Pear Stairs artist Clare Harper has been shortlisted in the Wide & Super-Wide Format category of the Print, Design & Marketing Awards 2017 for her work on our stunning lorry curtains. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in London on June 29.

When the company bought its own fleet of vehicles Clare was given an open brief by managing director Dean Hammond to create a livery, and seized the opportunity to produce something extraordinary. She came up with a range of surreal designs that give a massive pear-shaped twist to a host of iconic paintings. 

The theme was initially inspired by MC Escher’s engraving Relativity with its never-ending impossible staircase, combined with a nod to Magritte’s Golconda (but raining pears instead of men!). Clare’s aim was to arouse curiosity by making the images both obvious and obscure simultaneously, provoking a second look to see exactly what was being advertised. Although there are pears and stairs everywhere on the canvasses, any reference to our name is subtly woven into the image so the viewer must look for it.

Great works of art were developed with a “pear” theme and transferred at eye-popping proportions on to PVC coated polyester. This material carries deep, saturated colours to perfection, creating truly unforgettable images that have attracted a lot of attention on motorways across the UK.

Clare with Pear Stairs lorry

Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Rene Magritte’s Son of Man and Damien Hirst’s A Pear Divided are just a few examples of works given the Pear Stairs twist, along with Salvador Dali’s famous melting clocks – or rather, pears – and even Munch’s The Scream. An entire lorry is devoted to a tribute to Heironymus Bosch where, after enjoying themselves in the Garden of Earthly Delights, some of the pears can be seen getting their just desserts!

Pear Stairs lorry

The designs were printed by Structure-flex Ltd – a leading manufacturer of tension curtains – which is also nominated for the award. The company prides itself on the accurate transfer of a client’s design onto the curtain surface, perfectly bringing the pieces to life.

Clare, who studied at Central St Martins in London, said: “There are not that many times in an artist’s career where the client says, ‘Do anything you want as long as it’s amazing.’ It’s exhilarating and daunting at the same time. So when I heard those magic words I ran with them. The best ideas are the ones that snowball. Every image inspires another and the concept grows out of itself – that’s when I know I am producing my best art. It’s a privilege and a joy to work for someone who shows such faith in my abilities.”

Richard Orr, project manager at parent company Boys & Boden, added: “These designs are as fun as they are beautiful. So rarely do we see works of art in this context – these vehicles instil a sense of humour that is heightened by the unusual setting. The designs are so detailed they have you walking around the vehicle trying to spot every little element and homage; nothing is more satisfying than spotting references to popular culture, especially when it has a clever twist.

"As well as being incredibly detailed and precise, the artist has managed to make these designs work on a large scale by producing something that is well balanced compositionally. In these works the printers had the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their technical quality. The end result is something truly striking.”

Pear Stairs lorry

So keep an eye out for these stunning vehicles as they criss-cross the country. And of course, if you order a staircase, one of these mobile works of art could turn up on your doorstep – a great reflection of the flair, originality, craftsmanship and, frankly, sheer class for which Pear Stairs is renowned.

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