The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport approached renowned Scottish artist, Alasdair Gray, to create an impressive Ceramic Tiled Mural for the Glasgow Hillhead Station, to commemorate the modernisation of the Underground network, which would prepare the infrastructure for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Alasdair Gray, with strong links to the Hillhead area and Glasgow's West End, was the ideal candidate to capture the very essence of the locality in a creative, yet dynamic way. The artwork was based on a view of Hillhead created by fellow artist, Nichol Wheatley, on an advertisement panel for the now defunct Grosvenor Cafe. Gray borrowed the ideas from Wheatley's work and created a more complex design, which evolved into the finished masterpiece.
The work of art, which now dominates the main wall of the refurbished station, is a detailed, panoramic sweeo of the West End area, from Byres Road, looking east towards the centre of Glasgow. The mural showcases well-known landmarks such as Glasgow University, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Hillhead Library and the Botanic Gardens. Once the design had been finalised, Gray, along with Wheatley and his team from Perfect Circle Art, worked on developing a pioneering method of working with ceramics to deliver the artists vision. It was the most complex work undertaken by Sadler Green, after many years of experience in the ceramic decorating field. Our company was chosen by the artist to supply the tile transfers for the mural and we worked very closely with the with the Perfect Circle Art Team to produce a very precise detail in both the scale and colour of the mural artwork. The nature of the artwork, particularly with it having complete buildings in the piece, had to be cut around as individual tiles. This resulted in a large ceramic jigsaw rather than a standard piece of repeated tiling.
In order to produce the transfers to fit perfectly, each hand-cut porcelain tile set new standards in terms of accuracy and fit as well as in the consistency of fired colour for digital ceramic technology. It is thought that digitsl ceramic transfers of this scale has never before been utitlised, making it a major coup for SadlerGreen; knowing that this work will be seen by thousands of commuters on a daily basis for years to come. The project,, which took over two years to complete, has become a landmark of the city's underground network and continues to delight the public.