Continuing its low key patronage of the arts, Manchester paintmaker HMG Paints’ latest creative collaboration proved to be, literally, the highlight of the Market Estate Project, a one-day creative exhibition by 75 community artists, leading up to the demolition of one of London’s most notorious estates. The young artistic partnership of Jessica Blandford and Joe Morris recreated a 1960’s living room and painted everything inside fluorescent yellow - the walls, the floor, chairs, fixtures and fittings, even tea cups and bourbon biscuits. Not surprisingly, this highly vivid installation caught the eye of thousands of visitors and gained the young artists extensive multimedia coverage.
One rather distinguished member of the public also seemed quite impressed: “There was a rather surreal moment when, after all the crowds had gone, we came across a solitary man, taking pictures of our exhibit,” says Jess. “It was Anthony Gormley! He said he loved it.”
After helping artist Max Hague to prepare for his exhibition in Manchester last autumn, HMG Paints was happy to support Camberwell College of Arts graduates, Blandford and Morris, when they sought sponsorship-in-kind for their proposed Market Estate installation, ‘Fluorescent Yellow Room’. As a manufacturer normally concerned with supplying high performance coatings for industrial, commercial transport, construction and electronics applications, the family-owned firm is always fascinated by more creative use of its materials.
“We are so grateful for HMG’s support,” says Jess. “It made such a difference that people who actually make the fluorescent paint were interested in our artistic venture. We hope to visit the factory in Manchester soon and perhaps talk about further collaborations.”
The groundbreaking Market Estate Project brought together a temporary community of artists, on an urban site in the process of major regeneration. A typical 1960’s development comprising 270 high rise flats and maisonettes, built on the grounds of the former Metropolitan Cattle Market, near Caledonian Road in the Borough of Islington, the estate had become run down, neglected and plagued by antisocial behaviour of late, so was scheduled for demolition. Before the bulldozers moved in however, new owners Southern Housing Group agreed to help transform the vacant flats and communal areas into a giant creative canvas for community artists, culminating in a one day, pre-demolition event. More than 2500 people came to view the 66 different art projects that had engulfed the estate.
Selected by organisers Tall Tales from hundreds of would-be participants, Jess and Joe decided to paint everything in their allocated flat fluorescent yellow, because this vivid colour is associated with contrasting everyday emotions: danger, safety, authority, rebellion. Also, since luminous yellow is so reflective, it creates different shadows, tones and shades, rather than a monotone effect.
“We felt fluorescent yellow would be really appropriate to reflect the dying utopia that was the Market Estate. Due to its violent glow, the colour can also be seen as a caricature of the nuclear age, which relates to the 60’s theme,” explains Jess.
Certainly the artistic pair’s installation attracted plenty of interest and critical acclaim, with The Independent, Guardian and e-zine Dazed Digital all featuring their work, while arts blog Kluster hailed the event its ‘fave project of the year’.
On a technical note, HMG’s LMP waterborne acrylic coating supplied for the art work was ideal for applying in the confined spaces of a tenement flat, due to the absence of solvent fumes, and it can be applied to a wide variety of substrates, even apparently a half-eaten piece of toast! The paint was supplied through the newly-opened HMG London depot in Juliet Way, Purfleet, Essex.
“Our paints are used to protect, preserve and enhance an enormous variety of objects, but to see them employed artistically is always a thrill,” says HMG Paints MD, John Falder. “We’re delighted that our fluorescent paint helped Jess and Joe make such an impact at Market Estate and shall take a keen interest in their future careers.”
Further enquiries to HMG Paints at Riverside Works, Collyhurst Road, Manchester M40 7RU, telephone 0161 205 7631, email firstname.lastname@example.org or to HMG London, 27 Millennium House, 23 Juliette Way, Purfleet, Essex RM15 4YD, telephone 01708 864 509, email email@example.com