VISITORS to a busy Ipswich shopping centre can enjoy unique views of the seaside thanks to a spectacular new art exhibition by a group of talented college students.
A total of 38 Suffolk One students have paintings on display at Sailmakers Shopping Centre – and for many of the budding artists it’s the first time they’ve showcased their work to the general public.
The teenagers, who are studying Level 3 BTEC Art and Design at the Ipswich-based sixth form college, took much of their inspiration for the exhibition’s land and sea project theme from a group trip to Felixstowe beach.
The exhibition, which has added a splash of colour to the shopping centre, is due to run for six weeks.
Student Zach Plant, 18, says her painting was based on her trips to the seaside as a young child.
She explained: “The reason I drew it the way I did is because when I was little I always found the beach a vibrant place.
“Out of everything on the beach it was always the beach house and sunset that caught my attention.
“So I put that in my piece and to capture the happiness I felt it’s the most detailed part of the piece as otherwise it’s simplistic.
“It’s a patchwork of colours and the beach house and sunset really stand out. It’s the first time I’ve had work on display in public – I almost cried!
“I do display my own work online but other than that it’s not been out there in the public physically. I’m proud of the piece.
“Although it’s a realistic piece my style is actually cartoonist. I want to go on and study illustration and animation at university.
“I started drawing when I was little and I knew even then that this is what I want to do in life.”
Lily Wood, 17, said: “With my seascape I’ve literally used every paint I could get my hands on. I’ve put tinfoil underneath so the sea looks metallic. It’s quite colourful.
“We went to Felixstowe at the start of the project to get ideas and I used photographs from a holiday to Cornwall at the start of the year which inspired the cliffs and lighthouse. It’s quite a dramatic piece.
“It’s the first time my stuff has been up on display, it’s quite surreal but I’m proud of it. I always wanted something up for the public to see. Hopefully it’s the first of many, fingers crossed.”
She added: “I’ve decided university isn’t for me. I’d prefer to start my own business, whether it be a company or a brand.
“I want to make my own work and get it commissioned. I’m particularly interested in printmaking.”
Megan Clarke, 18, said: “My seascape is a representation of sunrise or sunset. I used five colours. It’s an abstract piece so you have to look deeper for the meaning.
“My inspiration came from the photographs I’d taken from the trip to Felixstowe and on holiday. I’m quite a keen photographer too.
“There was no specific artist who inspired me for the piece but I wanted it to be abstract work, I thought I could do that.
“I think it’s an unusual piece of work which makes people think about it. It’s the first time I’ve had something on public display.
“I wasn’t nervous at all. My mum came running up to me after she’d seen it. She’s quite proud of me but then she is my mum!”
Talking about her future plans, Megan added: “I’m keeping an eye out for things that interest me. I’d like to do something in the creative industries but I’m not set on anything yet.”
Carla Nunes, 18, who hopes to go on and study interior architecture at university, said: “My inspiration came from the story of Moses parting the sea. I based my piece on that.
“I’ve split the piece down the middle as though the sea has been separated. Both parts of the piece are completely the same apart from one side has the waves.
“I’m really proud of the piece, it’s the first time I’ve had any work out for people to see.”
Mike Sorhaindo, Manager of Sailmakers Shopping Centre, said: “We have a great relationship with Suffolk One College and I’m always amazed at the talent of their young artists.
“This display is stunning and it’s nice to be able to take in something like this as part of a visit to the shopping centre.”
A delighted Rhiannon Blackman, teacher of art and design at Suffolk One, said: “The students have done us proud. It’s a big thing for them to have their work on display like this.
“They’re used to displaying work inside the college but the general public and their parents don’t get to see them.
“It’s also something to put on their CVs having their work exhibited in a professional setting.
“The students are now applying for universities all over the country to further their skills in illustration, fine art, graphics and textiles amongst others.”
She added: “The focus of their work was Felixstowe and the surrounding landscape. Students took influence from Maggie Hamblin, Kurt Jackson and of course Turner.
“They developed a range of painting techniques exploring traditional and contemporary painting.”
For more on what’s happening at Sailmakers Shopping Centre go to www.sailmakersshopping.co.uk and to https://www.facebook.com/sailmakers