Passengers travelling through Temple Meads station will now see what appears to be a young girl standing alone and gazing at her mobile phone on Platform 3.
‘Maya’ is in fact a unique sculpture created by Bristol-based internationally renowned artist, Luke Jerram. This world-first three-dimensional pixelated portrait is clear to see from a distance and disconcertingly real, but as you move closer, it appears to fragment into cubes.
Luke explains: “Every occasion of our lives now seems to be documented with the plethora of cameras we carry around. Billions of images are uploaded onto the internet every year. This sculpture is made of over 5000 photographic sections – pixels from photos of my daughter. From a distance, people coming through the station may be almost concerned to see what looks like a young girl stood by herself, but as they move closer, she will pixelate just like a computer image does.
He continues: There’s a certain distance when standing in front of the sculpture that the pixels disappear and the image of the girl comes together. The sculpture goes ping! It’s really fun. I’m really interested to see whether the public enjoy this optical experience. The idea has been in my sketchbook waiting to be realised for over 10 years. So it’s quite wonderful to finally be able to make this sculpture a reality thanks to Bristol Temple Quarter Commissions!”
To create the artwork, Luke scanned his young daughter using an Xbox Kinect. Her head was scanned at the Machine Vision Laboratory at the University of the West of England. Both scans were combined and pixelated into cubes, known as voxels. The model was then made from precision cut sheets of aluminum. Over 5000 coloured stickers were printed and painstakingly fixed onto the aluminum. Printing was completed at the Centre for Fine Print Research, where Luke is a Senior Research Fellow.
First Great Western’s Retail Manager for the Central Region Mike Holmes says: “At First Great Western we are committed to supporting the communities we serve and are delighted to be able to offer a home to this installation.
“Over 27,000 passengers a day pass through the station, supported by our helpful and friendly staff. It is wonderful to be able to provide a safe and stimulating space for them, as we keep people moving in these increasingly congested times. Luke’s piece adds to Inkie’s stunning piece of street art brightening the Passenger Tunnel.”
Maya is part of the series of Bristol Temple Quarter Commissions, designed to engage people with the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone through cultural experiences that aim to surprise, question and delight. The aim to encourage artists and audiences to explore the area, engage with its history and its future economic potential as a major location for creative digital industries.