Bee in the City

Karis Lambert, Steam Powered Bee
Karis Lambert and her Steam Powered Bee

Recent graduate, Karis Lambert (Fine Art, 2015, Pendle) has painted a bee for 'Bee in the City' a widely celebrated public art event in Manchester.

She is a freelance artist and is fascinated by portraiture and contemporary surrealism. Karis went to a networking event earlier in the year hosted by Wild in Art which announced the opportunities to creatives in Manchester and then submitted her Steam-Powered Bee design, which was eventually chosen by her sponsor, Biffa, to represent their business.

She was inspired by the industrial roots of Manchester when she re-visited her favourite museum, the Museum of Science and Industry - in particular the Textiles Gallery where she saw a demonstration of the cotton spinning machines. She wanted to represent this history of ‘Cottonopolis,’ so incorporated steam engines and cotton spinning machines in her steampunk-influenced design. She wanted to make the bee look as though it could almost function as a machine, so she gave the bee a metallic texture whilst keeping a clean, cartoony style.

This was her first artwork of this size and she had never worked on a 3D painting before. It took 128 hours and she was working on it for 6 weeks around her day job. The base colour is made of metallic spray paint, She then sponged acrylic in different shades of bronze and silver over the top to give it the rusty metal texture. The details are painted with acrylic and Posca pens.

She painted it in ‘The Hive of Activity’ - a warehouse in Mayfield just behind Piccadilly station. She was working alongside loads of other bee artists, so there was a real community vibe in the venue. Although it was a bit stressful close to the deadline, the process of painting amongst the other artists was invaluable and she absolutely loved it.

The bee is on display on Castle Street in Castlefield, near Deansgate Station until 23rd September 2018

Karis has recently been back to Lancaster as part of a careers workshop giving tips on trying to get a job in the art world and talking about her current role as the Marketing and Communications Manager for Pop My Mind, a business that connects brands with artistic talents.

You can follow Karis on @karisviola on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

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