Routemasters on London’s 38 and 73 bus routes may not be the most prestigious of venues for Friends of the Earth to hold its 25th anniversary exhibition. But the buses are extremely apt as mobile galleries.
FoE is specifically targeting traffic congestion in our cities as this year’s prime campaign. So the exhibition, titled Going Places, consists of the responses of 11 illustrators to the theme of travel in the city.
And with an estimated nine million people liable to catch sight of the works during their four-month stint rumbling across London in the ‘Open Window Gallery’, the work is going to get a level of exposure most artists would pickle a cow for.
FoE’s art director David Caines says he was helped by illustrator Lawrence Zeegen, who runs the Heart illustrators’ agency, in selecting and commissioning the 11 designers.
‘The brief was pretty open – we wanted illustrators who live and travel in London,’ says Caines. ‘Most of them use the buses anyway, although I had this fear that one or two of them would come out of the closet and say they drove a Mercedes. But there are quite a few cyclists among them.’
Peter Blake’s name stands out in the list of contributors. Caines says: ‘He said he didn’t have time to create a piece but thought he had something that was appropriate.’ The result is Cycle Race, a 1949 drawing from Blake’s time at Gravesend School of Art. Quite a coup for FoE, as this work has never been seen in public before.
The other contributors are Andrzej Klimowski, Jake Tilson, Lawrence Zeegen, Ian Wright, Anthony Lee, Sophie Morrish, Angela Hogg, Matthew Cooper, Shonagh Rae and Jessie Tattersall. All aboard!