If you were asked to name a landmark in Huddersfield town centre, Saint George’s Square is probably one of the first to spring to mind. Having scooped a number of awards over the years, the region’s iconic square is home to Huddersfield train station, which stands proudly at the far side with its grand towering columns and striking sandstone facade.
Paying homage to the expansive railway links that connect our borough with the rest of the UK, Chris Leaper’s design, ‘Kirklees Rocket’ for Snowdogs Support Life, Kirklees features a train-like construction with metal plates and rivets, similar to an old-fashioned steam locomotive. Embellished with a map showcasing Kirklees’ vast railway networks and stations, it’s now full steam ahead for Chris as he starts to bring his design to life in our collaborative painting space in the Piazza Centre.
We spoke to Chris to get the inside track on his design and his background in the art world:
Q: Where did your passion for art and design stem from?
A: I was always drawing, painting and designing things as a child, which eventually led to gaining a degree in Product Design from the University of Huddersfield. After that my creativity took a more illustrative path and I contributed work to calendars, magazines and local exhibitions.
Around eleven years ago I started to take my practice more seriously from a business point of view, and began producing my own merchandise to sell in outlets, craft fairs and online, and I still do this today.
Q: Why did you decide to enter a design in Snowdogs Support Life, Kirklees?
I saw the art trail as a way to push myself out of my comfort zone and interact with others. I had never attempted painting a 3D sculpture before, and my own working practice is very solitary. It has been a long time since I’d interacted with other artists while working on a project, which makes this event even more interesting.
Snowdogs Support Life, Kirklees officially launches to the public on September 2nd and will run for eight weeks. The art trail is set to be the largest free event of its kind to ever come to West Yorkshire.
To find out more about Chris and his business, Jesmond Cat Designs, please visit jesmondcatdesigns.com
To find out more about The Kirkwood’s mission to support people across Kirklees living with a life limiting illness, please visit www.thekirkwood.org.uk