BID Leicester has worked with local agency Arch Creative to deliver a new vacant units project, designed to improve the appearance of empty shops in the city centre and turn them into points of interest.
Working with ten local artists spanning a range of styles and mediums, ‘Street Stories’ celebrates the innovative achievements of pioneering people from Leicester, and also explores some powerful themes including human rights, the environment, consumerism and identity.
Follow the trail of artworks around the city and bring them to life with multi-sensory animations triggered by a free smartphone app. Download the Graffio AR App now and discover Leicester’s Street Stories.
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Click the numbers below to find out where you can view the artworks
Tim Fowler is a Leicester based artist working out of StudionAme – an artist studio/collective in Leicester’s cultural Quarter. Tim creates bright exuberant portraiture paintings using acrylic, enamel oil, spray paint, ink, oil stick and marker pens to create partially recognisable images distorted with strong colour and abstract elements. His main interest is the colours and their balance and placement, rather than the subject.
Alice Hawkins, Leicester’s most famous suffragette, was born in 1863; she was one of nine children and had been born in to extreme poverty. From the age of 13, she worked making boots and shoes, a career that took her to the factory of Equity Shoes as a shoe machinist. Being a mother to five and a wife to Alfred Hawkins, she joined the Independent Labour Party in 1894, and through this organisation, met Sylvia Pankhurst – one of the best-known suffragettes of her time – where they formed a friendship, especially after being imprisoned together.Where to find/
107 Granby Street Leicester LE1 6FBView on map
George works internationally, with a network of partners. He uses symbols and metaphors to create visual narratives. Using archival research, photography and first-hand observation, his art explores the subtle and overt ways that people’s lives and identities are affected by national context and history, myths, and points in time. His work exists at the intersection of art, politics, geography and culture with the outcomes expressed in 2D, 3D, printed media and film.
It seems Sir Alec Jeffreys’ curiosity with all things science was written in his DNA. Jeffreys’ love of science flourished while he was at school, starting at Luton Grammar and graduating from the University of Oxford. He moved to the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics in 1977 and this is where, in 1984, he had his eureka moment, a moment that has forever revolutionised Forensic Science. He had stumbled upon a method of showing variations between individuals’ DNA – inventing and developing the concept of DNA fingerprintingWhere to find/
35 Belvoir Street LE1 6SJView on map
Sarah moved to Leicester in 1993. Her linocuts are created between her home studio and the Leicester Print Workshop in the Cultural Quarter. Her inspiration comes from the world around her – the allotments, the garden and of course the ever changing city where her home is. Over the last 15 years she has created a series of linocuts of significant, interesting and beautiful Leicester buildings which is ongoing and ever growing and informed by a culture of pedestrianism – observing, experiencing and interacting with the city environment while walking about daily life.
Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back at least two millennia, including being occupied by the Romans for more than 400 years. As such the city has a wide variety of architectural styles.
The range of artworks you see featured here show a cross-section of some of the most iconic city centre buildings. From the timber framed Guildhall, with the earliest part dating from around 1390, to the flamboyant Art Nouveau facade of The Turkey Cafe on Granby Street, the historical architecture of Leicester is as diverse as its people.Where to find/
36 Market Street LE1 6DNView on map
Christina’s design process involves building layers of imagery created by projecting light sources through everyday objects which are then woven together and digitally manipulated to create mixed media textile pieces and prints. With a DIY/Punk attitude to exploring what can be created from what you have to hand, re-using materials and finding alternative ways to print, weave and construct textiles. Inspiration comes from what’s happening in society and the unexpected and absurd in life, art, performance and film. Her work also explores emotional attachment to textiles and objects, the psychology of nostalgia and the sense of wellbeing experienced from reconnecting with objects and fashion from the past.
Leicester has a rich textile, footwear design, and manufacturing heritage. Due to the magnitude of this industry, in the 1930s it was named the second richest city in Europe, and the slogan ‘Leicester clothes the world’ was seen nationally and internationally.As part of the Street Stories project, De Montfort University Fashion and Textiles students were set a past and future design brief around Leicester’s textile heritage. The project incorporates research on factories, machinery, production materials and key moments in technology breakthroughs, and one of the artworks is featured in the windows here.Where to find/
37 – 39 Market Street LE1 6DNView on map
Phil creates multi-media artworks from his studio in Leicester. His inspiration is the natural world, architecture, the human body and the electromagnetic spectrum. His art is process driven, so choices made during the making and what they represent are an important part of his finished work. He uses negative space, redaction & intervention to disorientate perspective and question the originality and ownership of an image using paint, ink, print, projection, film, photography and sculpture to produce stunning vistas.
The University of Leicester gained Professor Ken Pounds as Assistant Lecturer in 1960; little did they know that employing the Yorkshire born and London taught Pounds would lead to a long and enviable record of involvement in space science. The former Head of Physics and Astronomy, and Emeritus Professor of Space Physics has played a pivotal role in University of Leicester’s success story.Where to find/
14 Market Street Leicester LE1 6DNView on map
Lucy creates multimedia artworks from her studio in Leicester. She takes inspiration from the colour palette and sounds of the natural world to celebrate the value and beauty of nature. Her work uses field recording and instinctive mark-making techniques using paint, pastel, spray paint, photography and digital illustration onto paper to produce striking portraits of birds and their songs.
Growing up on the grounds of the University of Leicester, Sir David Attenborough, Britain’s favourite naturalist, remembers his childhood in Leicestershire fondly. He explored the vast fields and streams surrounding Leicester, only a short bike ride from his home, and collected many stones, natural specimens, and fossils to create his own museum, for which he still has today.Where to find/
15 Market Street Leicester LE1 6DNView on map
Sean Clark had his first gallery show in 2000. He has since gone on to develop a career as a digital artist, curator and educator. He is based in Leicester where he runs arts company Interact Digital Arts Ltd and curates the Computer Arts Archive – a growing collection of digital artworks dating from the 1960s. He has a PhD in Computational Art from De Montfort University and in 2016 was co-winner of the prestigious Lumen Art Prize.
The idea of making art with computers is almost as old as computers themselves. While technology has changed radically over the years, many of the things that interest artists in computers remain the same. Repetition, sequences, algorithms, communications and the ability of computing machines to generate seemingly limitless variations on a theme, all of these things provide a rich digital canvas for artists.Where to find/
Hotel Street Leicester LE1 5AWView on map
From her studio based in Leicester, Danielle describes being an artist as a low key archaeologist and budding detective deriving inspiration from people and their stories. By repurposing others’ discarded materials, primarily magazines and ephemeral objects, Danielle’s collage based portraits build layers of narrative to portray as accurately as possible each sitter with their perceived image and beyond their persona. Her portraits attempt to peel back the layers of frontage and facade in a world that increasingly resembles the stage setting of The Emperor’s New Clothes.
One of Britain’s most groundbreaking writers, Joe Orton was born and raised in Leicester, growing up on the Saffron Lane estate. He graced this world with rebellion – sexual and otherwise – and dark humour, writing plays that shocked, outraged, and amused audiences. The word Ortonesque means a dark, yet farcical cynicism.Where to find/
St Martins Square Unit 28 Leicester LE1 5DFView on map
Joe Nixon is the co-founder and Creative Director of Leicester based design and advertising agency Arch Creative who have organised the Street Stories project. Joe was inspired to write a story for his young niece and nephews, who were finding it difficult to understand why they were trapped at home during lockdown. The book has entertained them and given them hope for a better world when the crisis is over. Ami-Lou Harrison has created the beautifully joyful illustrations which perfectly capture the uplifting message of positivity. From Beavers and Badgers to Rabbits and Hares, Ami has illustrated a wide range of woodland creatures who mischievously play together in the empty streets and school playground.
The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic around the world have been devastating, and we continue to feel the repercussions and global impact. There have been some environmental silver linings however. During lockdown urban wildlife throughout Leicester, the UK, and the world, have taken to the empty streets and cities. Some of them are in search of food, but most it seems have just been exploring new territories, playing and having fun. Inspired by this, The Fearless Fox & Daring Deer, is a rhyming children’s picture book, which has been published by the NHS to raise money for the NHS.
To donate and get your book visit www.fearlessfox.co.ukWhere to find/
St Peter's Square, High Cross Shopping Centre, LE1 4SDView on map