Luke Jerram - Park and Slide

Friday, May 16, 2014
A few weekends ago was the first Make Sunday Special event of 2014, and what a day it was. The City was out in it's masses, all flocking to Park Street to watch the hotly anticipated Park and Slide. Over 90,000 on-line applications were made, only 360 lucky people were randomly selected to slide.  With the whole of the City watching, the urban water slide was an incredible sight.
We caught up with local artist Luke Jerram to discover the man behind the project...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your creative work? 
My name is Luke Jerram, I make live artworks, sculptures and installations in both the UK and all around the world. I live in Bristol, my studio is based in Spike Island and my office is just off Park Street.
When did you know you were an artist? 
When I was much younger I wanted to be an engineer but ended up going to art college. After I graduated I knew I wanted to be an artist but it took me a further 5 years to learn to make a living out of my art.

How would you describe your creative process? 
I work in several different ways. Initially I jot down ideas and drawings in my sketch book, and work through them for various projects.  Sometimes museums or festivals give me a specific brief to create a project. I then develop a whole stack of ideas before the final one is chosen.

What was your inspiration behind Park and Slide? 
My office is based on Park Street and during the heat wave of last summer I thought wouldn’t it be nice to slide all the way home. Last year the Make Sunday Special organisers had a call for ideas, so I submitted the Park and Slide proposal as a mass participation project and it went from there....
Can you tell us about a previous project & what did you enjoy the most about it’s reception? 
In 2008 I launched the Street Piano project, called ‘Play Me I’m Yours’. So far we’ve placed 1300 pianos in 44 Cities all over the world. To date over 6 million people have played the pianos and listened to their music. I like my art projects to be participatory, rather than me being the focus. Essentially I like to see people having a good time.

What do you love most about being an artist in Bristol? 
Being based in Bristol I can get a lot of work done, as I live close to my office and studio, the commute is minimal. I also feel that Bristol has a good infrastructure, which makes it easy to get big projects off the ground. In other Cities or London I imagine it would this would prove difficult.
Describe your studio or workspace? 
My studio is based in Spike Island. It's great.  It is full of half baked projects and artworks yet to be born, along with returning pieces which have been touring galleries. I use the space to experiment and develop new ideas.

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
I don’t tend to get into a creative rut. If something isn’t working I go to bed and sleep on it. 

Which is your favourite local independent shop or eatery in Bristol & why? 
The Old Book Shop in Bedminster.

Thank you Luke for taking the time to talk to us.  After watching the Park and Slide, we can't look at Park Street the same again.

All images courtesy of Luke Jerram.

No comments:

Post a Comment