A graduate from specialist art and design college Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) has demonstrated her brilliance after winning a competition to showcase her work at Artichoke’s Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival in Durham, 12th-15th November.
With a brief to ‘surprise and delight audiences’, 21-year-old Robyn Wright from Darlington took part in Lumiere’s BRILLIANT competition earlier this year and her bright idea of creating a neon bike – re-inventing the popular mode of transport using light – was one of four winning designs.
The graphic design graduate, who completed her degree at the college’s University-level campus in Hartlepool in 2015, took the chance to experiment with her ideas, stepping away from her area of expertise in print design. Instead, the artist created installations made of neon flex attached to a custom-made frame, a simple yet stunning design to encourage visitors to reflect on the joy of cycling.
Robyn was delighted to win the competition and is looking forward to seeing her series of three neon bike works of art on show during the event. She said: “I heard about the call for proposals for the BRILLIANT commission so I went for it and submitted a proposal in January. This got me through to the second stage where I had to refine my idea as well as present it to a panel.
“Once I found out I had won in May, I then had to think about the different ways the bikes could be created so they looked effective, yet be able to survive the festival, and now the bikes are currently being made by Neon Circus who specialise in neon and LED lighting.
“All the artists involved are amazing and I never even thought I would get past the first stage of the application so I couldn’t believe it when I actually won. Lumiere is such a huge event that I’ve looked forward to every year, so for me to be involved this time around is really exciting. I’ll be there as well as my family, my friends are excited to go too.”
Artistic talent also runs in the Wright family, as Robyn’s brother Stuart Langley, also a graduate of CCAD, is showing his work for the second time. For his Lumiere debut, Stuart made three stained glass Robin Reliant cars, and this year has created a giant wave from sea glass. The glinting, frozen wave will rise above Fowlers Yard in a celebration of East Durham’s industrial heritage made using sea glass collected from local beaches.
Robyn is planning to develop her talents and is setting up as a freelance designer. She added: “I am starting to focus on self-initiated design projects now. I designed a book for my final major project at college and loved creating it so I would definitely like to make another, as well as having a go at applying for more commissions.
“I think one of the best parts of CCAD is that it’s full of creative people, tutors and students, who you can learn a lot from. The course encouraged me to experiment and find my specialism within graphic design as well as opening me up to new avenues. I got to work on a number of live briefs and do work placements which I really enjoyed as well as giving me valuable experience. The college has a great atmosphere and I will miss it!”
Francis Fitzgerald, Graphic Design Programme Leader at CCAD, said: “We are delighted that two of our graduates are being showcased in this prestigious event. It proves the point that a degree in Graphic Design from CCAD is a degree in creativity, adaptability and communication and these projects certainly extend and challenge the boundaries of subject disciplines in design and art.”
From 12th-15 November, the fourth Lumiere festival in Durham will transform the historic city with an ambitious programme of light installations from international, national and regional artists with the theme of Light, Art, the Universe and Everything.