Fine Art graduate Stephanie Imbeau has won Channel 4's BIG4 public art competition.
Stephanie, who completed her Masters at Newcastle University in 2007, came up with the idea of cladding the television channel’s logo in umbrellas, which she says 'deserve to be appreciated regardless of the weather'.
She is planning to ask the public to donate their broken umbrellas, to keep down costs at the same time as bringing new life to old objects.
‘Not only would this give the umbrellas a chance to be appreciated for their aesthetic appeal, but it would have a transformative effect on the steel structure, softening it and making it almost plant-like,’ she said. ‘Art needn't be expensive or inaccessible to the average person on the street.
‘Using broken umbrellas can also be seen as the re-telling of a story, the giving of second life. Umbrellas are discarded every day and using these tossed-aside objects would give them a second chance to be significant.’
Stephanie added that umbrellas, as well as offering protection from the elements, are something that everyone can identify with, regardless of age, class or educational background. She said: ‘The Channel 4 logo has a similar familiarity level for the British public, so the combination of two instantly recognizable images would be a powerful and visually appealing installation.
'I'm so excited to have this opportunity to stretch myself artistically. This is the biggest project I have worked on to date and I feel so blessed to get this chance.'
She said that studying for her MFA at Newcastle completely changed the direction of her art. 'Until my interim show I was working mainly in 2D and had never done an installation before,' she explained. 'With the encouragement of tutors and classmates I tried an installation and found I loved it. Moving to Newcastle changed everything for me and I'm so glad I did it.'
Jan Younghusband, the Commissioning Editor for Arts at Channel 4, and one of the competition judges, said they had been overwhelmed by the quality of the entries. ‘Channel 4 constantly seeks to discover new talent and we look forward to seeing Stephanie's fantastically original idea,’ he said.
Stephanie's public artwork will be unveiled outside Channel 4's London headquarters in August 2008. In January, she set up an installation at The Bridge at Tynemouth Station and last week re-installed the same show at North Tyneside Council's offices.
published on: 28th May 2008