Razzle Dazzle


(neil whitehead) #1

From Design Week (http://www.designweek.co.uk/issues/30-march-5-april-2015/sir-peter-blakes-dazzling-public-art)



Sir Peter Blake has created a moving piece of public art by designing pop art graphics for the exterior of a passenger ship in Liverpool.

The artist has designed a “dazzling” pattern for the Mersey ferry Snowdrop, which was then painted onto the vessel by ship repairers Cammell Laird.

The artwork, named Everybody Razzle Dazzle, will remain on the ship for two years as people use it for commuting and for canal cruises.

“This is the first real piece of public art I’ve been commissioned to do,” Blake says. “I’ve always been involved with the public in that I’ve tried to make things that are available for anyone, such as prints and postcards that kids can buy with their pocket money.”

The graphics, composed of 22 different colours in the form of monochrome and multi-coloured patterns, are based on “dazzle” camouflage, which was used in the world wars to mislead the enemy by making it hard to guess the ship’s speed, range and direction.

“My initial thoughts were very much that it was a memorial to the dazzle paintings in world war one,” Blake says. “In 1914, it was a form of art deco – it was an invention. Now it’s evolved, and is much more colourful than the initial design.”

Everybody Razzle Dazzle is a commission from a number of organisations including Liverpool Biennial, 14-18 NOW: First World War Centenary Art Commissions and Tate Liverpool, also in partnership with Merseytravel and National Museums Liverpool.

Aboard the ship there is a display depicting the role of the Mersey Ferries in the first world war, curated by National Museums Liverpool and Tate Liverpool, and an accompanying educational programme for schools teaching children about maritime history.

Blake has links with Liverpool, having first visited the city when he served national service with the R.A.F. in 1952, and having been awarded first prize in the junior section in the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition in 1961.

“Peter Blake was the ideal artist, given his associations with Liverpool, and the nature of his work,” says Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW. “The Mersey will be carrying passengers, so it’s all about people enjoying and feeling inspired by it – his work lifts the spirits.”

She adds: “There’s not a lot to celebrate in the first world war, with many sad stories of devastation. But the dazzle ships celebrate the spirit of invention, where artists were employed by the navy to save lives through creativity and design.”

“I would hope the dazzle ship will bring cheerfulness for the public,” Blake says. “When thinking of what to call the scheme, the Bill Haley song jumped to mind. It was initially just about dazzle, but now it’s about razzle as well – remembering the first world war but also having a party.”


(Ann Blake) #2

That’s very kind of you. Thanks Carol


(Carol Lavinia Fraser) #3

We have been in the Gers for 10 years now and absolutely love living here. We wish you and you family all the happiness we have found.


(Ann Blake) #4

Hi carol, we are moving to St Martial de Balette, near Nontron. Spent Christmas at the house after signing the contracts. So excited


(Carol Lavinia Fraser) #5

Where are you moving to? We are in SW France, the Gers.


(neil whitehead) #6

Hope it will be on the BBC news. I saw, many years ago, Canberra, Queen Elizabeth and the France all entering Southampton harbour as my parents had taken us on holiday to the Isle of Wight.


(Debra Lee) #7

I am getting an education here. Thanks again, Neil and I look forward to seeing your photos, Ann!


(Ann Blake) #8

I will take some photos and post them on here. Yes, the 3 queens, Elizabeth, Vixtoria and Queen Mary 2. It will be amazing. I have seen Queen Elizabeth in the Mersey. She looked too big to turn around. It will be amazing to see the 3 of the . Apparently there is to be a fantastic water ballet performed by these ships. Amazing.


(neil whitehead) #9

Please take some photos for us. Do you mean Queens as in boats?


(Ann Blake) #10

I am from Liverpool and will be moving to France in 7 weeks. I often used the ferries to get across the Mersey every weekend. I’m will be popping over to Liverpool to see the dazzle ferry before I leave for France. Two days before I depart the three queens will be coming into the Mersey. Fond memories but excited about making new memories in france.


(Carol Lavinia Fraser) #11

Absolutely love it. What a fabulous way to commorate those old war ships and to gladden the hearts of the passengers.


(neil whitehead) #12

“Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. Credited to artist Norman Wilkinson, though with a prior claim by the zoologist John Graham Kerr, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other.

source : https://angelaadams.com/blog/razzle-dazzle-camouflage/


(Debra Lee) #13

Hi Neil! Thanks so much for sharing this! I had never heard of "dazzle" camouflage. Now I am going to research it. This is an amazing way to utilize the concept of public art. I love the merging of history and art. One of the things I appreciate about European countries is their pride in their histories and their support of art. I will have to share this with the public art organizations in my area...although I don't believe they would have the funds to do this, unfortunately.