A British designer who grew up in a desolate coastal town in South-West England has created a series of unexpected tributes to, what he calls, the “thin drizzle of disappointment” that is the British coast.
Long before discount airlines roamed the skies transporting Brits to sunny beaches around the Mediterranean, they would celebrate a well-earned holiday in one of Britain’s many seaside towns. Looking at vintage posters from the 1920s touting holidays in British resort towns, you’ll see they show a glamorous and rose-tinted vision of the coast. But times have changed and many seaside resorts have been in decline and decay, portraying a sad image compared to their former glory.
Artist Jack Hurley, who grew up on the coast but now lives in Leeds, has created a postcard series in a similar style as those glamorous posters of the early 20th century, called Rubbish Seaside. The images show the British coast, but in a somewhat ‘different’ light. Cities like Blackpool, Yarmouth and Morecambe show drunkards roaming the grey streets. Other towns are exhibited with beached whales, decaying power stations, vulgar grafitti and violent attacks. Even the shoreline hipsters of Brighton are not spared. But the artist says his work is actually an affectionate tribute to the coast and all its mediocrity, and he actually has a great deal of love for the seaside and that it wasn’t a bad place to grow up. But the glorious image of the British coast that is apparently still widespread, is simply not true any more, according to Hurley.
Since the release of the series reactions were mixed, especially from coastal natives and local press of the targeted coastal towns. At the same time, the artist was amazed by the requests he received of people stressing the foulness of their coastal hometowns with a real sense of pride.
The British coast seems to be attracting more attention recently. Last month, The Guardian wrote an article on the apparent slow rejuvenation of some coastal towns. Will the British resorts bounce back to their former glory or will these postcards keep portraying a ‘true’ image?