Doncaster artist Karis creates a buzz..

Karis with her bee in Manchester
Karis with her bee in Manchester

Artist Karis Lambert will have her latest work viewed by thousands of people, in a prolific spot within the city of Manchester.

Artist Karis Lambert will have her latest work viewed by thousands of people, in a prolific spot close to the centre of the city of Manchester.

Karis with her unpainted 'bee'

Karis with her unpainted 'bee'

The former Hall Cross School pupil, of Cantley, was commissioned to join the celebrated Bee in the City public art event, with her work now showing, and on display until September 23.

‘Bee in the City’ is an art trail based all around Manchester city centre, organised by Wild in Art.

It comprises 100 plus bees created by local and national artists, with 125 smaller bees fashioned by local schools.

All the bees celebrate Manchester - from its music scene to its industrial roots.

Karis, 24, explained: “My design, called Steam Powered Bee, shows the industrial roots of Manchester, aka ‘Cottonopolis’.

It explores similarities between worker bees and northern British citizens – both being hard-working, productive and community-orientated.”

She was inspired by the industrial roots of Manchester when she re-visited her favourite museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Textiles Gallery in particular.

There she saw a demonstration of the cotton spinning machines.

“I wanted to represent this history of ‘Cottonopolis’ so incorporated steam engines and cotton spinning machines in my steampunk-influenced design,” said Karis.

“I wanted to make the bee look as though it could almost function as a machine, so I gave it a metallic texture whilst keeping a clean, cartoony style.”

It took 128 hours to complete all together and Karis worked hard on her bee over a period of six weeks.

She fitted the artwork around her busy day job as a marketing and communication manager for Pop My Mind, a business that connects brands with artistic talents.

The bee’s base colour is metallic spray paint, which Karis then sponged with acrylic in different shades of bronze and silver over the top to give it a rusty metal texture.

The details are painted with acrylic and marker pens.

Now living and working from Stockport Karis has a “halfway house” in Doncaster with her parents, as she visits frequently to see family and friends,

Karis is a freelance artist in her own time, specialising in ink paintings and portraiture.

She studied fine art at Lancaster University and fills her free time with a variety of arty pursuits.

“I’m part of an illustration collective called Big Brown Eyes that I formed with my twin, Freya, and my older sister Emily,” she said.

“We make comic books and illustrated books that we self-publish then sell with jewellery we make too, at comic book fairs and events around the country.

“We sell mainly in Newcastle, Manchester, York and Leeds.”

She continued: “I love my job as I’m in direct contact with different artists.

“I got to know about Bee in the City at a networking event I attended for work, and was very excited to receive a commission.

“Businesses from across Manchester were able to select designs that they would like to sponsor and represent their business.

“I honestly didn’t think that mine would get chosen. I was thrilled that Biffa waste management company liked my work.

“There are so many amazing designs. Mine is out there on Castle Street, quite close to the train station and it’s a busy area. I hope people like it.

“There are few opportunities for artists to get their work out there and even fewer where you are compensated for it so this is great.

“We need many more opportunities like this for artists.”

She continued: “I think art is uplifting and it brings communities together too....people stop and take notice, discuss the artwork and take photographs.

“It’s lovely to see families out there enjoying what the city has to offer.”

She added: “It took me a lot longer to complete the bee than I imagined at the outset, but I enjoyed the whole process, and met many other lovely people who were working on bees too.”

Karis specialises in ink painting and in her work often explores perceptions of the self, through distorted, highly detailed portraiture.

Her influences are mainly from glitch art, collage techniques and surrealism, she added.

Wild in Art and Manchester City Council aim to bring all of Manchester’s communities together for Bee in the City, hailed as one of the most spectacular public art events the city has ever hosted.

The free, family-fun trail takes in the city’s landmarks and undiscovered gems, with each Bee designed by a different artist and celebrating the rich culture and unique buzz of Manchester.