Take a group of artists, add 10 photographers to that and give them one classic desk lamp from a Portsmouth-based designer and what do you get?
Imaginative minds from business, education and the creative industries came together and the Creating Balance exhibition was born.
The year-long collaboration between lamp designer Anglepoise, the University of Portsmouth and community group Strong Island resulted in a colourful collection that reached the London Design Festival in September and will be back in the city on show for six weeks in the new year.
Claire Sambrook, senior lecturer from the School of Creative Technologies and project leader, said: ‘After meeting with the innovation director at Anglepoise UK we really wanted to collaborate on a project to raise the profile of the creative talent in the city.
‘Anglepoise is an iconic British brand based in Portsmouth with an international profile.
‘I really respect their design ethos and love the fact their lamps have been owned by the likes of Roald Dahl, David Lloyd George and the Queen.
‘It was exciting to work with them on a project that was all about supporting the local creative community.’
After their first meeting, the project got off the ground.
Claire said: ‘We wanted to pair artists and designers with photographers so we could gain an insight into the creative process.
‘Often you see the result of an artist or designer’s work but you don’t get to see the progression.
‘By documenting each collaboration we were able to see inside the studio space of artists and designers. This was fascinating in itself; design company I Love Dust has a skate ramp in their studio and artist Will Pounds has a studio which overlooks the Solent. Showcasing photography at the exhibition will allow viewers to see behind the scenes.’
Ten artists and designers from the Portsmouth area were twinned with 10 photographers and each duo was invited to choose an Anglepoise ‘perfect balance’ task lamp before embarking on their creative projects.
The lamp was designed by the automotive engineer George Carwardine in 1932.
The aim of the project was to explore the true meaning of balance at work and in life.
Entertainment technology student, Jack Daly, was one of the photographers who took part in the project. He was paired with artist My Dog Sighs.
Jack said: ‘I got involved with this project because it celebrates collaboration with people from different areas of the creative industry, and I loved the idea of that.
‘My Dog Sighs and I both work in very opposite ways, which complement each other to create great content. The Anglepoise lamp helped us both realise how important light is in both of our work and it also gave a central ‘prop’ for us both to fixate ideas around.’
Brand and innovation director for Anglepoise, Simon Terry, said the project was a ‘remarkable success’ for creative collaboration in the city.
‘Through the project, admirably driven forwards by Claire Sambrook, we have discovered this inspirational community of photographers, designers and artists based right here on our doorstep,’ he said. ‘The quality of work speaks for itself and I can’t wait to see where these collaborations take us.’
The exhibition will be on display at the Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf Quays from January 10 and February 16.