Splott Road Bridge painting design
This colourful painting scheme is the design of artist Andrew Smith, an abstract painter based in North Wales.
The railway bridge parapet had fallen into disrepair, with rust patches and flaking paint, giving a negative impression of the area. However, the plans to re-paint it were the final part of the Splott Road Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme (NRS), which has entailed a variety of improvements including the replacement of solid, grey shop shutters, new bins, cycle stands, and bollards, and brighter lighting. During public consultation, re-painting the bridge was one of the most popular aspects of the renewal scheme.
Celfwaith was approached in September 2009 to advise on how an artist might work on the scheme and offered various options for the artist selection process. Given that the funding for the scheme was limited to the financial year, and also given that Network Rail had a list of preferred painting contractors, it was decided that an artist would be appointed on a design only basis with a supervisory rather than active role in the implementation.
A design would be needed that would be simple enough to be carried out by painting contractors and which would also be cost effective to maintain. A limited palette of five colours was decided on and a brief was prepared aimed at artists whose practice involved flat areas of colour and simple forms.
Andrew Smith was appointed based on his bold use of colour and his ability to transform figurative motifs from his surroundings such as architectural details, or a view on the horizon, into abstract forms in his work. Local school pupils took part in a photography workshop to take photographs of their area which were used by Andrew to inform his design.
The result is a bright, dynamic and abstract design which references design motifs in the railings, porch tiles, and brickwork of houses in Splott as well as shapes that can be seen in the industrial area south of Splott.