A new public artwork celebrating the LGBTQ+ community is being unveiled to celebrate Brighton & Hove Pride 2019. The illustration has been commissioned by Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, following an open call to local artists to create a mural on the building’s New Road hoardings.
The large-scale drawing by Kemptown resident Ella Morris, represents a diverse range of genders, identities, ethnicities and body shapes. Characters are seen physically embracing or holding placards, enveloped in the embrace of a pink central figure, symbolic of the city’s community spirit. The artist’s vision was to create something fun but with a sense of purpose, immediately communicating the celebratory atmosphere of Pride with bright block colours and naïve lines that depicts a community who want their message of equal rights to be seen and heard. The work will be displayed from 26 July–10 August.
We speak to Ella to find out more…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small town just outside Winchester but moved to Brighton 10 years ago to attend the University of Sussex to study English. During this time, I fell in love with the city so after finishing my degree I knew I wanted to stay in Brighton.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
For this piece, I gathered inspiration from the city. Taking a sketchbook out with me and sketching people who seemed interesting to me. Then there’s a process of simplifying these characters and assimilating them into my style of simple lines and block colours. I like to do as much drawing as possible out in the community, taking my iPad out to the various coffee shops and pubs across Brighton and Hove to work. I find that just being out and about inspires me- there’s always someone fascinating or something intriguing to inform the piece I’m creating.
What is the story behind your piece?
My objective for this piece is to create something fun but with a sense of purpose. On the surface the bright block colours and naive lines will immediately communicate the exciting party atmosphere that we know and love from Brighton Pride.
But on closer inspection of the piece, the images and slogans tell a deeper tale of a community who are looking to be held, who want to be listened to and who have a strong ethos and voice.
Can you talk us through the piece?
Brighton is the backdrop of the image, with recognisable landmarks such as the west pier, Brighton Dome and i360. The image is mostly be taken up with depictions of queer people in a diverse range of genders, identities, ethnicities and body shapes. Some are holding placards with slogans; some are embracing. All these characters are enveloped in the loving embrace of a bright pink central figure smiling down on them – symbolic of community spirit.
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m really excited about this commission! Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival have been amazing at allowing me the artistic freedom to create the piece I wanted in a way that worked best for me. It feels like a real privilege to be able to create something for Pride and be able to bring art to the city centre. I’ve been visiting Brighton Dome for several years and have always admired their dedication to bringing new artistic voices into the city. It’s great that Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival are supporting a local queer artist for pride.
You can find out more about Ella on her website or Instagram.
Artwork production is kindly supported by One Digital.