With Wimbledon beginning and the sun in full beam, we can already smell the freshly cut grass and juicy strawberries filling the air. Whether you’re flocking to Centre Court, Henman Hill (Murray Mound as it is more recently dubbed) or watching it on the television, it’s hard not to marvel at the vibrant greens of Wimbledon’s immaculate lawns. The revered turf is tended to year round by a dedicated team of staff, making sure each blade is in top condition, 8mm in length and the perfect hue for when the world turn their eyes to London for this global sporting event.
Celebrated at the 2008 Wimbledon tournament, artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey manipulate grass to create amazing exposure photographs. This piece featured Tara Moore, who competed in the qualifying tournament, Lizzie May, a coach for the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative, and Eddie Seaward, the head groundsman at Wimbledon at the time. To create the portraits, the artists beam the photographic negatives onto a wall of grass seeds, which allows the grass exposed to the light to photosynthesise, becoming lush and green, whilst the shadowed areas remain yellow, creating an organic living photograph. Quite incredible!
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event still played on grass courts and, given that the British have a long-standing love affair with the flawless courts, it is unsurprising we all hang up our bunting for this quintessentially British event. The stats say that we Brits fork out a whopping £400million on lawn care every year on average, in pursuit of a lavish lawn as exemplified by Wimbledon’s seamless spread. But the statement stripe isn’t the only way to go when it comes to cutting the grass, and these artists and creatives have really pushed the lawnmower out…
Another remarkable artist utilising grass as a creative medium is Lucy Strachan, who makes wondrous grass sculptures which play with ideas of the traditional stately garden. Paying homage to sculpted topiary, she creates dreamlike landscapes that seem to sink into and intersect the normal world, adding a fun and playful spin on a traditional lawn-scape.
The history of ‘Grass Art’ primarily resided in stately gardens, with the well-kept lawn and shaped topiary being a show of wealth, as the cost of such maintenance was not achievable for the average household. However, 1830 brought about a change in the lawn status with the invention of the first mechanical lawnmower by Edwin Budding. The versatile material of grass could now be wielded at our will into all manner of possibilities, and wonderfully imaginative grass art can now be found in public parks, exhibitions, festivals and even your neighbour's front garden!
The seamless nature of grass works beautifully to create fantastical landscapes. Another surrealist approach to lawn sculpting comes from artist Mehmet Ali Uysal who created this mind-bending manipulation of the natural world, making the lawn appear as if it is pinched by a giant peg - makes you think twice when you’re pegging out your washing!
But it isn’t just practising artists who have done bizarre things with the common lawn…
Tania Ledger, an art fanatic gardener, has had the Mona Lisa mowed into her lawn in Croydon using a lawn mower and a small selection of gardening tools. Breaking the mould of the suburban lawn, Ledger has proven that anything can be used as a canvas with a little bit of imagination. Whether it be the Mona Lisa, an abstract masterpiece, or a picture of your beloved pet, upgrade your mundane front garden with some wonderful grass art!
If you're stuck for ideas on how to bring more creativity into your life, Social Studio is here to help. Ignite your imagination and let us inspire you into seeing the world as a canvas! We will give you the artistic energy to apply to any project you set your mind to, even mowing the lawn. Look out for our upcoming event dates.