Transport for London is set to launch its Art on the Underground programme this Saturday, the 9th of December with a brand new pocket Tube map by artist Joy Gregory, marking the 39th piece commissioned under the initiative.
Gregory has created a photographic collage in stunning rich tones celebrating over 100 years of London's transport network's cultivated gardens. The artwork will feature on the cover of the Tube map, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of London's iconic Tube map.
Since 2004, the pocket Tube map has seen two new artist-designed covers each year by artists such as Joy Labinjo, Larry Achiampong and Phyllida Barlow.
Gregory has been inspired by the ‘In Bloom' competition, which is an annual staff gardening contest held by Transport for London which recognises employees for their green-fingered work, especially in unexpected station-based environments.
Gregory has visited and documented a number of the gardens on the network and was particularly inspired by Morden station's garden with its impressive array of fruit and vegetables. The title of the final piece has been inspired by how the station's Customer Service Manager refers to the garden, ‘A Little Slice of Paradise'.
The artwork celebrates historical photographic techniques including ‘cyanotype', which involves the capture and imprint of an object laid on light-sensitive photography paper in blue tones. ‘A Little Slice of Paradise' sees the cyanotype image of chickweed juxtaposed digitally with camellias, dahlias and nasturtiums, all of which feature in Morden station's garden.
The new pocket Tube map is free and will be available from Saturday the 9th of December across all stations on the Transport for London network.
Joy Gregory, Artist, said:
“The most beautiful and rewarding part of working on this commission was seeing the positive impact these gardens had on the lives of people using the transportation system, as well as the pleasure it conveyed to the creators of these enchanting spaces and their colleagues.”
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, said:
“Our Tube stations are not just transport hubs, they are icons of design and each one has something that makes it special. Cultivated gardens on London's transport network are part of that rich tapestry and I want to thank artist Joy Gregory for merging past and present floral designs in the new pocket Tube map cover.”
“It is a wonderful daily reminder for all of us who travel on the Tube network of the effort and dedication TfL staff have put into maintaining these magnificent gardens. Thank you for making our commute more enjoyable, helping us build a greener and better London for all.”
Eleanor Pinfield, TfL's Head of Art on the Underground, said:
“Gregory has turned a spotlight on a fascinating part of TfL's history and a vibrant part of its contemporary life. Bringing the botanical to the front of the pocket Tube map, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, is a fitting tribute to TfL staff who nurture plants year-round. This new artwork is a poignant reminder of the care that staff bring to the spaces we use every day as we travel.”