In February, I was outside a 12 step recovery meeting talking to sculptor Russ Coleman of the The Concrete Foundation about a project he had been asked to build in Glasgow for the artist Jim Lambie. It was a 100 x 3 metre path based on a record collection on its side – on the ‘spine’ of each record would be a band name and the date they played at the nearby Barrowland Ballroom venue. “A bit like the Yellow Brick Road crossed with Paul Smith … but on acid.”
The job needed taking from a digital sketch of an idea to a finished design and then the whole path needed breaking up (digitally) and collating for a succession of different processes. At the same time, there would need to be a parallel re-ordering of the confusion created by the production of 22,000 glyphs in nine different fonts across 14 colours. Russ asked if I would like to help. I said I would and I did.
We created a precise and simple set of visual steps and processes that aided Russ with the production of the artwork. The whole project became a ballet between a team of people: Each person and process was reliant on the work done before and after a particular section was completed. The graphic roadmaps and lists helped maintain the organised chaos. It was, we thought, a bit like baking a cake without any instructions.
My experience was and continues to be a wonderful education and adventure in concrete. The following is a selection of images gathered during the building of Jim Lambie’s Untitled pavement project at Barrowlands Park.
14 years comprehensive school education.
1 year art foundation.
3 year degree in graphic design.
16 years design and art direction.
10 years in the wilderness.
7 years living a life beyond the wildest of dreams.
16 years comprehensive school education.
2 years training city and guilds, bricklaying and construction.
9 years letter carver at father’s monumental masonry business.
10 years practical involvement with youth theatre.
4 years arts education.
21 years public arts practice.
Mix all your ingredients well so that all edges blur and one ingredient infuses the other.Place all the ingredients in a workshop situation, add people and projects and materials.Actively stir things about. Leave the dust to settle. Sweep up afterwards.
Untitled 2014 by Jim Lambie, coloured concrete, 103m × 3m. Public Artwork in Barrowland Park, Glasgow. Courtesy of the Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photographs of the path on the last page of Monograph by Stephen Hosey. All other photography by Kirk Teasdale. The Barrowland Park is a new greenspace in Glasgow – bounded by Gallowgate, London Road and Moir Street.