For our current exhibition, OFF THE RAILS, we partnered with Isle of Wight Steam Railway to celebrate their 50th anniversary moving from Newport to Havenstreet, by showing artefacts, signs and memorabilia from their collection, related objects and artworks from the IW Heritage Service Collection, AJ Wells & Sons, as well as a series of artist’s and school’s response work.
As part of this exhibition, we invited artists to submit work to respond to ideas around preservation, displacement and memory, and some wider themes on travel, engineering and movement, giving this exhibition a rich, contemporary feel, whilst retaining the narrative of the Island’s Steam Railway history. Works include painting, drawing, mixed media, digital, print, text and sculpture. You can view all of the artists work here on our online gallery: OTR Online: Artist Response | (quayarts.org)
On Monday 15th February we announced via social media that one artist has been selected from the exhibition to hold a future solo show in Quay Arts’ Clayden Gallery, gaining one-to-one support from the Arts Team in developing their exhibition. In addition, IW Steam Railway have offered a season ticket to IW Steam Railway, giving them unlimited travel on their trains for one year!
THE WINNING ARTIST IS…
His submission to OFF THE RAILS included digital works ‘Fervour 1 & 2’, 50 x 70cm each and six digital works ‘Style Writing Roots (1-6)’, 61 x 16cm each, representing bold, graphic graffiti works on subway trains. See the winning work here – OTR Online: Artist Response | (quayarts.org)
These works on trains represent the beginnings of Steve Miles’ initial interest in the graffiti artform that started on the sides of the trains in the Bronx back in the late 60’s. In the early 80’s when he was a teenager, he was amazed by the large colourful paintings on the sides of the trains and became hooked on practicing the visual style of letterforms –
“Its crazy to think that these kids living in such hard times created a world-wide artform, using their imagination and creativity to produce moving vibrant pieces of work on the side of the trains, it was a way of feeling like they existed and a way out of the gang culture of the times. If you can think past the fact that it was illegal and understand the world these guys were living in hopefully you will find it just as beautiful and amazing as myself! In such desperate and hard times, they found a way to be constructive and creative, giving birth to an amazing artform!”
His abstract language of painting combines a highly expressive and gestural graphic style, that is representational of over three decades spent as a graphic designer and graffiti artist. Steve Miles is a member of the National Acrylic Painters Association and lives and works on the IW.
The selection was made by Georgia Newman, Quay Arts’ Visual Arts Manager, Ian Whitmore, Quay Arts’ Learning, Education and Workshops Manager, and John Paton, Havenstreet’s Museum curator.
John Paton said this in response:
“What drew me to Steve’s work is the boldness and energy, a sense of movement and the way the carriages are peopled with such a wide variety of humanity. Railways are an enclosed world of their own, operating to their own set of often arcane rules, but as Steve reminds us, without passengers -and freight – there is no reason for their existence. I hope that when we can open the railway people will visit ‘Off the Rails’ at Havenstreet, alongside our exhibition celebrating 50 years of the steam railway and view this exciting collection of art in the context of the trains themselves. And perhaps Steve will be inspired to create a work for display at Havenstreet that encapsulates maybe the energy that railways generate.”
In response to finding out about the announcement, selected artist Steve Miles has said:
“This opportunity really is a big deal for me and is an opportunity that I will grab with both hands. I am so grateful to the Quay Arts and I’m already looking forward to creating a new body of work for this solo exhibition.”
Georgia Newman said this in response:
“I’m thrilled we’ve been able to unanimously select this fantastic artist. Steve’s work is incredibly bold and expressive and shows great promise in adapting the space into something quite exciting. I really look forward to working with him to bring an exhibition of his style and content to our Clayden Gallery in 2022 and potentially do something off-site at Havenstreet too!”
Steve Miles Website: Steve Miles – Fine Art
Steve Miles Social Media: Steve Miles Artist | Facebook / Steve Miles / toxic363 (@stevemilesartist) • Instagram photos and videos