'The Liverpool Cityscape', Ben Johnson, 2008
© Ben Johnson 2011. All Rights Reserved. DACS.
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Acrylic on canvas with 'poly board' backing
244 x 488 cm
Accession number WAG 2008.1
Ben Johnson was commissioned to create The Liverpool Cityscape for 2008. He started painting in 2005. It took him over three years to paint, working mainly in his London studio with 11 assistants. To prepare, he visited Liverpool, found the best viewpoints, studied the architecture, talked to local experts, made drawings and took over 3,000 photographs.
Each featured building was 'drawn' on a computer. Combined, these drawings created an actual size 'plan' of the painting. Every drawing was analysed and broken down to create several separate stencils for each building: for the brickwork, the window frames, the glass, and so on. The stencils were carefully applied to the canvas using 'notches' to position them exactly.
The painting was carried out using hand-mixed acrylic paints applied with spray-guns through the stencils. The final touching-in of tiny areas of bare canvas was carried out using a fine paint brush.
Johnson completed the Cityscape in a public residency here at the Walker Art Gallery in early 2008. It was originally displayed as part of the exhibition; 'Ben Johnson's Liverpool Cityscape 2008 and the World Panorama Series', along with several of his other cityscapes.
The painting is now part of the permanent collection at the Walker Art Gallery. It is on display in the Skylight gallery, on the second floor of the Museum of Liverpool.
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The Liverpool Cityscape was commissioned by National Museums Liverpool, together with the Liverpool Culture Company and Professor Phil Redmond CBE and Mrs Alexis Redmond MBE. Others who have supported the commission are David M Robinson Ltd, Liverpool Vision, Northwest Regional Development Agency, Ethel Austin Property Group, Barbara A McVey, Investec Wealth and Investment, and Beetham Organization.