Figure painting

12th December 2017


Two creative and colourful artworks have gone on display on hoardings at Wadham’s Iffley Road student accommodation site.

Designed and painted by Key Stage one and two students at St Mary and St John Primary School art clubs, the artwork is inspired by the work of artist Keith Haring, doodles and Zentangles.

Art teacher Jo Acty explained how the designs came about: “The Key Stage one children came up with the idea of drawing figures, saying that the best way to show what their school was about was to show happy children. During the discussion a couple of the children were standing next to a board and we noticed that the children were the same height, so the children decided to use themselves as models!”

 With 12 children in the younger group, six lay down on one board and struck a pose while the other six drew around them in charcoal. They then swapped over so that every child in the group was represented.

“It was thrilling how lively the figures looked, it reminded us of Keith Haring’s work, so we decided instead of filling in all the facial features and clothes we would paint the figures in bright colours that would draw attention on the busy Iffley Road and might even remind passing traffic to drive carefully,” added Jo.

After the younger children had painted the background with paint rollers, the older Key Stage two children painted the figures, mixing the colours to create strong clashes.

“We then discussed doodling and Zentangles,” said Jo. “We wanted the Key Stage two children to have some ownership of the boards so we let them come up with their own scenarios, favourite doodles and sketches using the dynamic Posca permanent pens. This was also designed to encourage passing pedestrians to explore the tiny drawings.”

Some 45 children, aged five to eleven, were involved in producing the boards working with Jo Acty, Miss Morton and Mrs Hussain.

Wadham College Domestic Bursar Frances Lloyd commented: “We are thrilled by the engagement of the local community in this project and we are so impressed by the quality of this imaginative work by children at St Mary and St John Primary School. A huge thank you to all involved!”

These panels complement artworks on the hoardings carried out by site neighbours Larkrise and Rose Hill Primary Schools, and Pegasus Theatre.

Wadham is constructing a 135 bedroom development on the Iffley Road site, to provide homes for second year students. The building is due to open for the start of term in September 2019.