A few months ago during the third year of my BA Fine Art course at Cardiff Met, I found out about an opportunity to work with garden and landscape designer Brent Purtell through my tutor.
He was looking for student artists to help with the murals for his show garden at the Royal Horticultural Society Cardiff Flower Show 2019. This was an opportunity I couldn’t ignore – tens of thousands of people visit the show, and the garden would be competing for the RHS Medal. I immediately expressed an interest and sent links to my social media accounts and some pictures of my work, as did Jamie Walton and Charlie Lindsay from my course.
I create paintings using the technique of paint pouring, primarily inspired by landscapes. Brent liked my work, and Charlie and Jamie’s too. Despite having very different individual styles, Brent could see how they would work together within his urban regeneration themed garden.
We met with Brent to go through ideas and to visualise his plan, and soon we had the recycled corrugated sheeting delivered to our studios at the Cardiff School of Art and Design and we were eager to start!
I put down the first layer, pouring my vibrant colours of paint across the numerous pieces of corrugated sheeting. It was a material that I’d never worked on before so I was very sceptical of the outcome, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised – the sheeting encouraged the flow of the paints.
Next Charlie spread her portrait over three pieces of the sheeting, blending in with my paint pouring. Finally, Jamie completed the sheeting with abstract shapes and a luminous glow using spray paints. We used colours that would work well with the plants and flowers that Brent was using as part of his design.
This has been a really tough yet enjoyable experience, and we’ve all learned a lot. It’s taught me about time management, having only 4 weeks to complete the project, with no chance of an extension – we had to get it ready for the show! We also had to learn how to work as a team and be comfortable with each other’s styles alongside our own work.
It’s also given us great experience of working with a designer to a specific brief. There was pressure on us to deliver exactly what he wanted, and we didn’t want to let him down. We wanted him to love the final outcome – and he does!
We are extremely happy – Brent was ecstatic with the outcome, and we’ve been so excited to help create the garden for the RHS Show. As I write this, we’ve not seen the finished article yet – we’re so looking forward to viewing the results of all of the hard work and long hours we have put in over the last few weeks. We can’t thank Brent enough for such an amazing opportunity – it’s one we will never forget.
The Xardin Urban Gallery garden won the Bronze Regeneration Gardens medal at the RHS Cardiff Flower Show 2019.