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October 12, 2011 - No Comments!

A reason to go to Blackpool?

For me, the most interesting thing about the Comedy Carpet (one of the UK’s biggest ever pieces of public art which opened yesterday), is the typography and its actual production.

Collaborative artist, Gordon Young was inspired and supported in researching the content for the carpet by Blackpool-based comedy expert, Barry Band and historian and writer Graham Mccann, and on the typography and layout by graphic designer Andy Altmann of why not associates.


image: blackpool council

Production
Five years in the making: one of the most complex pieces of public art ever commissioned at first sight, the comedy carpet looks as if the text is painted, but in fact each of the 160,000+ letters has been individually cut from 30mm solid granite or cobalt blue concrete, arranged into over 300 slabs and then cast into high quality, gleaming white concrete panels. The letters range in size from a  few centimetres to over a metre so viewers can enjoy it both close up and from the  glass viewing platform in the blackpool tower eye.

The scale and incredibly complex nature of the work meant that comedy carpet team even had to set up its own bespoke studio to make the artwork. after several months of research with input from chemists and engineers the comedy carpet team devised new techniques and recipes for production including a special mix to produce the hardest and whitest of concrete and the perfect blue that won’t fade. The process of making each of the 320 slabs involved many complex stages from cutting, sorting, fettling, and laying out each of the letters, to a 3-stage casting process, curing, trimming, grinding and polishing. and that’s before it was transported to Blackpool for the installation on the headland.


gordon young selects letters for a part of the comedy carpet
image: blackpool council


image: blackpool council


image: blackpool council


image: blackpool council


section of the 'carpet' being cleaned
image: bbc


image: bbc


image: bbc

Created as part of the major regeneration of the promenade, the comedy carpet was commissioned by blackpool council, with part of a £4m grant from cabe’s seachange programme. catchphrases, jokes and songs from more than a 1000 comedians are now immortalised in concrete and granite artwork which is situated at the foot of  blackpool tower.

Artist Gordon Young has been working in the public realm for over 20 years creating pieces that mine rich seams of social history, engage communities and extend the relationships between art and architecture. at the heart of all gordon’s young’s work is language - words that entice, fascinate and on the comedy carpet, amuse.  titter ye not, just like that, oooo-er matron, nudge, nudge wink, wink, oh betty! suit you sir, yeah but no but, what’s on the stick vic? , in the comedy carpet young has created a giant 'giggle map' immortalising the UK’s favourite comedians and comic writers fromthe hey day of music hall to 21st century stand up.

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