Liverpool as Art


Wallasey, United Kingdom

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 4

Artist's Description

A Portrait of Liverpool by Ben Johnson who is on the left of the picture putting one of the last pieces together

Ben Johnson was born in Llandudno, north Wales in 1946. He studied at the Royal College of Art, London. His first solo exhibition was held in New York in 1969, and since then he has shown widely in Britain (including twice at the John Moores exhibitions of contemporary painting at The Walker Art Gallery Liverpool), the rest of Europe and the USA.

Ben Johnson says – "my brief was to create a panoramic portrait of the city of Liverpool to act as an icon in the year 2008. It would also be an historic document celebrating Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture. Liverpool’s existing buildings were to be portrayed together with the buildings that have been designed and will be completed within this period, or landmark buildings upon which work had started. The painting was to stand alone as an independent art work and act as a catalyst for other community events and projects during the year of 2008 – events that would put the people back into the painting: an important factor, as my cities are unpopulated.

Following six weeks of investigations into views, and studying individual buildings, it was clear to me that the River Mersey and the Three Graces would occupy points of great significance in the painting. The two other important symbols helping to define the skyline of Liverpool are the two cathedrals. Therefore my proposal embraced a view taken from a spot over the Mersey six hundred and fifty metres back from the Cunard Building and one hundred and eighty metres above sea level. This is a near bird’s eye view. The central direction of the painting is looking slightly north of east.

This view covers one hundred and seventy hectares (or 1,700,000 square metres) of buildings with an angle of view of sixty two degrees. The boundary on the left hand side is Chapel Street/Tithebarn Street up to Everton and that on the right hand side is the Albert Docks up to the Anglican Cathedral. This is the area of concentrated drawing and description that are starting to form the bulk of the painting. It will include the whole of the world heritage site, the area covered in the 1990 Liverpool heritage walk, the majority of the buildings dealt with in the Pevsner’s Architectural Guide, the new Paradise Street development and of course the Museum of Liverpool. "

Artwork Comments

  • rockinsue
  • photogenique
  • Michelle Boyer
  • Kimberley Davitt
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