A little art magic hits roundabout

5:30am Monday 31st March 2014

By Dominic Gilbert

THE Magic Roundabout was transformed into a work of art yesterday as a local artist took control of the billboard that towers above the famous landmark.

Kembrey Park allowed Katie Bright, a 34-year-old artist originally from Covingham, to use the board for the weekend to display her latest work, called Tragic Kingdom.

Sunday morning travellers had a surprise as Katie projected an image of herself in character as Katie Brightside at the crack of dawn.

Katie was thrilled to have the opportunity. She said: “It is quite interesting seeing something other than advertising up on the billboard.”

Katie left Swindon when she was 19 to study in London, before spending 10 years working in Australia.

She said: “I came back to London to do my Masters, which was always an ambition of mine. I had to move back to Swindon after my dad passed away, so for the last year I have been living back here with my mum and travelling to London for uni a couple of days a week.

“I was surprised to see that they had moved the old art college from Euclid Street, and I feel like the area has lost that sense of community in the town centre as a result.

“Often when you find artists move out of an area you lose that lustre. You need artists to be working on projects around the area to make it that little more interesting.”

Katie wanted to do something a little bit different, and played on the link between Swindon and Disneyland that was established in 2009.

“That billboard has been there since I was born and it really grabs your attention,” she said.

“While living away from England I realised that Swindon is famous for the Magic Roundabout. Those billboards are about showcasing aspirations and dreams, and the character I have created is modelled on fairytale characters like Snow White and real people like Marilyn Monroe.

“The whole piece is around fairytales, and is based around the fact that Swindon was twinned with Disneyland a few years ago. That became a bit of a joke, in the same way a lot of people use Swindon as the butt of their comedy.

“When I started with the piece of work I wanted it to be about childhood narratives alongside adult sexual society.

“I think people will probably be very confused by the whole thing and why I am doing it, but there is a whole body of reasons why.”

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