Hundred year old photographs inspire artworks by member of School’s Middlesbrough campus team
A member of the student services team at The Northern School of Art‘s Middlesbrough campus is exhibiting work at Pineapple Black Arts in Middlesbrough which was inspired by century-old images of animals in London Zoo.
Artwork by Mary Lou Springstead is on display as part of a show inspired by Animals out of Place, a collection of animal glass sides featuring photographs taken at the London Zoo in 1910.
The slides were discovered in an attic by Mary Lou’s friend and neighbour Barbara Griffin, whose work also features alongside that of Graham Jarritt, and it invites visitors to reflect on our complex relationship with animals and how we live together.
We caught up with Mary Lou to find out more about her, her work and the exhibition.
- How did your current exhibition come about?
During the first lockdown, I met my neighbour and artist friend Barbara Griffin. We started taking weekly walks together when the rules would allow. Barbara and Graham were going to be having an exhibition and Pineapple Black and asked me to join along. This gave me an opportunity to create a series of paintings revolving around a new theme. The results were something quite different than my previous work.
- You are originally from the USA, what brought you to Middlesbrough?
I had visited a friend in Middlesbrough in 2009 and decided to study a master’s degree at Teesside University in 2010 after which I decided to stay on.
- What is your role at The Northern School of Art and how long have you worked here?
I have been working as a learning support assistant on the FE campus since 2014. I provide in-class academic support for students with autism, dyslexia and learning disabilities or differences.
- Does being an artist help or influence your work at the School in any way?
Being an artist influences my work at the School and helps me work within the various courses. I understand the creative process and the blocks that can prevent expression. My strong academic background helps me assist the students with their writing, research, and organisation skills.
- Any advice for the creatives and artists currently at The Northern School of Art?
You are at the right place. I wish I could have gone to The Northern School of Art when I was a young adult. I would say perseverance is the best quality to develop, as there are many ups and downs on the journey as a creative. Try not to doubt your worth as an artist and creative, even when people don’t like your work. If people do like your work, stay humble.
The exhibition by Barbara Griffin, Graham Jarritt & Mary Lou Springstead is taking place at Pineapple Black Arts in Middlesbrough until June 12th. For further details click HERE
Further information about Mary Lou Springstead and her work is available at: https://www.marylouspringstead.com/about
Some images from the exhibition are in the gallery below.