Last month a series of mysterious artworks started to appear around town catching the attention of tourists and locals alike. These bold text-based pieces brightened up the corners of Blackpool with messages of hope and words of wisdom about living after experiencing trauma and loss. With a little help from the creative community I managed to track down the artist and speak to her about her work. In the first of two pieces for altBlackpool I talk to The Fandangoe Kid about her special connect to the town.
What brought you to Blackpool?
A lot of my work looks at ancestry and legacy. My dad was born in Blackpool in 1940 and lived on Fairhurst Street in his grandma’s house. In 2011, I lost almost all my family in an accident, followed by my dad in 2016, my work seeks to understand what I come from, looking at anecdotal tales of family, unity, strength and shifting perceptions of the world as we pass through generations.
I wanted to come back to the town he was born in as a bit of an homage to my dear dad, it’s part of the way I process my grief and it feels like shedding layers, while also (hopefully) putting something good and accessible out into the world for other people coping with loss/trauma/bereavement.
What did you think of the town?
I love Blackpool! I’ve been coming there since I was a kid, the energy is like nowhere else in the UK. It’s like a British Coney Island! The people, the glitz. And of course, all the tales from my ancestors- my grandparents met in the Tower Ballroom, my dad used to parade himself up and down the promenade as a young man, wearing immaculate outfits with two tone shoes, dancing and charming the ladies! I just love it there, whenever I come back I feel like I can transport myself back to those days and imagine the glory of it all!
Did you know what work you were going to put up when you got here?
Yes, it had long been in my plans. Losing my dad has been a huge thing for me to handle, as it came with facing the loss of everything I come from, my mum and my sister having been killed in an accident five year previously. I have been working on finding my place in the world since I lost them. My work is integral to me doing this: when you come from such strong characters and then suddenly you’re navigating the world by yourself, it really pushes you to think about what you want to carry forward and really try to understand what you come from and what legacy means for you.
How did you pick the locations?
Well, we wanted to do something that was not too far from my dad’s old neighbourhood. We met the amazing people in the cafe where the work was put up and from that moment, everyone was just so friendly, interested in the project and just kind and caring. The cafe owner said we could put our work up there and one of the customers even helped me carry the bucket of glue to paste up the piece-it was special!
Will you be coming back to Blackpool soon?
I would absolutely LOVE to. My dream is to make and install something permanent that looks like the Comedy Carpet, but which tells my stories of ancestry and legacy, as a true ode to my dear dad, and family. I feel such a connection to the town and I could almost feel my ancestors smiling if I were to have a permanent piece there!
By Laura Shevaun Green, with thanks to Matthew Jones.
Photographs courtesy of The Fandangoe Kid.
For more information about Fandangoe Kid:
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