I Am Somebody
A Collaboration between Don John and Professor Peter Lloyd
The strengths of any society lies in how it values its individuals. Every person has a value and we should do all we can to allow freedom of expression.
As you sit on this bench just reflect on the fact that, no matter what anyone else says, you are Somebody.
Bursting with life, Sian Storey’s bench captures the beauty, vibrancy and symbolism of butterflies. They represent life and soul, change, endurance and hope - so you may find a poignant connection with the artwork at this time. Take a seat in the middle, and become the butterfly.
Sian was inspired by the colourful seasonal flowers in Southampton’s green spaces, and used vibrant acrylic and spray paint to create the artwork.
See more of Sian Storey's work
The bench I've painted invites the sitter to think about their loved ones. When considering this project, I thought of memorial benches that are installed in dedication to people who have died. I wanted to create a bench that could act as a universal memorial.
It's not just to remember the dead, but also the living. There's no reason why you couldn't use the bench to think fondly about the person who's sat on it next to you. It's for the sitter to decide who to think about at that moment.
I have written a haiku on the bench. This three-line poetry form lends itself well to the three-slatted back of the bench. The text is hand-written in a custom style inspired by the seriffed styles carved or painted onto memorial plaques.
Primarily, I work as a writer, so to have the opportunity to express myself in this tangible, public medium has been very exciting. As a Southampton resident since 2006, I feel very proud to think that something I have created might help brighten up the day of visitors to the city, or fellow Sotonians.
Hope & Love Braille bench
I’m a Braille artist based in Portsmouth and I’m also registered blind. My art is all about showing the beauty of Braille by using the Braille dot to host a word and in the process teaching people about this tactile language in a creative way.
The bench design was about showing the rainbow symbol seen over lockdown in a new way. That rainbow meant a lot to everyone so my take was to use the words ‘hope’ and ‘love’ in Braille in rainbow colours coming out of a stormy sky. On the back of the bench is the complete Braille alphabet in vivid colours. And my hope is that people might use this to learn their names in braille.
In these strange times I want the bench to bring joy to heart of the city and challenge people’s perception of what a visually impaired person can create.
See more of Clarke Reynolds' work
My work is heavily influenced by my surroundings, especially my commute, which has often passed near the dockyard. The sheer scale of it has always impressed me and I wanted to mimic this hub of activity and use the shape of the bench to my advantage.
Charlotte Connelly is an art student at the University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art.
I'm an illustrator and mural artist specialising in hand-drawn typography and lettering. As a type specialist, I believe that words are the most simple and direct way of connecting with a public audience. I also believe that when connecting with communities, the best way is to start small and first make connections with single individuals.
I wanted my bench designs to create small personal moments for each individual who interacted with them. Once enough of these small one-on-one interactions have been achieved, before you know it the work has had a positive impact on a large portion of the community as a whole.
As with most of my work, the visual style of the benches is bold, playful and eye-catching, relying on a vibrant colour palette in a bid to draw the viewer closer. The flowing forms on the benches have a subtle connection to the water surrounding Southampton.
See more of Nathan Evans' work
Benches are physical and ergonomic objects that are designed to be interacted with on a daily basis, so I wanted the designs that I created to reflect that.
The focal point of the designs is the large lettering on the back-rest section of the bench. The lettering subtly draws inspiration from traditional typography used when signposting the historic significance of the Bargate area. The lettering also has a slight contemporary twist to make it more visually intriguing and the letterforms are subtly laying back as though they themselves are taking their own advice and taking some time out of their busy schedule to REST & RELAX.
This is the message I hope to convey to the public: to take a moment to slow down their pace and be still.
See more of Nathan Evans' work
Tudor Flower Power
I love history and wanted to make some artwork inspired by a part of Southampton's past. The red and white roses of Lancaster and York feature in the Southampton, crest dating back to at least the 16th century. I liked the idea of subverting the red versus white, Lancaster versus York, this versus that, taking sides. After playing around with the Tudor Rose design, I came up with the colourful pop art flower power idea.
See more of Wendy Hall's work
I liked the idea for this bench to represent the sea of Southampton. The ships that pass by and creatures that might lie beneath in the dark.
Sharon Hannah grew up Southampton and studied art in Liverpool. She currently works as an art technician at Upper Shirley High School continuing her own passion of painting and printmaking in her spare time.
Great Britain has a range of accents to astound and confuse. Yet, if you ask anyone what a Southampton accent is, they struggle. As an outsider, I love the twang of the Sotonian voice. Extended vowels and curly letters make for wonderful listening.
So for my bench, I had to choose a Sotonian word and of course, ‘mush’ came to mind immediately. A ‘mush’ is a friend, comrade, close acquaintance. And it’s with great delight I now get called that in text messages from my son, a true Sotonian (called Hamish).
So sit down on the Mush bench, with a mush, and have a wee chat about stuff, in any accent you wish, whether it be English, Scottish, Polish, or any wonderful language.
A Sotonia Manifesto, from the Cakes & Ale Press
Manifestoes are important, essential. And not just for organisations or political parties. For the individual too. What do you want to do; and how?
At the Cakes & Ale Press (a small local loss-making organisation of fine printed ephemera) we do everything on this bench, from playing Benny Goodman records bought from a charity shop, to writing with a good pen from a well-known department store. Or eating more fish from the fish man at Sunnyfields every Friday.
Set standards and don’t; whatever you do, let them drop. And always, I repeat always, do as Curtis Mayfield suggested, and Move On Up…
See more of Johnny Hannah's work
These Times Will Come Again
Social distancing has made us crave seeing our loved ones more than ever. This bench is an optimistic look forward to future celebrations, festivals, parties, get togethers and soirées.
Feeding The Pigeons
A playful take on Southampton's feathered residents who can be found walking the high street at any time of day.
See more of Kev Munday's work
My bench is an invitation to sit for a while, disconnect and reconnect. My aim is to offer an opportunity to change a point of view; perhaps initiate conversations with friends, family or access local support if needed, through local charity Solent Mind. I passionately believe that art can serve a greater purpose and my practice explores activism and social change. Even though we may be living through troubling times, I wanted to create something reassuring and positive for the city centre.
See more of Jojo Lewis' work
For this design, I wanted to create something that might encourage people like me to ride (and rest) more. As the global climate emergency rages, cycling is one of the small, simple acts many of us can do to help.
I'm really excited about the new cyclepaths sprouting up across our city, helping me to get out and about on my bike more. I help out at Monty's Bike Hub in Sholing, so I'm particularly excited that Sholing is now connected into the city via the eastern cycle freeway.
Monty's Bike Hub is an exciting social enterprise that recycles and resells second hand bikes, and supports all things cycling in Southampton. Come and say hello sometime.
Find out more about Monty's Bike Hub
What does Unity mean to you? Local artist Ciro has designed this bench to ask this question of all who pause, sit or pass by. For Ciro, during difficult times Southampton feels like a city more united. The artist has used a distinctive graffiti style to emblazon the bench with the word Unity that both obscures the text and creates a vibrant and distinctive style of expression.
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