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If you’ve had a wander into your JCR in the past week or so, you may have noticed a new painting hanging on the wall depicting each of the nine colleges of Lancaster University in one bold statement piece. Each JCR and SCR was given a copy of the print, a commissioned piece by Chas Jacobs, a local artist whose work largely focuses on the local area. You may have even seen his postcard-sized prints of town and campus sold in the LUSU shop, both of which are copies of prints that were commissioned by the Lancaster University Management School (and are hanging in full size in the International Management School on campus). He also is the artist behind the mural commemorating the 50th Roses event, which you can see in the Sports Centre lobby.
Chas’ new print, titled Colleges of Lancaster University, depicts each of the nine colleges and includes a nuance particular to that college. For example, those in Graduate College might recognise the beloved Porter Nino in the corner, hanging out with Graduate College Administrator Jane Hulland! Pendle’s section shows the wooden walkway, which connects the Pendle Ghetto to Posh Pendle. County’s tree makes an appearance, along with Furness’ courtyard and the Bonington Step between Fylde and Furness. Like all of his work, ‘[s]trong primary colours, fluffy white clouds and often multi-coloured balloons’ litter the piece.
In fact, you’ll also notice the hot air balloon in the Bowland College frame, which is a personal touch of Chas’. He writes on his website, ‘I used to live on St George’s Quay in Lancaster and whilst painting one evening, a hot air balloon came floating down the river. I took a photograph and decided to use it in one of my pictures. Over the years, hot air balloons have become a constant in my work and people are often disappointed if I do not put any in a picture.’
What’s most striking about Chas’ work, perhaps, is the bold colours that have been moulded together to create his graphic masterpieces. According to his website, Chas started his work over 20 years ago, starting with watercolours and working his way up to acrylics, which is what is featured in his abstract pieces of Lancaster. Each painting can take about four to five layers of paint in order to get the perfect colour. Chas finds his inspiration in ‘the towns and landscapes of the North West of England; a unique and beautiful area including Morecambe Bay, the Forest of Bowland and the nearby Lake District in Cumbria as well as from his holidays in Devon, particularly Dartmouth, where his interest in boats, the sea and harbours are reflected in his work…’
You can find more of Chas’ work featured in galleries around England, including The Crescent Gallery (Morecambe), Town House Gallery (Morecambe), and Town House Gallery (Lancaster). Chas also has more of his work displayed in local schools, like the Torrisholme Community Primary School, where he has worked with painting murals with the children. As well, Chas has an annual exhibit every November at the Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park (you can take the 2A or 4 bus to Bowerham and simply follow the signs up the hill from there), and you can even see some of the artwork from the primary schools on display at the exhibition.