Grand designs at UCD science block
A screegrab of a video showing James Earley working on his masterpiece outside the UCD science block. Photograph: UCD Research
Some artists paint on a grand scale, with canvases over three metres across.
But James Earley goes grander still. He has just completed an art work 40 metres long and over two metres tall outside the science block at University College Dublin.
Mr Early is a graphic designer and illustrator who won a commission from the university entitled “Journey of Discovery”, a work done to celebrate the ongoing development of UCD’s emerging Science Centre.
“We wanted to tell the story of the Science Centre both on campus but also to the general public,” says Alexandra Boyd, public engagement and outreach project manager with UCD Research.
They decided to commission a large-scale piece of “graffiti art” applied to wooden hoardings that block off part of the Science Centre’s construction site adjacent to the Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology.
There were underlying themes of connections and of moving from local to global and these are reflected in the design eventually submitted by Mr Earley. “It is all about the connections,” he says.
His design was inspired by connecting up with scientists in their labs and having conversations about what they are researching, he said. The design reflects these conversations and conveys six research themes, health; agri-food; environment; energy, culture, economy and change; and information, computation and communications.
Mr Earley first developed rough sketches and then moved these across to an illustrator programme. Once fully developed he printed out the design which he then began to transfer across to the hoarding. He worked exclusively with spray paints and not brushes, but these were still able to give the level of definition he needed.
It starts with the micro world of DNA and bacteria and moves on to show the natural environment, renewable energy and global connectedness, he says. A spiralling shape like a galaxy delivers the viewer to the macro world to complete the journey.
Painting began on February 4th and only finished in the past few days. Boyd decided it would be good to chronicle the work, commissioning a video company to film Early while he worked. They also set up a time-lapsed version that compresses two weeks of painting into a few minutes.
The location is a very public space and the design was a “dynamic form of expression” that would help to convey what was going on in the Science Centre, says UCD’s vice president for research Prof Des Fitzgerald.
When completed this September the UCD Science Centre will provide space for more than 3,500 students and 1,000 researchers.
A photo gallery of the artwork being made can be seen here