Tyneside Cinema Archive

I’m excited to be working with Tyneside Cinema on an archive commission exploring its unique history since opening as a newsreel theatre in 1937 and the rich diversity of people that walked through its doors. Through studying the archive, I hope to create a series of artworks that reflect social and historical changes through the decades.

Read more about the Tyneside Cinema Archive Commission here: https://tinyurl.com/2p8v4yhw

Changing Relations

Changing Relations C.I.C. delivers education to schools, businesses and communities, using the arts to transform the way people think about gender stereotypes and relationship behaviours. Their innovative work breaks down gender barriers, fosters healthy relationships and transforms lives.

I was honoured to be selected for a commission for their ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ campaign and created some images after collecting thoughts from students with Durham University. These images will be distributed as a zine in the coming summer.

To find out more about Changing Relations go to https://changingrelations.co.uk/

Metro Fleet Art

Alongside three other amazing artists I have won a unique commission to create major works for the interior of the Tyne and Wear Metro’s £362m new train fleet.

Metro will be the first urban transit system in the world to feature permanent art inside trains when the new fleet enters service next year, thanks to a project led by operator Nexus and funded by Arts Council England through its National Lottery Project Grants programme.

Four artists have been chosen following an open call for submissions, and each one will go on to create a major new work to cover the full height and width of carriage end walls, right through the fleet of 46 trains being built for Metro by global train manufacturer Stadler.

Nexus is sharing a video introducing the artists and exploring more about the project which you can view here:

Nexus received more than 120 submissions from around the world, in response to an open call for artists to respond to the theme of ‘place’ in North East England. The final four artists were chosen by a panel bringing Nexus employees from train operations and the fleet project with community arts professionals from the region. 

The four works the Metro artists create will be reproduced onto the train walls by Stadler as part of the manufacturing process at its factory in St Margrethen, Switzerland.   The first new Metro train is set to arrive in North East England at the end of this year and will enter service in autumn 2023 after rigorous testing.

Nexus has ordered 46 trains from Stadler which will transform reliability and the customer experience, cut Metro’s use of high voltage power by at least 30% and allow a higher frequency service across the system.

Two works of art will appear on each train, at each end of the open-plan layout of carriages, with each work appearing 23 times across the whole fleet as a result.

I’m really looking forwards to the final design and have been researching key figures of the North East’s rich history to document on the illustration.

The commissioned artists from left to right:
Sofia Barton, Sarah Gibbeson, Hazel Oakes AKA Nocciola the Drawer, and Bryony Simcox

Darjeeling Tea Tin

Do you ever have those designs you draw then set aside, not sure what you think of it, then come back to it a little while later ? That’s pretty much what happened with the Darjeeling Tin. I’d drawn up Earl Grey and Yorkshire Tea but wanted to do an Indian blend, so I wrote the letters and eventually came back to it. I had encompassed my thoughts of golden sun and bright mornings as a main palette but used very some very contrasting colours of bright red and green in the peacock feathers for vibrancy.

Though it follows the main template of the tea tin series, I wanted it to be more representative of Darjeeling. Darjeeling is a town in India’s West Bengal state, in the Himalayan foothills.

For me the tea has a light but complex taste, and brings a little sunshine to my morning.

Prints available on Etsy: https://linktr.ee/sofiabartonillustration

Lindisfarne Art Trail Map – World Heritage Day

Monday 18th April is World Heritage Day! To celebrate it, I was commissioned to create an art pack by Durham Cathedral and Durham University Library and Heritage Collections based around the Lindisfarne Gospels.

I also designed a map for the Lindisfarne Art Trail. Using the pack I designed, eight schools across Durham will be designing their own unique letter which will be displayed at eight different locations along the trail map.

The map has locations for parking, toilets and various footpaths for pedestrians only. The eight locations include (starting from Framwellgate Bridge) Cafe Ravika, Moon Jewellry, Bell’s Fish and Chips, Mugwump, The Circle Vintage, The Kemble Gallery & Art Shop, Owengate House, and Palace Green. As landmarks there are illustrations of Palace Green and Durham Cathedral.

The full map will be available at the trail launch, later this month.

More information on World Heritage Day:

In 1982, UNESCO’s General Conference established 18th April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, in many countries also celebrated as World Heritage Day. The day is promoted by ICOMOS globally.

The history of a place can involve many points of view. The conservation of cultural heritage requires careful examination of the past, and its practice demands provision for the future.

The World Heritage Convention (1972) states: “deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world”. However, imbalances in recognition, interpretation and ultimately, conservation of various cultural manifestations continue to exist.

Together with ICOMOS, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre supports inclusive and diverse points of view in heritage identification, conservation and transmission to future generations.

Acknowledging global calls for greater inclusion and recognition of diversity, this Day invites all of us to reflect on, interpret and review existing narratives.



Links
https://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/
https://www.durham.ac.uk/departments/library/

Be Canny Wild & Free

Delighted to have been asked to be part of Love of the Norths Exhibition in Spanish City.

I’d been noticing spring emerging and various insects emerging. After a little bit of research (and a wander down the local nature reserve ) I’d found out about various butterfly species that frequent the North East Coast. Can you spot and name them ?

Originally inspired by a design of a trio of butterflies on a vintage matchbox, these butterflies were displayed on fresh spring green leaves with a bright pink background. I’ve made this a little different to what I’ve illustrated in the past with a smaller font and a singular border. This one off A2 canvas will be available to buy during exhibition starting tomorrow 4th April 2022

Details:

https://www.fortheloveofthenorth.co.uk/

Zine Making at Betty’s Hut. With Monkfish Productions and Projects4Change

So I led a A Little Bit of Good In The World workshop with Monkfish Productions in February, where we explored the theme of citizenship with a Projects 4 Change group at Betty’s Hut in Cowgate.

During the workshop session we used zines to tell stories about the ways we all play a part in our communities, wider society and the world.

We used A4 and A3 sizes of paper, creating an easy to make zine that required no staples or glue. I then created some prompts for the group to use around the theme, letting it be flexible to everyones needs. The outcome was brilliant, and the unique differences made the zines very creative.

World Heritage Day: Lindisfarne Gospels Art Trail

Excited to share I’ve completed the digital pack for the Lindisfarne Gospels Art Trail with Durham University Libraries and Durham Cathedral.

The pack contains multiple worksheets split into four sections. The first section is based on the different animals you can see in the gospels. The second section looks into patterns and interlocking techniques. This includes using borders and Celtic knots. The third section focuses on colour; working with drawing inks including using a bamboo pen as a quill. The final section explains how to go about the final artwork, choosing a letter from the medieval alphabet sheet, the geometric layout and how different participants can share tasks to complete the overall design. The work also involved making four videos for these four sections, full of information and tips on the four parts of the gospels. Exploring the style of the carpet pages, incipits, and portrait pages.

The trail itself will be with eight schools across Durham who’ll be using these resources along with materials to create their own collaborative artwork. Each school will be picking a letter, and the trail is due to go live in April 2022.

I cannot wait to see what the schools create and share the art trail details with you when it goes live.


Drawings by Sofia Barton. Lindisfarne Gospel Art Trail Digital Pack.

Ukraine Bookmark

Bookmark for Ukraine, The Stationery Society

Brilliant interview this morning with the Evening Chronicle at the Love of the North shop in Spanish City. We talked about the Ukraine themed box for April will all profits going to British Red Cross for Ukraine. Lots of talented artists in the North East are taking part. This is my artwork for the bookmark that will be a part of the box. It features a vintage design of golden yellow sunflowers and daffodils against a blue background reminiscent of the Ukrainian flag. Doves can be seen decorating it, symbolising the need for peace during this difficult time.

To buy a box keep an eye out on https://www.thestationerysociety.co.uk/ where you’ll be able to find out more.

Producing Place Artist in Residence

Pleased to announce I’ll be the first Producing Place Artist in Residence for Monkfish Productions. 📣

The residency explores the area around the Victorian bandstand in Saltwell Park in the communities that live and visit there. Through community workshops, which will be open to key groups and the public.

I drew this little illustration of the bandstand after a visit last week. I used to live in Bensham (near Saltwell Park) a few years ago and was a frequent visitor. It is interesting to think about how many people pass, take shelter and sit under this bandstand. The collective stories and experiences around this landmark would be fascinating to learn about.

My idea for the bandstand is like the illustration, getting individuals and groups to draw or write about their experiences in the area and create a vine that wraps itself around the bandstand. Reflective of the wild life around it. A symbol perhaps of how people have used the park during lockdown, and how the perceptions of parks has grown more important with the need for outdoor space.

I’ll be updating the blog as I go along in the project, doing lots of workshops and of course displaying the artwork on the bandstand itself at the end.

Here is a link to Monkfish Productions CIO and information on the brilliant work they’re doing http://www.monkfishproductions.org/

Unfortunately the projects on a little break at the moment, but will resume in July 2022 with a weekend of wonderful workshops to create the beautiful creates and vines around the bandstand.