One of the nicest things about inviting artists to enter their work to be used on the new Bristol Pounds this year has been spending a bit of time with them, getting to know the person behind the pen and coming up with interesting ways to celebrate their talent.
Our summer interns Liberty O’Hagan and Rosie Dickinson, organised a series of creative photo shoots with Kes (£B1), Radley Cook (£B1) and Kiwani Dolean (£B20), revisiting the places that inspired their work.
Kes is an artist fascinated by history. His piece depicts the Queen Square Riots, a topic he wanted to share to remind people now “of the importance of using their voices and their right to protest in challenging times”.
We met up with him in Queens Square – where else? – on a baking hot summer day to soak up the atmosphere and imagine ourselves back in 1831.
He said “Bristol has always inspired me because it is a city with a unique voice and its past shows that there has been a thread of protest and dissonance throughout time. I like to paint events where people have been driven to protest because it shows a really strong depth of feeling, anger and desperation. These events make great images because of all the action and emotional content.”
Radley Cook is a design student at UWE who was inspired by a press image of protestors from the Stokes Croft riots of 2012 and the work of René Magritte to create his striking image, which accompanies Kes’ piece on the £B1.
He said “there is something about hiding someone’s identity and making them faceless that’s quite effective and intriguing. It wasn’t who the protesters were or what they looked like that made the image powerful, it was the fact that they all shared a common ideology and belief that something was wrong and it was their duty to fix it. The megaphones are a signifier of the tribe that all the protesters belong to.”
We met Radley in Stokes Croft to stand in the exact spot that press image was taken – outside Fred Baker Cycles and Tesco. Liberty and Rosie joined him in raising a megaphone to our freedom to protest.
Kiwani Dolean is a digital designer and illustrator creating delightful experiences. Her work depicts the SS Great Britain floating in the sky on a sea of beautiful handwritten words telling the story of the ship.
Big thanks to the team at SS Great Britain for welcoming us on board to see the River Avon from a different perspective. During our exploration of this beautiful vessel we even met a sailor dressed in traditional seagoing uniform!
Of Bristol, Kiwani said “I moved to Bristol in August 2017 and I instantly fell in love with the city, its vibrant spirit, heartwarming community and all round vibe. Bristol inspires me every day with its beautiful sceneries (from the parks to the harbour), its great street art and graffiti, and all the creative things happening in every part of the city.”