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Bus Painters Embellish Liverpool Liveries

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

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The painting team at one of Europe’s largest bus and train transport services organizations has lent its skills to transforming three double-decker buses into mobile artworks.

The three buses in the Arriva public transport fleet received their new liveries as part of the Liverpool Biennial, the largest festival of contemporary art in the U.K., and with the support of HMG Paints, the Manchester-based coatings manufacturer announced.

HMG Paints, Arriva buses
Photos: HMG Paints

A paint team for transportation company Arriva collaborated with HMG Paints on three art buses for the Liverpool Biennial art festival, from left "Mrs. Muir," aka "Brick Bus"; “Hello Future Me,” aka "Space Bus"; and "Blaze."

“The three artist-designed buses are a significant commission for the Biennial, the city and its people,” said Sally Tallant, director of Liverpool Biennial.

“We are delighted to have worked with HMG Paints, who have been brilliant in bringing the artists' designs to life," she added. “The team has done a truly outstanding job.

The festival runs through Oct. 16.

A Team Effort

The Arriva St. Helens team took on the task of hand-painting three Arriva double-decker buses according to designs crafted by contemporary artists for the festival.

The painters had access to HMG Paints products, including a high solids 1K polyurethane alkyd designed for brush application, according to the paint and coatings maker.

HMG representatives worked closely with the Arriva St. Helens team, the Liverpool Biennial team and the designers throughout the creative process, specifying the most appropriate products and color matching for each of the designs, it added.

HMG Arriva buses and team

“Once again the Arriva team have shown they are one of the best in the business,” Martyn Binnington, HMG Paints’ general sales manager – CT & Distribution, said of the completed paint jobs.

“This was an exciting and challenging project, our painters enjoyed working with artists and HMG to produce three excellent results,” said Bodyshop Manager Dave White. He added that they appreciated the company’s “can-do attitude” and advice throughout the project.

A Student-Inspired Design

One of the buses for the festival, titled “Hello Future Me,” also known as the “Space Bus,” was designed by Year 7 students from Liverpool’s Childwall Sports and Science Academy. The pupils collaborated with London design studio Hato.

The pre-teen students’ bus design contains coded messages for the future of Liverpool, to be interpreted by its citizens, the studio indicated. The concept pays homage to messages taken on board NASA’s Voyager spacecraft in 1977, which contained sound and images depicting life on Earth.

Hato hosted a series of workshops with the students to develop the symbols to be used in the coded message. They created their own alphabet of symbols, based on activities they enjoy (skateboarding), people they are inspired by (Beyonce), and issues they encounter in daily life (bullying, politics), Biennial officials said.

For the "Space Bus," the paint team applied a coat of pink paint to the vehicle before using masking tape and graph paper to add the sybmols by hand. Custom vinyls were added to the glass windows to complete the design.

Students made use of a digital drawing tool to design their pictograms and future letterforms, which Hato used to create the blueprint for the Arriva bus painters.

When it was time to paint the bus, abrasive paper was used to remove the vehicle’s previous design, and, using the studio’s blueprint, the painters applied a coat of pink paint before adding the symbols by hand. Graph paper and masking tape were used to precisely position each symbol.

During a visit to the paint site, the pupils were able to check on the progress of their design, learn about the painting process, and try out the symbol painting process themselves, Biennial staff said.

In the final steps, custom vinyls were added to the glass, and “interpretation panels” were installed to the interior to help passengers decode the symbols and read the messages.

Bus Design Diversity

The second bus in the collection, designed by Liverpool-based artist Frances Disley, is called “Blaze.”

Disley was inspired by the story of Liverpool-born Eunice Huthart, the only contestant on 1990s televised action game-show Gladiators to become a “Gladiator” herself, according to the Biennial site.

This bus design integrates the artist as a painted character with the power to blend into her own artwork, festival officials explained.

A time-lapse video captures painters at work on the "Brick Bus," with the "Blaze" bus in progress in the background.

The final bus, “Mrs. Muir,” was designed by Portuguese artist Ana Jotta and disguises the vehicle in a solid brick pattern like that of a brick wall.

Also known as the “Brick Bus,” this design is said to represent the brick buildings Jotta saw when she came to Liverpool for the first time.

“Brick Bus” used an HMG Paints fast drying synthetic alkyd enamel designed to provide outstanding film hardness and toughness to protect the intricate design.

The team used an incredible 30 rolls of fine line tape to recreate the brick design in as realistic a manner as possible, the manufacturer added.

Brick Bus detail

The team used an incredible 30 rolls of fine line tape to recreate a realistic brick design for “Brick Bus,” which represents the brick buildings the artist saw on her first visit to Liverpool for the first time.

“Once again the Arriva team have shown they are one of the best in the business,” said Martyn Binnington, HMG Paints’ general sales manager – CT & Distribution.

“The team have managed to replicate the initial designs down to the smallest detail, especially on the ‘Brick Bus’; it is a remarkable achievement,” he added.

“The team deserve all the plaudits they have received for their hard work and, as a result, the three buses look outstanding.”


Tagged categories: Alkyd; Asia Pacific; Coating Application; Coating Materials; Coatings manufacturers; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); HMG Paints Ltd.; Latin America; Mass transit; North America; Polyurethane; Public Transit; Transportation

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