‘Every Wall Is Adored’ PAC Exhibition Celebrates Art in Unexpected Places
American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said: “Every wall is a door”. He was suggesting that opportunity arrives when you least expect it.
This is the inspiration behind the creative work of three local photographers who have spent the last decade exploring urban locations. Either abandoned and decayed, or bustling with human activity. Over the years Steven Parker, James Drury and Roger Pate have learnt that these places create opportunities for talented street artists to use as a canvas on which to showcase their ideas, concepts and creativity which enhances the space, something which they want to highlight and celebrate through their work.
A collection of their photographs taken both in the UK and overseas, including Chernobyl, doing just that is being exhibited in the first-floor space at Pocklington Arts Centre.
The collection of prints and original art is entitled ‘Every Wall Is Adored’. And the trio hope to highlight the relationship between art and the context in which it exists; That graffiti is not a destructive occupation but an enhancement of the mundane situation that surrounds us. That art can live in unexpected places.
James, who is based in York and whose love of photography began when he was gifted a Russian Zenit 35mm camera for his 9th birthday, explained the appeal of photographing abandoned buildings.
“Exploring and photographing abandoned buildings is utterly fascinating.” He said. “The buildings themselves often reclaimed by nature and sometimes fragments of their past use still exist, giving you an insight into the people that worked or lived there. We started to come across urban art in many of these former industrial sites in and around Sheffield. They had a profound effect on me.”
Chernobyl, and the nearby town of Pripyat, has been James’s favourite location to photograph so far. “It was an overwhelming experience.” He added. “The scale of the abandonment and the sheer volume of personal effects left behind. Decaying buildings for miles in every direction, all of them reclaimed by nature to varying degrees but each with a human story to tell.”
Also exhibiting at ‘Every Wall Is Adored’ is Steven Parker is from North Duffield. He’s been taking photos for 40 years, and was also captivated by Chernobyl. “I love capturing the beauty in decay and discovering urban artists working in these environments added an extra dimension to what could be achieved pictorially,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel a fair bit and capture some amazing places. Reykjavik has some great street art. And Kyiv is a beautiful city with stunning murals, but I have to say Chernobyl was utterly unique and so poignant.”
Roger is from Pocklington. He began experimenting with darkroom black and white photography in college in the late 80’s. But, it wasn’t until 2004 that his interest was spurred on by his first digital camera.
His top locations to date include an abandoned hotel in Sheffield. One which he has described as “a gallery of urban art”. And also Derby Hospital which he said was “the eeriest place” likening its long empty corridors to being in the film 28 Days Later.
“All are welcome”
Roger loves the way urban art often compliments its location and how abandoned buildings can become time capsules. He said: “We started exploring abandoned places around Sheffield. Mostly businesses that seemed to have gone bust overnight and some places were like the Mare Celeste. Unwashed coffee cups on worktops gathering dust, tools that seemed to have been put down in an instant, as employees were just asked to leave, like a fire drill.”
The exhibition runs until Tuesday 30 November. For further information about the Every Wall Is Adored exhibition visit www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk. Or, call the Box Office on 01759 301547.