PECT Green Festival 2016 – Featured Artist: Jay Gearing

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PECT Green Festival 2016  – Featured Artist 

Seven artists have been commissioned to transform Peterborough city centre into a showcase for environmental art at this year’s PECT Green Festival, which returns with a Launch Day on Saturday 13th August and Fringe Events through till 21st August.

From a three-metre long papier-mâché stag beetle to an origami boat-walking trail, the artworks promise to spark debate about sustainable living and encourage residents to take positive action for the local and global environment.

Organised by the charity Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), the Festival brings together community groups, charities and businesses in an annual celebration of ‘green’ initiatives in the city. The Festival aims to encourage local people to live sustainably and develop long-term behaviour change, by exploring themes such as sustainable transport, recycling, local and sustainable food and biodiversity.

For the second year running PECT have commissioned artists to support and create new artwork specifically for the festival. They will exhibit their works and run interactive activities at the 2016 event.

In lead up to the Peterborough Green Festival Idea1 will release an interview with each of the 7 artists. A chance to get a taster of what to expect at this years Green Fest and get to know the artists. First up artist Jay Gearing…


Artist: Jay Gearing

Art Work: It’s Not Your Fault

About Jay – Co-founder of Paper Rhino – an ethical design co-operative – and a trustee of Peterborough’s community garden The Green Backyard, Jay Gearing will be tackling the link between consumerism and climate change in his Green Festival installations.


Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Jay Gearing, I’m a proud father, musician, political activist and co-founder of Peterborough’s only workers co-opertaive Paper Rhino.


Could you describe your art practice?

I’m a digital artist using mainly Photoshop and image manipulation, I can’t draw or paint for toffee. I’m also highly politically motivated with artwork that I create off my own back but I have a long history of creating artwork for bands that isn’t always so overtly political.


What will you be creating as part of your Green Festival Commission?

I’m creating a series of fake advertisements for the Green Festival called ‘It’s Not Your Fault’, highlighting the amount of pollution and contributions to climate change that large corporations have made. The ads will actually be in eight of Peterborough’s City Centre hoardings, which is really exciting for me!


How can the public get involved with your artwork?

The ads I will be creating will be displayed for two weeks. I would like to encourage people who see them to post on social media using the hashtag #PECTGreenFest no matter if they like it or hate it! I’d also like to people to challenge the pieces and think about the messages.

What is your art piece about? How does it tie in with the themes of Green Festival?

I see the pieces as a great way of questions a few things.

1. The level of responsibility that is put on the individual for living a sustainable lifestyle whilst huge multinational contribute so much towards climate change.

2. To look at the way we accept advertising in our lives on a daily basis. Why must we only see them to promote the sale of something and not for more important questions?

3. As a break from the norm, something that can challenge your everyday experience of your surroundings.


What has been your favourite part about this commission?

Above all my favourite part of this project was actually getting commissioned in the first place. Not because it’s an honour, which it is, but because the kind of project I am embarking on is usually reserved for guerrilla artists and I’m actually getting paid for it!


What have been your challenges whilst creating this work?

The main challenge was that it’s been entirely depressing dong the research I’ve needed to do. The scale of the problem is even larger than I originally thought. I had no idea what some of the companies I was going to focus on were doing so much to contribute not only to climate change but pollution of waterways and much more.


Do you think it is important that art is integrated into The Green Festival and what benefit do you think it has?

Art is hugely important in any setting. Artists ask questions in a way that mere words can’t always achieve. It also brings beauty at the same time, not always aesthetic beauty but the beauty of awkwardness or showing a mirror up to society. I’d like to the Green Festival held over a longer period. Maybe 2 days of the event but I’d also like to see more art and more art that challenges the status quo.


When and where can we see your piece at Green Festival?

All around the City Centre during the Green Festival!


Look out for Jay’s hoardings popping up all across the City Centre. Use #PECTGreenFest to join the conversation. Find out more about the festival here. 


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