The latest in the series of vibrant public art installations overtaking Kensington + Chelsea’s empty retail spaces has been unveiled today. The next of the High Street Windows is presented by London-based artist LUAP, who transforms the All Saints storefront in Notting Hill.
Commissioned by The Kensington and Chelsea Council and presented by the organisers of Kensington + Chelsea Art Week, the High Street Windows project is a set of visual art interventions taking place in empty storefronts throughout the borough. The aim is to engage passers-by in a celebration of culture and creativity with empty stores turned into public artworks dealing with important current issues.
The commission titled ‘Good Vibrations’ is from multi-disciplinary artist Paul Robinson, known professionally as Luap. He has transformed the windows of the disused All Saints store on Westbourne Grove with a thought provoking piece that addresses issues around mental health and wellbeing.
LUAP wants to share his difficult personal experience with mental health in the hope that he can inspire others not to feel so alone and to seek help when help is needed. His campaign also supports CALM, the mental health charity which runs a suicide helpline.
An adult-size Pink Bear features in almost all the work by LUAP; it acts as his alter ego, muse and model, his escape and a bridge to dealing with mental health issues. In ‘Good Vibrations’ the artist presents the Pink Bear standing alone in a forest.
“We then had another session where I visualised and drew the tree I wanted to be… And so I shed my negativity and embraced positivity. As my branches spread and my leaves sprouted, I grew a bridge to connection, enabled by nature. I hope this work will be able to help others to find solace. Hopefully, it brings some positive energy.”
The artist describes how nature inspired his recovery from adult loneliness and depression.”Initially, it all started with a single tree photographed in diverse environments, then superimposed on wallpaper invoked from my childhood. It reflected me and my mood. Drifting, guarded, isolated, a solitary tree in a forest surrounded by trees,” he continues “I have the feeling many of us feel like an isolated tree in a forest full of people. The pandemic has only served to expose this harsh truth ever more.”
Disconnected from people around him, in his younger years, LUAP was diagnosed with dissociative disorder. As he entered adulthood his depression deepened and with it the vast disconnect. Upon discovering Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) he was able to explore his mental health issues with a therapist; she turned on a different light when she asked him to draw a tree or three to represent emotions or people in his life, how he felt.
Organiser Vestalia Chilton comments, “LUAP’s work is so relevant at a time when the population has been through such a traumatic twelve months. It is hopeful, inspiring and it reminds us of how isolated some have felt this past year. We hope that it resonates locally and reminds people that although we may feel isolated we are surrounded by likeminded souls.”