As part of Maritime Tales Week 2022, Hull Maritime have teamed up with the Whitefriargate High Street Heritage Action Zone and Hull Trinity House to install a magical window display on the corner of Whitefriargate, a street filled with maritime stories from the city’s past. Ahead of the launch on 22 October, Charlotte Tomlinson sat down with local artist Alex Hunt, who has created the piece, for a chat.
First things first, thanks for creating such a magical window display for us. We love your style as a window artist - how did you first get into window art?
I first got into window art a couple of years ago now, I saw an Instagram story from a shop down Humber Street looking for someone to draw on their windows. So I dropped them a message and they ended up choosing my design. I could draw but I’d never drawn on a window and worked on something that large before so in my head I was like it’ll either turn out really good or really bad…luckily it turned out pretty good and the work has just built up ever since. I’m now a professional window artist, and I’m forever grateful for people getting in touch with me about potential work.
your latest piece, Whitefriargate Windowscape, all about?
This piece is all about the heritage of Hull, to make a playful piece that includes maritime tales, buildings, and architecture found on Whitefriargate and in the surrounding areas. I think there are a lot of buildings and details that go unnoticed in Hull, I hope this piece ignites that fire of interest in people to take a moment to “Look Up, Down and All Around”.
This area of Hull has a really special story, doesn’t it?
Absolutely, I think the phrase we have used in the piece “Look Up, Down and All Around” is relevant on Whitefriargate, a lot of the beautiful buildings tell stories of Hull’s history, if you take a moment to notice and explore them. I’ve learnt a lot more from doing this project and I hope this piece allows people to feel connected to Hull’s rich history.
We know it’s hard to pick favourites – but what’s your favourite part/s of the piece?
My favourite part is probably the Kraken and Neptune.
Yes I agree, it’s fab – I love that we’re bringing together the mythology of Neptune and the history of the Neptune Inn, which was once here, with Hull Maritime’s Karen installation last year together. Two really playful pieces speaking to one another.
Finally, this is a temporary installation for Maritime Tales Week 2022. What would you like people to take away from the artwork in that time?
Most of all, I’d like people to take their time looking up, down and all around on the street itself - you never know what you might find. Almost everything in the window is taken from the streets around it, so once you’ve had a good look, have a wander, and see how many details you can spot.
We’ve created a free activity pack to help you follow the clues in the artwork, and there’s also a ‘Design Your Own Window’ competition to enter so don’t miss out (details on where to find them below).
I’d also love to see you all getting involved with the piece so take some pictures with your favourite part of the windowscape and tag us on social media and #MaritimeTalesWeek
Whitefriargate Windowscape runs from 22 October as part of Maritime Tales Week 2022.
It has been created in partnership with Hull Trinity House and Hull Whitefriargate High Street Heritage Action Zone, which is funded by Historic England.
Free activity packs can be picked up from Ferens Art Gallery, businesses and shops along Whitefriargate, the Museum Quarter, and Hull Paragon Station.