creative coasts signs


Creative Coasts – Public Art Signage

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Links Signs delivers vitreous enamel signage for England’s Creative Coast project, which showcases seven new artworks across Kent, Essex and Sussex. 

Links Signs continues in its dedication to public art by providing the signage for the South East Engla Creative Coasts project. Funded by Arts Council England and Visit England as part of the Cultural Destinations programme and Discover England Fund, with support from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), East Sussex County Council, Kent County Council, Essex County Council, Visit Essex, Southend Borough Council, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and Southeastern. Principally funded by Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations programme and Visit England/Visit Britain through the Discover England Fund, the project was led by Turner Contemporary, who approached Links Signs to create vitreous enamel signage for each artwork. 

Celebrating the vibrant creativity of England’s coastal towns, as well as their breathtaking views and Turner-inspiring seascapes, England’s Creative Coast spans 1,400km of shoreline from the South Downs to the Thames Estuary. With many seaside towns along this route having struggled with neglect and deprivation, the project is another step forward in the creative revival that has transformed the south coast and enticed visitors from all over the country.

Seven Artists

The seven new, site-specific artworks were created by seven international contemporary artists. Their work draws a line of connection between the towns of Margate, Folkestone, Hastings, Bexhill-on-Sea, Eastbourne, Gravesend and Southend-on-Sea, drawing inspiration from the beautiful and dramatic landscape which has inspired artists for centuries. 

Each artist has been asked to contemplate the border between land and sea and respond artistically to the atmosphere, issues and stories of each coastal location. The artworks are time-limited, and England’s Creative Coasts itinerary website has created journey planners to help people discover each one of them, while also enjoying other cultural adventures across the Kent, Essex and West Sussex shoreline. 

The artists and artworks, by location, are: 

Margate & The Turner Contemporary

Chicago-based artist Michael Rakowitz, whose sculptural piece depicting a life-sized soldier embedded with fossil-like items is called “April is the cruellest month”. 

Towner Eastbourne 

Mexico-born, Berlin-based artist Mariana Castillo Deball has created a piece called “Walking through the town I followed a pattern on the pavement that became the magnified silhouette of a woman’s profile”, which can be experienced as a walking route. Along the route several sculptural objects are embedded in the street, each relating to uncovered burial objects. The third part of the work is a geoglyph, painted in chalk in the shape of a giant hairpin on the edge of the Beachy Head Down.

De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill-on-Sea

Holly Hendry lives and works in London, and was inspired by a fascination with borders to create her mixed-media sculpture “Invertebrate”. 

Hastings Contemporary

Greek artist Andreas Angelidakis considers climate change and coastal erosion with his artwork “Seawall”, which explores the question ‘can the border between land and sea become a habitable place?’ 

Creative Folkestone 

Pilar Quinteros, who is from Santiago in Chile, has represented Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, in his sculpture which is located high up on the East Cliff, overlooking Folkestone’s harbour. 

Cement Fields in Gravesend

Glasgow-born Jasleen Kaur’s jumping-off point for her piece “The first thing I did was to kiss the ground” is inspired by Gravesend’s rich and complex history of migration, and works in two parts as a sculpture and a sound-piece. 

Metal in Southend-on-Sea

London artist Katrina Palmer’s art falls over two pieces called “HELLO” and “RETREAT”, which set up a conversation around the contrasting traditions of the British seaside and British military. 

Vitreous enamel signage 

Links Signs worked in collaboration with Turner Contemporary in the task of creating signs which could act as an eye-catching informational point for visitors while also being able to withstand exposure to the outside environment. The solution which met both practical and aesthetic considerations was vitreous enamel signage, which has the advantage of durability against environmental factors such as wind and rain, as well being graffiti-resistant and extremely hard-wearing. 

Each sign contained background information on both the artist and artwork, allowing curious visitors to place the art they are looking at into further context. Every sign also features a unique QR code. 

The signage supporting England’s Creative Coast is stylistically uniform across each location (to increase the sense of connection between every artwork and location). They consist of folded enamel trays formed from 1.6mm mild steel, coated in yellow vitreous enamel and then screen-printed further with black detailing, shaped in a square at 305mm x 305mm in length and height. This is then completed by an aluminum insert, which allows installers to fix the signs in place. 

Links Signs and Public Art

At Links Signs we are always happy to discuss how we can help on public arts projects, whether as art fabricators or signage providers. If you are working on a public arts project, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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