'The Green Man' is most commonly represented as a face surrounded by leaves, or with vegetation sprouting from the nose, mouth and head. Sometimes the face is composed entirely from leaves and foliage. Green Men are used as decorative architectural features, usually representing fertility and the regenerative cycle of the seasons.

I am interested in reinterpreting ‘The Green Man’ as symbol of the city of Stoke-on-Trent at this point in time; a motif that not only represents a sense of regeneration and renewal but one that could also be used to bring about changes, by highlighting what is effectively public artwork that already exists.

Friday, 19 March 2010

What's New?

I have just returned from the preview of 'What's New?'- the 5th Annual Urban Vision North Staffordshire Photographic Competition, held at the Burslem School of Art. The theme invited you to discover ‘What’s New?’ in your environment.

So, with my interpretation of Green Man Symbolising renewal within the city I submitted my photograph 'Symbolism' (also pictured below) which shows one of the Green Men peering down from the columns on the old Market facade in Stoke town centre, now the facade of new Library building which is situated on the old market square behind. I also thought it was interesting that this new building (which is eco-friendly too) is fronted by numerous Green Men...

I was drawn to the juxtaposition of the Green Man with the Stoke-on-Trent city logo and the notion of symbolism and narrative- to me this represented the sense of regeneration occurring all over the city- and on this very building. It also represented the notion of the Green Man peering over our city in a protective, watchful manner.

I was pleased to receive some feedback whilst at the preview, even if it was criticism for the inclusion of the Stoke-on-Trent City logo. This had initially 'Put them off' it, and it transpired that they hadn't even noticed the Green Man in the image! Since that was pointed out to me I have noticed that the city logo would appear to dominate the image and is the first thing that stands out (although this links to the idea of having an 'eye' for the Green Man). I now think I would have been better off forgetting the idea of the narrative and should have simply submitted a close up of this decorative Green Man to represent 'Whats New' or the potential of new things.

The Exhibition at the Burslem School of Art runs until Friday 9th April. If you can't make it to the Exhibition all of the submissions are available to view by clicking here where you can also vote for your favorite image for the 'People's Choice Award'

I voted for 'Broken windows, creative minds' by Ted Simpkin (Click to view) This at first looked like a very strange, negative image especially with the colours red and black and the image of the skull. However look a little closer and it becomes more playful and naive. I spoke to Ted briefly about his image and he told me that this this graffiti was new as the wall had only just been made accessible after a building that stood in front of it was demolished. The characters and hand prints remind me of early cave paintings or aboriginal art but I really just like the simplistic aesthetic of these strange and ghostly little characters.

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