Artist Clare Harper, who works at builders merchant Boys & Boden, was one of only four finalists in the Print, Design and Marketing Awards 2017.
Based in Mid Wales, Boys & Boden runs DIY and plumbing branches in Chester, Newtown, Llandrindod Wells, Welshpool and Shrewsbury. It also owns staircase company Pear Stairs, for which Harper created her designs.
She was nominated in the Wide and Super-Wide Format category for her transformation of Pear Stairs’ delivery vehicles. When the company acquired its own fleet, Harper was handed an open brief to produce a livery. She came up with a range of surreal designs that give a massive pear-shaped twist to a host of iconic paintings.
The theme was initially inspired by MC Escher’s engraving Relativity with its never-ending impossible staircase. Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Rene Magritte’s Son of Man and Damien Hirst’s A Pear Divided are just a few examples of the works given the Pear Stairs twist, along with Salvador Dali’s famous melting clocks – or rather, pears – and even Munch’s The Scream. There is also an entire vehicle devoted to a tribute to Heironymus Bosch.
The designs were printed at eye-popping proportions on to vinyl lorry curtains by specialist manufacturer Structure-flex Ltd, which was also nominated for the award. Although Harper was ultimately pipped to the post by another entrant, her inspired creations were highly commended by the judging panel.
She said: “There are not that many times in an artist’s career where the client says, ‘Do anything you want as long as it’s amazing.’ It’s exhilarating and daunting at the same time. So when I heard those magic words I ran with them.
“The best ideas are the ones that snowball. Every image inspires another and the concept grows out of itself – that’s when I know I am producing my best art. It’s a privilege and a joy to work for someone who shows such faith in my abilities.”