“2020” – By Royal Seal of Approval Sculptor Graeme Hopper

It’s here! Our new sculpture – “2020” by Royal Seal of Approval Sculptor Graeme Hopper.

It’s here! After 12 months of planning, deliberation and changed decisions, we have finally taken delivery of our contemporary sculpture – “2020”, created by renowned artist Graeme Hopper.

The name 2020 is not only to celebrate the dawning of a brand new decade, but also stands for 2020 vision, or what is sometimes termed “perfect vision”. As registered optometrists we will always strive to get the best out of your eyes, but we also have an exciting vision of eye-care for the future.

Unveiled in front of a live Facebook Audience.

We feel that this spirit has been captured by “2020”. The unveiling took place on 20th December in front of a live Facebook audience. We are all absolutely delighted. The sculpture is based on a Tom Ford Design and built out of beaten steel. It has certainly proved eye catching.

We would like to thank all the lovely comments from friends, customers and passers-by. We were very conscious of the regeneration revolution sweeping across Whitley Bay. Our old wishing well was in a poor state of repair and, being lovers of art, we wanted to create something which would add to our community environment. It proved quite a challenge to find the right artist, as it’s not exactly your everyday kind of project. We spoke to our friend and architect Tim Bailey of Xcite Architecture, Newcastle.

Finding the right artist.

Tim gave a list of various artists and sculptors who may fit the bill, one
of whom was Graeme Hopper. Graeme is choosy about the projects which he undertakes, but this one excited him and he immediately invited us down to his home and studio at Helmington Row, County Durham.

We were met by his lovely wife Susan, in a beautiful farmhouse with a garden full of amazing sculptures. A short trip to his studio showed us the workings of The Forge. He was very keen to get us involved, and Judith was soon carving out shapes from the metal with a laser. We had seen enough!

His enthusiasm and vision persuaded us that this was the artist we wished to commission. He is renowned, especially in The Durham Area, for his iconic giant mushrooms which adorn the entrance to The Botanical Gardens. This work was unveiled by Royal Operatic Tenor Sir Thomas Allen, and has been widely acclaimed in artistic circles. Following the success of The Botanic Gardens project he was lucky enough to be introduced to Prince Charles. Graeme gifted a sculpture to The Prince which now forms part of the Charles Collection and earned Graeme a Royal Seal of Approval.

He has undertaken works for museums, universities, The Arts Council, architects and The Forestry Commission. So we had our man; now to The Design.

Selecting a design.

It would have to reflect our vision, so to speak. We are a practice that excels in providing boutique frames and works of art to fit the face. It would need to be a vision for the future, a journey into the next decade but also reflect the retro qualities of fine design. A giant pair of unique glasses seemed to fit the bill. A sculpture that would reflect our modern thinking, but also draw attention to the fact that we are Whitley Bay Opticians and here to look after your vision. It would need to be modern, but also in keeping with Monkseaton Village, a conservation area.

Several plans were hatched; what should the shape be? What colour? How big? It would need to be big enough to make a statement but small enough to not seem incongruous. Graeme took this all under his wing.

His attention to detail is second to none, even down to the exact hinge shape of the copied Tom Ford frame. There was much talk of the galvanising process and the lacquer to be used to create that beautiful lustred finish.

Graeme then had the idea of displaying the frames on a large packing crate, as if the glasses had just been imported to Robinson’s. He used reclaimed oak, suitably stained and finished, with a surrounding perimeter made from old railway sleepers. The gap between was filled with grey slate and the effect is staggering. We are now just waiting for the delicate up-lighting to be completed. He is also in the process of making a much smaller sculpture to the same pattern which will sit on top of our present signage; a piece that will link together the practice and the main sculpture.

We truly hope that you all enjoy this piece as much as we do, and that Whitley Bay continues on its amazing regeneration process.

Thank you Graeme Hopper for your incredible talent!