ABOVE BELOW BEYOND

EAST DURHAM TAKES ITS PLACE ON THE UK STREET ART MAP AS TWO ARTISTS COLLABORATE TO CELEBRATE DURHAM’S MINING CULTURE

On the 27th July a new public artwork will be unveiled in Seaham, Durham. A collaboration between artist Jamie Holman; the lead artist for Above Below Beyond, a project and artist Cosmo Sarson who has recently completed an epic 25 metre artwork prominently positioned on Brighton Pier.


Connecting 3 coastal locations, that artists have come together from Morecambe and Brighton to work together in Seaham , almost 20 years after forging a creative friendship when studying at London’s Chelsea College of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art.


The artwork is a contemporary take on an icon familiar across the North East, referencing the style of traditional miners banners, and has been designed by Holman. The image will be brought to life by craftsman Sarson who is known for bringing urban walls to life with the skill of a Renaissance painter. Inspired by the old masters; Sarson gives his own artworks a contemporary twist with pieces such as his infamous Breakdancing Jesus.


The ‘Above Below Beyond’ artwork will include rich reds and golds associated with silk trades union banners in a nod towards the mining history of the area; and a reflection on Sarson’s studies into religious iconography, neoclassical painting and Greek mythology which have become a trademark style in his paintings.


Cosmo Sarson “I’m recognised as a street artist, but in reality i’m a classically trained fine artist who’s ‘scaled-up’ to create work across buildings rather than canvases. I paint with brushes rather than spray-cans.’


This public artwork is a result of 11 months of engagement work by artist Holman who has spent the last working with young people across East Durham through art and music workshops. Holman was commissioned by arts organisation East Durham Creates, whose work focuses on connecting people to their own sense of place through arts and cultural activities.

The artists will be working on site for a week to complete the painting on the 3 storey gable-end wall of the Volunteer Arms, a family run pub owned by Linda Atkinson.

A collaborative event showcasing the outcomes of these sessions through performance, music and a parade was due to take place in May however, this was cancelled due to the restrictions on public gatherings. In response to the changing times; Holman rethought the event and responded by working with his creative team to create a music making website that reflects East Durham’s mining history.


Jamie Holman “It is clear that young people want to see art that makes them proud of the places they are from. The mural we are making will be seen in Seaham for years to come, and the website will allow thousands of young people to experiment with music making, while exploring their rich cultural heritage, long after the project finishes”

Working with Made by Mason And Lighten, the website is an innovative, visual, and fun approach creating your own music tracks. Samples and sounds heard in Durham’s mines to make drum beats; from a ‘pickaxe hi-hat’ to a ‘dynamite kick drum.’

The team have worked with open source API to create a unique, customised music experience: www.abovebelowbeyond.org

You can also listen to music and spoken word created by young local young people and artists engaged throughout the project below (or visit Soundcloud for all of the tracks)

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