Artist Jo Berry Reinterprets Heritage Illuminations for Centenary 2012

Kicking off Illuminations Week on altblackpool, Clancy Mason tells us about artist Jo Berry’s reinterpretation of Heritage Illuminations for the Centenary.

Blackpool Tower plus Fluted Pylons (1938). Image from Blackpool Local and Family History Centre (right).

Lighting artist Jo Berry has been busy creating a new lighting installation for the 2012 Illuminations Centenary inspired by a fluted pylon design from the 1930’s. Originally from Burnley, Jo Berry has been exhibiting regularly for over 12 years. Her work is ground breaking and highly regarded, with pieces in the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and Arts Council England (ACE) Collections.Her new series of work, to be exhibited during Blackpool Illuminations Centenary of five fluted pylons inspired by the 1930s Illumination Collection with an exciting community engagement project run along side it, is one of Jo’s most ambitious projects’ to date.

Jo spoke about her work during one of her community engagement workshops to support the new artworks at the City Learning Centre, Grange Park.

‘I work digitally and I’m interested in using light and colour to make artwork for public spaces and exhibitions. Initially, I draw digitally and I enjoy exploring new technology. Recently, I’ve liked the idea of social interaction with what I’m making.’

In the last year, Jo has been researching and developing new ways to create customized sculptural light drawing samples, both for interior and exterior locations, through the use of digital technologies, high-end lighting devices (such as LEDS) and new fabrication techniques.

Jo talks of what her finished work will look like:  ‘I wanted to keep the essence of the original fluted pylons from the 1930’s. It’s been great working with the collections, particularly from the 1930’s. I love the idea of working with 3D objects.’

Jo is reinterpreting five original fluted pylons using brightly coloured lasercut Perspex disks which will be mounted into fibreglass flutes. Each pylon will hold 5 new flutes,  with themes taken form the 1930’s collections. Clever internal lighting will ensure that the details from the lasercut drawings will be projected on the glossy white flutes below creating a stunning series of lights situated on Princess Parade, Promenade, near the Metropole Hotel.

Flute prototype with lasercut images from the 1930’s collection. There will be 25 of these in a variety of colours and designs.

To support this project, Jo has led a series of community workshops where groups have worked with the collections and mirrored her techniques to create a series of nine lighboxes with interchangeable fronts. ‘I’ve enjoyed working with the collections and with the community groups. The groups have been so open to the ideas and I’ve enjoyed sharing my own techniques with them. It’s been great to see them get on and make things.’

Working with lasercut wood blocks and images from the Heritage Collection at a community workshop.
Working with lasercut wood blocks and images from the Heritage Collection at a community workshop.

There is a switch on event with Jo Berry on Wednesday 5th September at 7pm where the community groups involved will also be able to view work made during their workshops.

Jo’s work will be available to view throughout the Illuminations season from Friday 31st August.






For more details visit: http://www.joberry.co.uk or http://www.joberry-artist.blogspot.com. This project has been managed by Blackpool Councils Arts Service and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Further support has been provided by Blackpool Illuminations and the Local and Family History Centre.

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