We’ve been making land art and urban art for a few years now, with street art painted onto the roads, in the path of world class cyclists and a giant yellow bike on the roof of the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds for the Tour de Yorkshire. Ever since last year when we made our first field painting “Fish on a Bike” for Bradford Council & DNAire to mark the UCI Road Championships, we have been itching to develop this form of land art.
Jamie Wardley and Claire Jamieson were talking to the headteacher of their daughter’s school one day and the subject of International Women’s Day came up – the children at Hebden Royd C of E Primary School are very interested in the environment and they had chosen Greta Thunberg as their inspirational woman for 2020. The idea came to Jamie, that a great way for the pupils to mark International Women’s Day on March the 8th, would be to create a giant portrait of Greta with the children.
The 60m piece of field art was created in the school’s playing field by four of our professional artists in the week leading up to the 8th, with the school children taking part on the final day. The land art uses line marker paint, the same paint that would mark out the football pitch on the playing field – it’s water soluble and biodegradable, so hopefully Greta would approve, as it only lasts til the next time the grass is cut.
The weather that week definitely tested us, with the tail end of the storms that had devastated Hebden Bridge and the surrounding areas with flooding only weeks earlier throwing snow, hail and rain at the diligent land artists as they worked tirelessly that week. Luckily, Friday when the school would make their art, was a gloriously sunny, spring day.
We had a really fun day with the children, helping them make their own artworks to complement the field painting of Greta Thunberg. The Sand In Your Eye team, and some of the parents, who had volunteered for the day carried the backpacks full of paint and every single child at the school had the chance to have a go. They used the lances to draw their names, favourite animals, anything that had inspired them, around the portrait to frame it.
The teachers from the school, Rev Karen Marshall; who has just joined St James’ church, which is attached to Hebden Royd Primary, the Mayor of Hebden Royd Cllr Dr Carol Stowe and many passersby came along to have a chat in the warm sunshine and admire the children’s hard work.
We also had a lot of visitors from the press and media, with BBC Look North, ITV Calendar, Guzelian press agency, the Telegraph and the Yorkshire Post stopping by on the day to interview some of the children and Jamie, who was flying his drone that day to get the best footage from up high – images of the field painting appeared in lots of local and national newspapers and websites, across the UK and as far afield as Germany, France, Sweden and India! Our good friend Bezmond, who has worked with us a lot in the past put together the fantastic film at the top of this page.
What’s great about field art is that unlike sand drawing we don’t have to wait for the tide to go out and it lasts longer as the sea doesn’t wash it away at the end of the day! In fact, a week later you can still see Greta gazing out from the field.
Thanks to Gretl Young, headteacher of Hebden Royd C of E Primary School and all the parents who volunteered to help out, as well as all the pupils for showing such enthusiasm and their fantastic artistic efforts.