging around a meticulously landscaped courtyard.



Architectural plan for Glengall Road.


The Strategy: Artwork Placement


Artelier was brought on board to review the project strategy and identify a suitable location and context for the artwork. The aim; create a comprehensive public art strategy which paired the best qualities of public art and urban development. This strategy was formulated through a thorough evaluation of architectural renders and sketches by our qualified team.


Artelier identified the opportunity of the Glendale Passage, as shown above. We kept in mind various factors such as temporality, scale, statement-making capacity, size and durability. However, the challenging aspect of this narrow and elongated space lies in its length and limited width. Transforming this challenge into an opportunity, our goal was to incorporate artwork that would not only enhance the space but also create an elevated, experiential, and immersive atmosphere.





The Strategy: Contextual Research


In line with the standard approach for public art commissions, our primary focus was firstly to engage with the local context. Our curatorial team conducted thorough research to better understand the historical significance of the site, which in turn would shape a suitable artist for the project.

Our historical investigation revealed a compelling narrative of a vibrant industrial heritage near the development site. Just a short distance away, the Grand Surrey Canal, operational during the Victorian era, played a crucial role in transporting resources that fueled diverse and essential industries in the area. At the heart of Southwark emerged London's Industrial heartland, contributing vital resources such as timber, gas, mineral water, quicklime, leather, and beer. Our research uncovered Southwark's continuous presence at the forefront of cultural production, transitioning from a lemonade factory on the development site to Edison Bell's exclusive production of music records on Glengall Road in the early 20th Century.


As manufacturing industries waned, former warehouses and factories transformed into ideal spaces for creative endeavours, symbolising Southwark's convergence of an industrial past with an artistic present. These public spaces embody Southwark's significance in London's experimental artistic scene, providing a rich historical backdrop for the commissioned artwork.



A vicotrian photograph of the public street of glengall road in london


The Strategy: Artist Selection


The artist selection process is one that requires trust and an expert eye. With over 20 years of experience, Artelier's industry knowledge has formulated a strategy successfully proven to curate artists for public art commissions of all calibres. For this project, Artelier collaborated with the stakeholders to propose a spectrum of artists of varying cost levels for each space. This allowed for flexibility and choice tailored to the client's unique preferences.


To streamline the artist selection process, Artelier prepared a comprehensive brief delineating project details and providing clear guidance for artists submitting applications. Actively engaging the local artistic community, Artelier also contacted local studios and publicised the opportunity through both local and national artist networks.


With 70 applications received, Artelier established a detailed set of criteria against which artists were evaluated. The internal evaluation process was a collaborative effort, with Artelier team members specialising in curation, design, and procurement individually scoring each artist's application.


This assessment assessed the quality of the application, the artist's response to the context and site, their connection to the locality, and the potential for their artistic concept to be realised. Pinpointing creative potential, technical proficiency, and the artists' previous experience, this multifaceted strategy ensured a thorough and holistic evaluation of each applicant.



An extract from a presentation curated by Ian Kirkpatrick, with multiple options on the walls, ceilings and public exterior of the building.
Extract from Artelier's Presentation to Local Residents in April 2022


The Strategy: Community Engagement


Artelier places great emphasis on community engagement in the decision-making process for public artworks commissioned in residential developments. Artelier is committed to the artistic revitalisation of neighbourhoods and the practice of community-engaged art in public spaces. Our practice embraces democratic spheres, contributing to placemaking and fostering neighbourhood art initiatives through urban public art and community art projects.


Our approach ensures that the community not only has the opportunity to interact with each selected artwork but is also actively involved in shaping the artistic landscape. For Glengall Road, Artelier firstly organised polls and surveys within the wider community. Secondly, Artelier hosted two residential meetings, where the public were encouraged to voice preferences among the artwork options through mechanisms like shortlisting. For ease, Artelier presented 15 shortlisted artists, where the residents could consequently select their top 4 artists.




© Ian Kirkpatrick


The Final Selection: Ian Kirkpatrick


Selected from a pool of 70 applicants, Ian Kirkpatrick emerged as the chosen artist for the public artwork in our residential development project.


Background


Originally from Canada, Ian is a contemporary artist currently based in the UK whose work draws inspiration from ancient cave paintings and Greek amphorae to contemporary expressions like graffiti and computer graphics. Ian's unique artistic approach merges the past and present, rooted in a profound interest in classical antiquity and ancient civilisations. Utilising traditional formats such as monolithic statues, bas-reliefs, and ziggurats, he creates innovative forms overlaid with a complex iconography of patterns and motifs, contributing a distinctive and captivating dimension to Glengall Road's Residential Development. Notably, he creates his works digitally before translating them into tangible forms using an array of industrial materials such as stainless steel, artificial leather, embroidery, vinyl, corrugated cardboard, Perspex, and Dibond.



Vibrant public art murals in the alcoves of a building inside a grand development.
© Ian Kirkpatrick

Portfolio


Ian's extensive artistic reach stretches across the UK and internationally, with exhibitions in major cities including New York, Chicago, Montreal, Berlin, Rome, and London. His portfolio includes commissioned works for significant events like the London 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France, as well as collaborations on public art projects in various cities for clients such as MVRDV architects, Provast Developers, Morgan Sindall, and Berkeley Group.




© Ian Kirkpatrick


Experience in Public Artworks


Committed to large-scale public artworks since 2017, Ian Kirkpatrick brings a wealth of experience to the realm of public art. His track record encompasses not only artistic vision but also adept project management skills honed through handling significant budgets, intricate customer and fabrication timelines, and diverse design tasks. Kirkpatrick has previous experience in collaborating with a range of stakeholders, including contractors, manufacturers, architects, city councils, arts organizations, and developers, in order to craft exciting and innovative public artworks that creatively respond to client briefs. His familiarity with working on construction sites and navigating the complexities of developers’ schedules underscores his pragmatic approach and ensures the successful realisation of his artistic vision.



Green, red, yellow, pink, blue graphic painting style in the alcoves of a public art site, in an interior building.
© Ian Kirkpatrick


Inspiration & Submission for Glengall Road


Kirkpatrick's inspiration for the current project stems from a thorough exploration of modern-day Southwark. Following a site visit in Glengall, he captured local motifs, patterns, and ornaments through photography, delving into historical research on the pilgrimage route between London and Canterbury that originated near the development site. Noteworthy landmarks, such as R. White’s Lemonade factory and the Edison Bell Factory, along with the Grand Surrey Canal, have also informed his artistic perspective.


Kirkpatrick submitted a proposal of an array of mediums, including hand-painting, digitally printed glass, ceramic tile, or the incorporation of figurative walls, showcasing his versatility and commitment to delivering impactful public art.




© Ian Kirkpatrick



 


Do you have a Project that requires Public Art?



Digital wave artwork by Tobias Tovera, made using orgnanic minerals blended with fire.
© Tobias Tovera

As public and landscape art consultants, Artelier has specialist expertise in developing art strategies and commissioning bespoke installations and sculptures.

Our projects have spanned varied public realm spaces, including: mixed use developments, corporate contexts, public parks, sculpture gardens, residential developments, landscapes and temporary installations.


To learn more about our turn-key art consultancy services and our process for commissioning artworks, visit our Public Art page here.



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