TRANQUILITY through mindfulness is the aim of Art Of Protest Projects’ public street art collaboration with Thor’s Tipi Bar in York.
Project director Jeff Clark and communications and support manager Brenna Allsuch are wearing different hats this time, bringing their own vibrant, uplifting mural and photography installation to Parliament Street at the epicentre of the city’s re-opened shopping streets.
Working under the monikers of Thready Pulse and J.See, respectively, muralist Brenna and photographer Jeff have created eight works for display on four benches to make their mark on the urban landscape.
Focused on mindfulness and finding a quiet moment of peace in bustling and energetic surroundings, this series of installations – with large board canvases as backrests – features Brenna’s painted mountain range on one side and Jeff’s series of black-and-white cityscape photographs on the other.
“The aim of this collaborative project is to invite people to take a quiet rest as they soak in the city landscape,” says Jeff, whose latest project comes on the heels of the ongoing Guardians Of York, the AOP Projects and York BID collaboration with Brighton street artist collective The Postman to “honour and elevate” pandemic key workers from York.
“Placing art within an urban setting has the power to stop passers-by and encourage them to reflect on something they wouldn’t normally expect to see. It also draws people into the space and allows for conversation and engagement with friends and strangers alike.
“This specific project uses various mediums in the form of paint, photography and construction to allow a multifaceted approach to urban seating and art.”
Thready Pulse and J. See’s bench installation is dedicated to their beloved friend, Michael Feather, who passed away in April. “Michael was the father of our production manager and close friend, Craig Feather,” says Brenna.
“He sadly lost his battle with cancer just four weeks ago and we’ve all been feeling his loss. He was not an artist himself, but an amazing master joiner and carpenter who helped rebuild Chatsworth House [in Derbyshire].
“Michael was a big part of our lives and his love of nature and stillness served as the inspiration for this piece. His continuous smile and curiosity with the world around him will be sorely missed, but our hope is that this project will serve as a reminder of his impact on his family and our community.”
Brenna and Jeff are grateful to City of York Council for funding and Make It York and York BID for their support. “We’re so excited for this installation to bring smiles and hopefully a feeling of peaceful mindedness to the city of York,” she says.
“Working on these murals and knowing they will be so prominently placed within the city allowed me to step outside of my usual practice and create a series of works that wants to invite people in, stop them in their tracks and allow them to just take a deep breath and refocus their busy mind.”
Jeff adds: “Walking through a busy city centre, you don’t expect to come around the corner and see a large mountain landscape. Even better, as you walk away and reflect back on the installation, the other side features high-impact iconic black and white imagery of the city of York.”
Under his nom de l’art of J.See, multi-media artist and photographer Jeff Clark works with multi- layered images but predominantly 35mm black-and-white negative film that he then hand processes in a dark room, as well as digital images from various cameras.
Brenna Allsuch, alias Thready Pulse, is a hand-embroidery artist, mural designer and painter from her home studio in York. Trained as an ICU nurse, she is also AOP Projects as head of communications and project support manager.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Brenna moved around Australia and Europe – Norway, Germany and Ireland – and ended up in Austin, Texas, where she spent 15 years. “I moved to the UK almost four years ago and came to York because I wanted to leave the USA and settle in a city where I could raise my kids in a safer environment,” she says.
“Between the political landscape in the USA and having the ability to move abroad, thanks to having English citizen children, York seemed like a great place to settle, and I’m so glad I moved here; I absolutely love it.”
If her mountain artwork looks familiar to you from another York locale, you are correct: she designed the glass-frontage display at Skosh, Neil Bentinck’s restaurant of the gods in Micklegate.
“I’ve always loved the mountains and have always had an interest in murals,” says Brenna, who also uses mountains as a reference in her modern hand embroidery.
“I first painted a mountain mural on a wall in my home and fell in love with mixing colours and creating a sense of depth just by adding lights and darks together.
“Having painted the mountain mural for Skosh, it seemed like an easy choice when we were approached by Thor’s Tipis to create a backdrop on interesting urban benches. I’m excited to continue to explore mountain ranges as a form of murals, as well as other landscapes, both realistic and abstract.”
Explaining the moniker Thready Pulse, Brenna says: “It comes from the medical term defined as ‘a scarcely perceptible and commonly rapid pulse that feels like a fine mobile thread under a palpating finger’.
“I’ve practised as a registered nurse for eight years, most recently working in the intensive care unit at York District Hospital, and when I first delved into the world of embroidery art about three years ago, I thought this was a fitting name for me, suggesting my love for both medicine and fibre arts.”
Her work as an ICU nurse in pandemic times has seen Brenna feature in The Postman’s series of Guardians Of York street art murals. Look out for her, shock of pink hair and all, on the end wall of Millie’s, the grocery store on Bishopthorpe Road.