Humber Street Sesh’s graffiti scene was boosted by local bus company East Yorkshire providing two single deck buses to be painted by world-class artists.
Two decommissioned buses were loaned to the festival, which took place on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August, with graffiti artists being given free rein to create something spectacular.
Humber Street Sesh is one of the UK’s biggest unsigned emerging talent festivals and boasted performances from over 200 artists across 14 stages, regularly attracting more than 30,000 music fans.
Commenting on the partnership, Ben Gilligan, Area Director for East Yorkshire, said: “We were excited to work with Humber Street Sesh by providing buses which were no longer in the fleet to become artwork at the festival. The event is a major part of the cultural offering in the city, drawing in thousands of people from across the UK and it was fantastic to play our part.”
The festival, based in the city’s Fruit Market and Marina area, has always had a focus on art and graffiti, but this year placed an even greater emphasis on covering the whole festival site in imagery, including huge murals which will stay in the area for years to come.
The artists working on the East Yorkshire buses were curated by Altu Collingwood of the Universal Zulu Nation, Hip-Hop culture’s founding organisation, and Isabelle Tracy from Humber Street Sesh.
One of the artists, Marcus Method, has been painting graffiti for 15 years and used bright, pattern-based designs, focussing on composition, layout and simplicity to get his ideas across. On his bus, he tried to contrast the design to spread colour on both sides of the bus, while differentiating to give one side more motion than the other to symbolise the bus on a journey.
The other, ZuluTrik9, used his skills to create a highly detailed piece looking back to 1980s New York when artists would paint train cars on the metro system to create mobile galleries. His work was inspired by stories from Hull and the surrounding area, as well as those which he had heard on his travels, emphasising teamwork in reaching hard destinations.
Altu Collingwood from Universal Zulu Nation explained the idea process for the designs: “We had initial discussions around how to take the traditions of the New York transit system and subway art and develop it in an East Yorkshire style. We wanted to create something which was stark and impactful which could draw the public’s attention and imagination.
“The two artists were selected because of their contrasting styles from other and to the other graffiti programmed on the festival, as well as their bright and striking colour palettes. Both artists painted brilliant pieces and we are really proud of the results.”
East Yorkshire also encouraged people to use the bus to get to the festival, save money on parking and help relieve traffic congestion. It also added extra capacity on late night buses to enable festival-goers to get home safely.
Ben Gilligan added: “Our buses throughout the day and evening on Saturday were extra busy with so many festival-goers choosing to travel to the event on public transport.
“We’re lucky to have so many fantastic events based in Hull city centre and will continue to encourage people to travel by bus, including to the Yum! Festival this week and the five-day Freedom Festival at the end of the month.”
[Rhys Plater – East Yorkshire]