Have you ever thought about the meaning of colour?

Do you think about colour? At Crown Paints, we do. We take colour, paint and everything in between very personally indeed.

With an illustrious 200-year history in the city of Hull, it was only natural that when we heard Hull was to become UK City of Culture in 2017 we jumped head first into supporting the project, by becoming proud Business Club Partners.

When we were approached by the Hull 2017 team to assist in an upcoming exhibition, we knew we had to get involved. A unique and strikingly-different concept, Grains of Scandalous Blue presents the story of the 2,500+ Hull 2017 volunteers in a way different to anything ever seen before, with artist in residence Julia Vogl capturing the spirit and personality of the city within the work.

Artist Julia Vogl. Photo: © James Mulkeen

Julia Vogl is an American/British artist, working all across the world. Her works are mostly public art pieces, engaging with community and site to create visual spectacles that reflect those people and places.

Each of the Hull 2017 volunteers went through an extensive application process, including an intriguing survey. Alongside questions about shoe size, the survey wanted to know all about who the volunteers really are – their interests, hobbies, whether or not they were fluent in another language, and plenty more besides.

With the Humber Street Gallery chosen for the backdrop, Julia picked 56 key pieces of data collected from the volunteers survey. Looking for an outlet to channel the sentiments expressed by the volunteers – joy, life changing, challenging and fun – what was to be created needed to be a showstopper. A spectacle in its own right.

Throughout Galleries 2 and 3 of the gallery, the work is presented through data visualisation. The first piece features coloured sand housed in hundreds of glass jars, with each representing the opinions and views of an individual volunteer. The second consists of a tantalising colour network which takes over the floors and walls, symbolising the emotions and statistics surrounding the volunteer programme. Did you know that 71% of volunteers identify as women? The most common female name for a volunteer? Sue. (It’s Dave for the men.)

Grains of Scandalous Blue. Photo: © James Mulkeen

With 56 different colours (including three custom colours) and over 312 square meters of wall and floorspace covered, it seemed only right that the volunteers at the centre of the exhibition be there to help colour in the canvas. Working in shifts across three days of painting, the space finally came together to realise Julia’s masterpiece.

The final work is truly stunning. Crown Paints Hull Site Manager Ellis Mudd said “It’s fantastic to see the way in which Julia has taken our colours and created something so striking. We are really proud to support Hull UK City of Culture. It has provided a national and international platform to showcase our colour expertise and celebrate the transformational power of culture.

“The impact of the programme overall has been remarkable and we are delighted to have played our part so far.”

A massive thank you to the Hull 2017 team for allowing Crown Paints to be a part of something so special.

Crown Paints are a Hull 2017 Business Club partner.