Tom Benkendorff with his 150th banner, which is now hanging in the art gallery.
Tom Benkendorff with his 150th banner, which is now hanging in the art gallery. Emma Channon

Birthday banner hits the streets

THE news of Warwick’s 150th birthday officially hit the streets yesterday, when a series of banners was unveiled around town.

After five months of hard work, local artist Tom Benkendorff proudly revealed his large digital banner in its home at the Warwick Art Gallery.

The artwork – which is a blend of photographs and sketches by Mr Benkendorff – depicts iconic Warwick scenes, both historic and modern.

Mr Benkendorff, who is known for his sculptures, paintings and drawings, said he had done digital banners previously but not to this scale.

He took 200 photos and did 60 drawings to use for the piece and said it was a great feeling to have it on the walls of the gallery.

“Because it’s such a large banner, the photos had to be blown up to a huge size and the files were really slow to work with (on the computer),” he said.

“No-one I know of has done digital work of this scale.”

A huge amount of attention to detail went into the work, which included colouring in pixels on the computer screen one-by-one.

Using a mix of both photographs and sketches was also a challenge, as Mr Benkendorff had to work to blend them with one another.

“When you enlarge a photo it becomes pixelated and looks blurry, so I had to work to soften the edges of the different pictures,” he said.

“I also changed the face of the sketches so they had a different texture too.”

Mr Benkendorff said a couple of textures came by accident, including the cream background in one area at the top of the banner.

“That section I did when I was scanning in a photo and I accidentally scanned my arm,” he said.

“The image that came up was my woollen jumper and I thought the texture looked great, so I added it in anyway.”

An image of a girl milking a cow was especially vivid and viewers would be surprised to learn it was a drawing and not a photograph.

The banner was printed by Zooma Signs and will hang in the Warwick Art Gallery until June 19.



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