Wrekin brings ART to Seeing is Believing

Joseph Steele

Wrekin brings ART to Seeing is Believing with exclusive work by Joseph Steele

Joseph Steele, a fast-rising star of the art world, has chosen to work with highway ironwork manufacturer Wrekin Products to deliver a unique project at highway-industry trade exhibition Seeing Is Believing 2016.

“People don’t really appreciate the creativity that goes into industrial design, but I’ve seen first-hand what happens when there are no manhole covers.

When I did a project in a mining town Eastern Ukraine, locals would steal covers for scrap and I had to walk around at night with a torch to avoid falling into an open manhole.

It got me thinking about the applied creativity that goes into engineering, so when Wrekin approached me to create a piece for their exhibition, I was really interested.

BMW has made a real splash with its art car project since 1975 and I see what Wrekin is doing in the same way – looking at form, function and aesthetics in a new way to challenge traditional ideas of engineering and cast a fresh light on the quality of design.” Joseph Steele

Known for innovative work that combines art with technology Steele’s project for handbag designer Lulu Guinness saw Steele fire silk-screen ink onto Guinness’ handbags from a custom-made cannon. And for The Art Room’s Face Time exhibition, he worked alongside big names like Jake and Dinos Chapman to create art out of clocks.

The special project at Seeing is Believing will be housed in a dedicated pavilion where Wrekin will launch their wide new range of Highway ironwork. The project places these often-unnoticed objects in an environment where the finest design and engineering details can be appreciated – almost like a sculpture gallery – and poses the question: what is ART?

Steele’s latest creation will provide the centrepiece of the pavilion. Using his characteristic approach, he will transform a Wrekin Highway manhole cover into an art object – which will be sold at auction during the trade show.

The ART = Advanced Road Technology pavilion is the focus of Wrekin’s presence at Seeing is Believing. It will be the first chance for highway professionals to see the company’s new Highway range, which exceeds all standards for highway manhole covers and gully grates.

Now studying his Master’s in Fine Art at Goldsmith’s – the college attended by Damien Hirst and Antony Gormley – Steele gets what Wrekin is saying by putting its ironwork on display in this way.

For Seeing is Believing, Steele is turning a Wrekin Highway manhole cover into an art object using dip painting techniques to add new imagery to the surface and to bring out some of the design features of the cover.