The project focused on the concept of what we want most in the world and the answers the young people gave ranged from “I want an iPhone 7 plus in jet black” to “I want a good job in the future, preferably as a paramedic” to my response, “I want world peace, universal healthcare, no oppression, no prejudice, no poverty.” At the time of making our responses and discussing possible places to put the finished artwork, the scale of the project and the final pieces hadn’t sunk in for me, and to me we were just people having fun at Wigan STEAM, eating subway, making art and enjoying ourselves. It was only really when I started receiving emails showing the concept art for the banners and asking for reviews and interviews that I realised how big the project was becoming.
The official launch of the project was on June 10th, three days after I saw my finished banner and bookmarks for the first time. No matter how much I'd tried to visualise it, seeing my words as an artwork displayed in a public space was surreal, and no matter how much I'd told myself that it was going to be huge, I was still struck by how big the 12metre banner was. I really like the colours and the patterned design. They complement each other quite well and its very eye catching and bold.
I also liked that Mark created bookmarks, where my words are hidden in books throughout Wigan Library and Leigh Library and they convey my message physically, rather than through social media. I think this works really well and it was really fun hiding them inside some of my favourite books.
A policy I have in most of my work is that I don’t research the artists or musicians I work with, as I don’t want to be star-struck whilst working with them and for it to affect how I work, but I wish I'd known more about the Turner Prize nominated Mark Titchner before working with him, as I definitely would have been star-struck. Both he and the professionals at FACT were amazing to work with, and they gave their all to the project and went out of their way to make sure we all had a good time.
My response to the question was interpreted in an infinite amount of ways by most people I talked about it to, from a political statement to a response from a much older and more mature person, rather than a 17-year-old. My response was a mixture of things, as I focused on the larger picture and what I wanted for the world rather than focusing on just myself. A tiny little bit was about wanting to sound smart too, because my words were going to be seen by hundreds of people.
Since most of my work is behind the scenes and not in the public eye, working on this project was an entirely new experience and one I'm extremely grateful to have had. The response to both the project and my works being transformed into an artwork was beyond anything I'd expected and the finished artwork was better than I could have ever imagined.
This project was an unique experience and opportunity for me and the other young people involved. For me personally it has allowed me to work with a group of people, very different to who I would usually work with, and helped me to see the other young peoples' perspective and outlook on everyday life. Since we all came from different backgrounds and were very different, we had to learn about each other and adapt ourselves, but those differences are what made the project so varied and unique.
Seeing my words transform into art and put on display in a public space for the first time, has been such confidence boast, rather than my usual behind the scenes work. My involvement with the media and press coverage was again a unique opportunity, especially being interviewed for Wish FM radio station and having a photoshot with Wigan Council's magazine Borough Life (page 24). As a whole, the experience has developed my life skills, given me an insight into the world of the artistic sector and the chance to adapt and change to work much better with others in a group.
For more information about 'What I want more than anything else' by Mark Titchner click here