A crowd of figures, each made from a cigarette packet donated by people from Salford who made a pledge to quit smoking for good. The final work is installed in Salford Royal Hospital.
The figures make obvious reference to Lowry, firmly rooting the work in Salford but with a more modern feel; each one striding purposefully forward, with their heads held high, echoing the positive personal step that quitting smoking represents.
Each donated pack was pulped and carefully remoulded to represent each person made this commitment. The work focusses on the positive change that quitting smoking means to a person's life, rather than the negative messages about the risks of smoking with which we are more often bombarded and to which we have perhaps become numbed.
The inspiration for the figure was obvious. As a child I had a Lowry print on my bedroom wall and think about it often as a travel through Manchester, Salford and Lancashire - becoming ever more familiar with an area I moved to only a handful of years ago. To create the figure I visited the locations of some of Lowry's paintings and recorded the people who use the site. I then worked with illustrator Matthew Hollings to develop a design that looked how we wanted and that was sufficiently strong to be moulded and displayed.
It was important that each figure was made from one pack. The manufacturing process was, therefore, time consuming but simple - each packet was blended with 250ml of water before being pushed into a mould laser cut from acrylic. To ensure that there was no cross contamination, all the equipment was rinsed between each pack. While the process does require a bit of a knack, I think that it's something that a viewer can relate to and understand.
A film of the process was developed with Ben Lycett. Some photos by Ben Lycett.