Dull, dark with a tendency to depressing, oh and a bit smelly too, especially near the 50p a pee toilets, that’s railway stations for you. Even though the steam trains have long gone and diesel is a thing of the past with these new-fangled electric trains, Leeds station could still do with a brightening up.
Thank goodness then, for arty folk and a passenger bridge with a spare length of glass. The rather wonderful Leeds Inspired, which supports art in the city, managed to penetrate the bureaucracy of Network Rail and get agreement for a real-life artist to brighten up the place a bit, a lot actually.
The artist Supermundane, who is anything but, was set to work to bring colour, vibrancy and a touch of 60s pop art to the station with Super Leeds, a fantastic mural designed to span the main footbridge.
For two fifths of the cost of a pee, I bought two tickets to go on the platform and view this colourfest for myself. The other ticket was for Noel who has volunteered enthusiastically to stand and hold my camera kit while surrounded by passengers hurrying between platforms, pulling those stupid wheelie trollies. He loves standing in crowds while I faff around with my camera.
It was while I was faffing that a portly Network Rail employee approached with that ‘you-can’t-do-that-here’ look. It turns out the look wasn’t for me, it was for Supermundane’s super artwork. I don’t think he was artistically-inclined.
“So that’s supposed to be art, it it?,” he asked, nodding towards the explosion of colour in the otherwise dull station, confirming my suspicion that art didn’t feature much in his day-to-day life.
“It is indeed, ” I said. “And the station is all the better for it”
He shrugged his shoulders and returned to interpreting the train timetables which in their own way are art, well they are works of fiction, eh?
Bravo Leeds Inspired, Bravo Supermundane. Let’s have more art in dull places!