The start of last weekend saw the reveal of a billboard project in Southsea. Named ‘One Southsea, One Love’ aims to send a message out to the independent and creative community in the local area of hope and positivity.
Speaking to James Porter from the Coastguard Studio who has lived in Southsea his whole life, he said that what stemmed from a temporary quote on a couple of abandoned billboards at the bottom of Bristol Road then gave the vision to make this spot a permanent street art focus. He said he wanted to do something inclusive rather than chasing a brand.
Having spent 8 months negotiating the spot where all can see while winding the corner of the graveyard on Highland Road, Square Deal Windows agreed to donate the billboard spot. Getting another artist involved meant there would be a double impact facing passers by on their way to work or on their way home from school. The Coastguard creative said that he loves Pogo’s work and his Instagram quote on his profile of ‘Never in the trend but always in the right direction’ really resonated with him.
Visiting the site just as the scaffolding was coming down, I asked Pogo what he felt his thought process was around his piece ‘Marianne’. He said, “I feel my work has developed into an Art Nouveau direction and as I am French and lived in the UK for 12 years, I wanted to celebrate my roots. In my home country, Marianne is represented all across France. She has been the national representation of the French Republic since the French Revolution and symbolises liberty, equality, fraternity and reason as well as a portrayal of the Goddess of Liberty.” The saying goes that there has never been an official image of Marianne, so artists are free to imagine her as they wish, which makes this image of Marianne even more appealing in my eyes as it offers a symbol but then allows freedom with it. Being the face of all French stamps and most Euro coins, this feminine figure is a national treasure and even put on official government documents! Pogo is renowned for his stencil work and Marainne has 10 layers of stencil and 26 colours to create the beautiful image.
Chatting to the Coastguard Studio owner about his art piece he said, “After 8 months of negotiations, we managed to get the green light to restore and populate these redundant billboards at Bristol Road, Southsea. It was a pleasure to welcome Pogo who is one of the best in the business to work side by side. Taking on a board each, him installing Marianne and me installing ‘One Southsea One Love’ is all about sending out a positive message acknowledging Southsea and all the people within who make it a unique place where we live.”
To celebrate the artwork that has been created, there are limited prints by both artists available from The Corner Collective and Joy Fantastic to buy. Pop into both galleries to have a look and purchase these well-made prints. The One Love, One Southsea print has been screen printed for a very cool finish and the Marianne piece looks just as good as what you see on the billboard!
You can see both artists links to their Instagram below and check out their other socials too.