Artist, Blackpool Illuminations
Jun '05 - Present
This is my current job, where I work assisting to create, maintain and stage the most spectacular free show on earth. And no, that doesn't mean I just screw in light bulbs all day!
"So what do you do?", I hear you ask. Well, one of my main jobs is to carve new features out of polystyrene, which can be anything from 2ft to 12ft tall, and can be two-dimensional or three-dimensional designs. These carvings are then fibre-glassed, metal frames and lighting are added, and then they are returned to the artists for the finishing artwork. For this, we generally use spray guns with a mix of both cellulose and water-based paints.
One of the first major projects that I was involved in was the "Ali Baba" tableau as shown in the photo opposite. In this project I carved and painted many cartoon 3-D figures including a cactus, donkey, Ali Baba and some of his thieves popping out of pots. The feature is externally lit with changing colours, water features, animated figures and even some Arabian music.
Other duties at the illuminations are very varied and we often have some very bizarre jobs! As well as painting sponsorship light-up boxes for organisations such as the Air Ambulance, we have also done work for outside firms. These include repairing and painting fibre-glassed dinosaurs for Blackpool Zoo and Dinosaur Safari, making sets for the BBC programme "Ripleys Gold" which was set in Blackpool, and even making nesting rings for the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo! We have also worked alongside the Blackpool "Festival of Lights", repainting the Thunderbirds rocket in the style of Picasso's "Guernica" and decorating the magic tree at the Gynn roundabout with flowers. Less exciting jobs include maintaining existing features and erecting and dismantling the illuminations.
You can visit the official Illuminations website at: