Inspiration behind ‘Fifteen Gets Inked’
In discovering Ben Allen, we researched his artistic style and talked about how his certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ could be incorporated into our restaurant. We wanted something bold, a statement, something which would mean something but would also be a talking point.
Having initially met with Ben we chatted to him about our style. Having just had a major refurbishment, we wanted something which was going to fit in with the new improved décor, and also something which was current, individual, and focussed on our unique style. Within the restaurant we showed Ben his blank canvas, which is where we had always anticipated some form of art work, above the kitchen. The below image shows the restaurant as it currently is.
In a fusion of Ben’s signature style incorporating ‘pop surrealism’, vibrant colours and imagery, he took on board our brief and produced a first draft proof for our review. As part of the brief Ben was inspired by our one of a kind view looking onto Watergate Bay and has incorporated the sea as part of the final design in a unique way.
Also part of the brief was to provide words which would signify parts of the Apprentice Programme and the journey they go on through their time with us. Together the Foundation team came up with a list of key words which evoked parts of that journey such as: commitment, self-worth, belief, passion, hope, achievement, inspiration and positivity.
Using those words, we also gave Ben some photographs of apprentices over the years to give him an idea of the journey they go on throughout the programme. These photographs will also be incorporated into the art work, but you’ll have to wait and see how!
Intermingled between the words and photographs, as part of his stylistic vision Ben decided to incorporate tattoos as part of the artwork. Ben felt that as many of our apprentices past and present have tattoos, it would make an appropriate connection in the art work to reflect them. Go to our Pinterest board of Apprentice Tattoos to peruse over our collage of tattoo artwork and inspiration.
Speaking about the project Ben said:
“When I first met with Fifteen to discuss the potential of creating an artwork for the newly white, large main wall in the restaurant, the emphasis was always on making it a painting as opposed to a piece of graphic design and to treat the wall as an actual canvas.
It has been quite a complex journey from our first set of meetings back in April of this year to the final artwork. I sketched out many ideas based on Fifteens brief of a visual representation of the heart and soul of the restaurant, being the apprentices. and its core values.
Noticing that a lot of the apprentices at Fifteen had tattoos and I myself have a lot of tattoos, which have always influenced and inspired my paintings, I thought it a very symbolic place to start for imagery and also something personal and meaningful to the staff, even those without tattoos felt that visually the imagery was very engaging and representational.
Through lots of open discussion with the Fifteen team I explained my ideas around tattoos, the possible use of waves as a symbolic and fluid part of the environment and their journey, the challenge was to visualise a painting on a large scale (10 meters x 5 metres ).
The idea of using fifteens archive photography evolved as part of the painting as a collage of moments to tell the story of the apprentices from their college inception through sourcing trips, working in the kitchen, their time with Jamie and to the ultimate goal of their graduation, held together by the waves and punctuated with the decorative elements of ‘flash’ style tattoos embellished with the words the Fifteen team chose to represent their core values. Watch this space as the wall evolves..”
Next week is part of our build up to getting a first glimpse of the new artwork. Stay tuned for more information and some sneak peak photos.