THE HEALING POWER OF ART
Readers may recall that, back in our Spring/Summer issue last year, we announced that Alex had been commissioned by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to create an art installation for their brand new state-of-the-art clinical facility on Grafton Way. Working collaboratively with UCLH Arts and Heritage, Alex’s work was conceptualised to bring colour and light into the patients’ environment, fulfilling the team’s vision for the building in a visually interesting and inspiring way. The overriding objective being to create points of contemplation throughout the hospital, offering patients reassurance and respite from the stresses of treatment.
A staggering 89 original artworks later, and the installation is complete! We caught up with Alex to hear more about the project.
“The feedback we have received from staff so far has been tremendous and we are really grateful for this partnership with Alex.” Guy Noble, Arts Curator, UCLH Arts & Heritage
How did this fantastic venture begin, Alex?
I was approached by a private charity group affiliated with University College London Hospital. They presented me with an amazing brief with no restrictions, saying to me: “We’ll leave it up to you, let’s see what happens”. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. How did you find working with the brief you were given? Working on this project was fraught with ups and downs, and by no mean easy. However, it was rewarding in the most amazing ways. I had to research colour theory and colour healing, hospital recovery and psychological therapeutic theory. I created 12 different genres of work based on my research, which meant creating over 15 pamphlets, 10 books and over 400 images. All this work, and then subsequent reworking, eventually led me back to a favourite childhood artist, Josef Albers and his master work book titled Interaction of Color . From this point of departure I was able to synthesise nature and colour theory within the doctrine of art therapy.
Talk us through the creative process…
racing to build and finish new hospitals. Thanks to this major commission by a national institution and the UK government, my digital art work has been consumed, acknowledged, appreciated and accredited at the highest levels.
All the works of art were amazingly created on the iPhone 8+. Later in the project I was able to partner with Apple, who supplied me with the ultimate iPad Pro creative package and 1 TB of memory in order to fine-tune the final images. I worked in this digital method due to the fact that last year I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I love the digital format for creating artwork - it truly is “the sky’s the limit”. I still paint, but it grows more difficult daily with my gradual loss of simple motor control. It would have been impossible to create the enormous body of work in a viable timeframe, when the whole world was
What was the ultimate scale of the project?
In total, 89 original works of art were installed. The artwork ranged in size from 2x10 feet, to 4x10 feet, and up to 8.5x26 feet. Plus, all the original artwork was required to meet all UK/EU hospital and fire standards. Each artwork had to be scuff and damage resistant, and created specifically to avoid being “dust traps” for hygienic consideration as well. It was a tall order!
102 FINE ART COLLECTOR SPRING/SUMMER 2021
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