Shore thing: Great Yarmouth artist uses the Golden Mile for inspiration and creates 6ft hotdog man
PUBLISHED: 17:47 18 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:47 18 July 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Meet the artist whose latest work is inspired by Great Yarmouth's amusement arcades, candyfloss and doughnut stalls, fairground rides and circus. She's even created her own six foot tall Hotdog Man and taken him for a day out at the seaside.
Artist Gabbi Minas really does love to be beside the seaside - so much so that she's captured the essence of her beloved Great Yarmouth's Golden Mile in her latest work.
In addition to a range of prints she has created which are inspired by the town's seafront, she has also crafted her very own 6ft tall Hotdog Man, a replica of the seafront icon who somewhat sinisterly is seen covering himself in ketchup prior to being eaten.
Gabbi, 23, who graduated from the Norwich University of the Arts with a First Class Honours last year, moved to Yarmouth when she was five and still considers the seaside town to be home, although she moved to Norwich four years ago.
"I love Yarmouth - people always tell me that I should work for the Yarmouth Tourism Board because I love it so much! There are problems that the town faces, but there is so much vibrancy and positivity in the town and it's probably the most multi-cultural place in the county, a real mix of nationalities and different communities which makes it exciting," she said.
"As an artist, I find the seafront really inspires me - all those colours and textures and things to see. My first ever job was on the seafront on a doughnut stall and it's been part of my life for so long that it made sense to me to include it in my art and record it in some way."
In addition to her giant hotdog sculpture (and there's a large Doughnut Man to match), Gabbi has also created a series of prints which mirror the colourful carpets that can be seen in the seafront arcades - the shooting stars of the Silver Slipper carpet, the abstract pink, green and yellow shards of The Mint, the flamboyant pink birds of The Flamingo, the pink and green candy striped tents from Circus Circus.
"I couldn't bear the thought that one day, when these carpets are removed, they might be forgotten, because they are so wonderful," she said, "I love the chaos and the frenzy of it all, these works of art in the middle of all the flashing lights and noise."
She has captured seaside rock making, the Winter Gardens, rides from Great Yarmouth Pleasurebeach, the famous Snail ride, the Hippodrome Circus's clown car which patrols the seafront advertising the show, amusement arcade games and the infamous Richard of Di Mascio's Ices, who can always be found by the port, regardless of the season.
There are seagulls and the packets of chips they covet, Britannia Pier's Dracula, the log flume, ice creams, clay models of seafront characters, the horse and carriages, postcards and novelty magnets and forgotten ghosts from the past are brought to life: the building which houses the USA Fried Chicken and Pizza shop retains beautiful lights on its façade, two blue fish leaping towards a sunset and a wizard that used to grace Magic City's signage are remembered.
But it was the foam-based giant Hotdog that was the most ambitious project of all.
"I am the first to admit that I am a little bit obsessed with Hotdog Man and the fact that he represents a culture borrowed from America and yet sums up Yarmouth seafront so well, the fun, the exaggeration, the fact that everything here has to be so bold to capture tourist's attention," said Gabbi.
"I started out making a small clay model but I'd dabbled in sculpture before and decided that it had to be done. It took a long time and wasn't easy, but the feeling of achievement when he was finished was amazing. After my degree show, I took him on a trip to Yarmouth for a photo shoot and had some very strange looks as I dragged him around on a trolley!"
Hotdog Man is currently in the care of Gabbi's brother and resides in a cupboard, waiting for his next personal appearance.
In September, Gabbi will be the London-based House of Illustration's Schools Illustrator in Residence, spending time working with children in a North London school for three months and she will also be running her art and design workshops for all ages and abilities and continuing her work with independent community artists and local arts organisations.
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She regularly works with Norwich-based Print to the People as a support tutor on the screen-printing and letterpress course, sells her work at fairs and markets and would love to work on community art projects in Yarmouth in the future.
* For more information about Gabbi's work visit www.gabbiminas.com or her Instagram page @gabbiminasillustration.