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ReachOutRCA Facilitates Latest Art on the Underground Project

3 May 2013 – The Royal College of Art's schools and young people's outreach initiative, ReachOutRCA has facilitated Art on the Underground’s latest exhibition – a series of Pop-Up Journeys posters created by pupils from Holland Park School in West London.

ReachOutRCA and collage artist and RCA alumna Sarah Bridgeland led pupils, from 11 to 14, in a series of workshops – a response to artist Sarah Morris’ Big Ben installation at Gloucester Road station. Big Ben, commissioned under AOTU last year, takes its cue from the city of London, its rich architecture and the idea of journeys.

Similarly, pupils were asked to think about these elements as inspiration for their projects. They visited Morris’ artwork to understand how she had built up an abstract image with complex, geometric shapes inspired by the structure of the Big Ben London landmark.

At Gloucester Road station, they made a collection of line drawings, rubbings and collages based on the shapes, signs, textures and architectural details they found, as well as collecting collage material such as pocket Tube maps and leaflets. This informed a series of playful exercises in ‘drawing with paper’ back at school. The final 3D paper constructions reflect each individual student’s interests and visual investigations of London, whether through deconstructing an architectural landmark, expressing their experiences of travelling in the city, or recording architectural details and symbols, including the skyline. The 3D creations were then photographed and have been re-produced as posters at Earl’s Court station.

‘The works act as a personal record of the students’ journeys, like a ‘pop-up’ visual diary – an abstract portrait of the London that they each know,’ Bridgland explained.

Louise Coysh, curator for AOTU for London Underground, said she was ‘blown away’ by the imagination and creativity of the pupils: ‘The thousands of commuters that use Earl’s Court station everyday will enjoy looking at these fantastic artworks.'

AOTU approached ReachOutRCA to help it find an artist to lead the workshops and to support them in the planning and delivery of the project.

The AOTU initiative, which dates back to 2000, has commissioned works from single site large-scale pieces to Tube Map covers, from artists including Peter Blake, Tracey Emin and Cindy Sherman.

For ReachOutRCA, the collaboration underlines the breadth of opportunity it is increasingly able to offer to RCA students and alumni, as well as linking with another local school and participating in a project that has a strong visible outcome.