Art & science meet head on

What does art mean to you? Oil paintings hanging in stuffy galleries? Well think again because art can be whatever you want it to be. Take Damien Hirst for example. He dipped a shark, a sheep and a cow in a tank of formaldehyde. Beats painting flowers with watercolour doesn’t it? Then there’s Tracey Emin and her dirty unmade bed. You’ll have one of those for sure.

But now art has gone big. Mind-blowingly big. And the fallout of all this? Art has to get closer to the likes of science. Seems oil and water do mix. So the next time you hear of the words art and scale, don’t be surprised to find folk like engineers sticking their oars in.

Get a load of the Angel of the North. Its wingspan measures an incredible 54 metres across making it wider than the Statue of Liberty’s height. Impressive stuff. And it’s not gone unnoticed by the public either, hitting the top ten of Britain’s best landmarks. Funny how a petition nearly stopped it’s construction back in the day. Go figure.

And unless you spend every waking hour on the Playstation, you’ll have seen even more structures gracing our skylines. From the ‘B of the Bang’ in Manchester to the Aspire Tower in Nottingham – which has shown Nelson’s Column a thing or two in the height stakes.

Then there’s the Tees Valley Giants. Five massive sculptures penciled for 5 sites around the UK, they’re projected to cost an impressive £15 million and will take over a decade to build. So caps off to the designer Anish Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond. They’ve earned it.

Artists can’t just stick their ideas anywhere though. Things like recent use of the site have to be considered. Public opinion has its place too, as well as making sure the area around gets a makeover.

The greatest challenge falls at the toes of engineers though. Artists get all precious with their work, so engineers always have their work cut out. The strength of the structure, the type of materials used, the safety aspects are things that don’t usually take care of themselves.

To learn more about the impressive The Angel of the North, see here

If the artwork side is where you see yourself, you could become:

  • fine artist creating public works of art
  • An agent promoting artists and their work, and ensuring they are involved in high profile projects
  • materials engineer developing new and innovative materials which artists use to create unusual artwork

If getting involved with construction seems your thing, you could be:

Then there’s getting into the promotion of art and the regeneration of the area: