As part of the refurbishment of West Monkseaton station, Richard Talbot was commissioned to work with the project architects.
He designed the glazing which overlooks the tracks and platforms from the ticket hall and contributed to the general colour scheme for the station.
Bob Olley’s mural depicting famous personalities from the north east region, was created while working as Artist in Residence at the Customs House Gallery, South Shields. ‘Famous Faces’ includes the portraits of fourteen of the area’s most charismatic figures looking out of the carriage windows of a Metro train. In order to convey the breadth of achievement spanning across the region, celebrities are depicted from a multitude of backgrounds, encompassing sport, entertainment, broadcasting, literature, music, acting and the church.
Canon by Lothar Goetz was commissioned in 2010, part of a £20m project to rebuild the station.
Canon, by Sunderland University lecturer Lothar Goetz, features dynamic flashes of colour that run through the bright new curved platform spaces and stretch up into the concourse above.
At street level a kaleidoscopic mosaic is designed to reflect the vibrant city and the six million passengers who pass through Haymarket every year.
‘Byker Barcodes’ was commissoned in 2013 with support from Arts Council England, Newcastle City Council and Nexus.
The 11 metres wide ‘Byker Barcodes’ artwork Trails and Treasures captures everyday and overlooked features, patterns and detail from the streets of East Newcastle and weaves them into a colourful design inspired by local people.
The finished work by ‘rednile projects’ is also interactive, embedded with QR codes which can be scanned by smartphones to reveal stories and information about the area.
It marks the first of a series of six new commissions for Byker Metro which will appear over the next two years with the support of Arts Council England, Newcastle City Council and Nexus, which owns and manages Metro.
You are never far from a work of art in Newcastle and this continues in Jesmond. After alighting from the Metro, ascend the stairs and you’ll notice an intriguing sculpture behind some glass panels. This is by RAF Fulcher and entitled Garden Front, an was developed using the language of 18th century garden design. A panel on a nearby wall will give you more information about it. Passengers emerging from Jesmond Metro Station, could be forgiven for thinking that this is an old relic of a bygone age. In fact this sculpture, Garden Front, by Raf Fulcher was created to contrast with the modern architecture of the station.
Keith Grant’s mosaic ‘Nocturnal Landscape’ is resonant of a Norwegian scene, its imagery selected to reflect the landscape of the North East and its historical connections with Norway.
Based upon a triptych of prints by the Japanese artists Kunisada and Hiroshija, the work is intended to act as a calming influence, countering the bustle of urban Gateshead.
The most ambitious artwork at Sunderland – and one of the most complex Nexus has commissioned – is Platform 5 by Jason Bruges Studio. The west wall of the station, previously plain blockwork, has been replaced by more than 10,000 glass blocks. Low energy led lights behind each block turn the wall into a giant screen, each glass block becomes a pixel providing a 140 metre long digital canvas for the artists’ imagination.
Jason Bruges Studio has transformed this into an animated visualisation of the long-forgotten platform the wall now conceals. Local volunteers were recruited to be filmed to create a language of digitised characters who appear as shadows of passengers waiting for trains, and gathering in random patterns and groups before a train arrives. As each train departs, with its passengers onboard, so the empty platform again begins to be populated by expectant passengers, moving along it in new patterns of behaviour, reflecting the constant ebb and flow of humanity through this busy station.
It is an ever changing cycle of people coming and going, an intriguing creation and a unique response to one of the city’s transport gateways.
Hilary Paynter’s ‘From the Rivers to the Sea’ is more than a fitting tribute to Bewick’s achievements and advice. Whilst Thomas Bewick worked within the technical constraints of his day Hilary Paynter was keen to explore how her images could be enlarged and given an architectural presence.
Reproduced as vitreous enamel panels her wood engravings provide a panoramic travelogue which link the station’s platforms across the concourse. At the end of his life Thomas Bewick wrote of engraving that, ‘I cannot help feeling a deep interest, and ardent desire, that the Art may long flourish and that those who follow it may feel happy in the pursuit…’.
‘Passing’, a triptych mosaic, expresses the passing of time through the image of a young family.
This is perhaps one of the most beautiful of all art works on the Metro, helped by its setting. With a little imagination you can see what once were ticket office booths behind each of the four arches. A cafe has recently moved in behind, Coffee Central. The outer panels depict them on a day trip to the beach while the central panel depicts a nocturnal seascape, devoid of human activity.
These two stained glass works at Monkseaton Metro are incorporated into each end of the original glazed canopy protecting passengers on the platform from the vagaries of the weather. ‘Beach’, executed in a bold and colourful style, was designed from a schools competition won by Rosalind Hurst. ‘Shipyards’ is more abstract in its treatment of the business of the river.
Anthony Lowe’s tiled mural ‘Metro Morning’ depicts travellers and Metro staff aboard rush hour Metro trains. In making the work the artist photographed his subjects during the morning rush hour and their life-sized portraits were then incorporated onto the mural. The final work combines a stylised rendition of the trains with photographic silk screens of the passengers.
Designs, derived from the imagery of electronic circuit boards, have been sand blasted into the walls and paving at the entrances to the metro station. They use the language of sculpture to convey the complex sensations of living in a digital culture, itself dependent on circuits, and surface networks such as the Metro itself, activated by information and people.
‘Wakes Week’ by Steve McNulty is located just above the escalator in the Railway Station entrance to Central Station Metro.
Commissioned in 1985, ‘Wakes Week’ is a large abstract mural composed of a sequence of vitreous enamel panels which extend over two walls, at right angles to each other.
Wakes Week was the traditional summer holiday which marked the annual closure of factories and mills around the north of England.
Its ordered surface, of horizontal white lines, is disrupted by bold angular coloured lines that run off in all directions. Conveying a sense of energy and vibrancy these lines break free from the underlying structure of the overall composition.