Commissioned by East Sussex County Councito create an art installation at Newhaven Library, Zaneta Belasicova chats to Your County about her plans for the Transparent project.

How did you hear about the Transparent project?

I found an artist call on artsjobs which is one of the websites for artists opportunities I check. But I know it was widely advertised on numerous websites.

How did the application process work?

I know that the council received an overwhelming amount of applications. At the end of January 2015, I had a phone call to say that I was one of three shortlisted artists.

Soon after that I received a full brief to produce a proposal. Before I started drawing any ideas I went to visit Newhaven and the library. The deadline for proposals was beginning of March 2015 and an interview was held at the Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven, where I presented my idea. And the following day I had results.

I remember that day well, as I tried to be busy and stay away from my computer and from checking my phone. By lunch time I had a few missed calls and I was scared to reply back. I did and I was told I got the project. I was so excited and afterwards when I hung up the phone I started jumping, but luckily no one saw that.

What appealed to you about the project?

Absolutely everything. The setting, it was my first commission for a library and in Newhaven. Library itself allows for many ideas and imagination. Also the fact that the artworks were going to be for windows, as I enjoyed my previous commission for Tottenham Hale Kidney and Diabetes Centre so much, I felt that I would love to continue designing artworks for windows.

Also Transparent Newhaven project offered a mentoring opportunity to the commissioned artist. This support could be used for anything the artist wanted to use it for to help improve their skills. I chose to get an artistic mentor who would help me with public engagement and workshops. I then found a brilliant mentor called Ashley McCormick and we have already successfully delivered two creative workshops in Newhaven Library. I am learning so much from Ashley, which I will also use in my future commissions.

Another thing that appealed to me about Transparent project was that it aims to document the whole creative process of designing and to share that with the wide public.

Initial ideas for Newhaven Library

Initial ideas for Newhaven Library

How does this differ from previous projects you’ve worked on?

This project is different. All my previous commissions were for healthcare and in London. It was really great to suddenly come to Newhaven, a small seaside town, and be outside of London and in the fresh air.

For every commission I have I work with user groups. Here I had the opportunity to design workshops for chosen age groups, whereas working on a hospital commission so far I have only worked with adult patients. For Transparent, I chose to work with children and families, as well as adults. This project, due to its nature, is also open to the public and we document and share the artistic process.

What can you tell us about your designs so far?

I was very clear from the beginning on what I was doing. That it was going to be a semi abstract landscape and townscape. They include Newhaven composed of patterns, which is a mixture of geometric and organic shapes – a colourful mess really!

The more you look, the more you see familiar landmarks or even new things. It is open to the viewers imagination. My designs are also functional, the colour palette works well with the interior and exterior of the library. The artworks are designed in a way that do not obstruct day light, as they are on north facing windows. Also they allow library users to see them from both inside and outside.

Sketch ideas for Newhaven Library

Sketch ideas for Newhaven Library

How did you come up with the ideas?

Ideas for the project came from reading the brief and also from visiting Newhaven, the library and talking to local people.

When I visited Newhaven the first time, it was winter, very windy, stormy and grey. On that day I had an idea of colour palette, I imagined bright colours that work across all seasons. A palette that is contemporary, that is inspired by the library and works well with the interior as well.

I thought of Jeff Koons’s mirror polished stainless steel sculptures that I saw in Centre Pompidou in December 2014. Also Chris Wood’s glass installations. I thought of landscape that is semi abstract, of patterns and shapes in the nature.

Even though I had many ideas for the subject matter, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to depict Newhaven as I love landscapes and townscapes. I always look for challenges and was thinking of different ways to capture the town keeping in mind the requirements of the project. Ideas came both from the town and the library.

How has Newhaven influenced your designs?

The amazing views from The Fort and the sea which is beautiful in every season. The new and old. When I look at Newhaven and see the changing colours and light on the hills, the sea, constantly changing weather – this is what I would like to capture. It is a bit like Turner or The Impressionists, but using vectorised shapes and patterns, layers of flat colours overlapping and playing with different opacities.

To see photos of Zaneta’s progress, visit Carlotta Luke