Airports as Artports

Insta-wonders of the world

Four of the world’s most ‘Instagrammable’ street art pieces can now be seen at London Heathrow as the airport shares perfect picture moments and celebrates different cultures.

‘Instagrammability’ is a major motivating factor for travel-loving millennials around the world, and London Heathrow has innovatively capitalised on the opportunity.

The airport has recreated four of the world’s most ‘Instagrammable’ street art pieces, providing passengers with a shareable photo opportunity when starting their journey at Heathrow.

The street art campaign aims to bring the best of British and international culture to the airport. The original artworks on which the Heathrow recreations are based have been snapped, shared and liked hundreds of millions of times on Instagram including by famous fans like Halle Berry, Zach Braff and Gerard Butler, according to the airport.

The campaign brings together Colette Miller’s ‘Wings’ from Los Angeles, Rouge One’s (Bobby McNamara) ‘Floating Taxi’ from Glasgow, Alice Pasquini’s ‘Above the Lines’ from Rome, and Odeith’s ‘Anamorphic Frog’ from Lisbon.

Each piece measures between 10-16ft and encourages smartphone-photographers to be ‘part of the art’, following research that shows the majority of users think they generate more ‘likes’ by being ‘in’ an image themselves. Each artwork has been placed in terminals that fly to its original street art location, meaning select passengers can also go and see the original.

Heathrow is also hoping the street art campaign will make it the most Instagrammed airport in the world this year. According to a Globehunters data analysis looking at hashtag usage, Heathrow currently lies second in the Instagram stakes behind Incheon International Airport [see graphic on this page].

Passenger Caleb Koo plays in front of Rogue One’s ‘Floating Taxi’, which is one of the Glasgow’s most photographed pieces of street art

Some 30% of holidaymakers seek out trips with picturesque Instagram hotspots, according to independent research company Fly Research based on a survey of over 1,000 UK adults, with 60% finding their travel inspiration from Instagram.

The average person will take 25 selfies a day on their travels, according to the research. Amateur ‘phoneographers’ take an average 463 pictures on each trip and spend 43 minutes a day editing their best shots.

Heathrow is also hoping the street art campaign will make it the most Instagrammed airport in the world this year. “At a time of phenomenal change and opportunity, Heathrow is the UK’s front door to the world, connecting passengers to the wonder of travel across over 80 countries across the globe,” said Heathrow Airport Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker.

“Bringing some of the most Instagrammed street art from around the world into our terminals is our way of showing the accessibility of different cultures and wonders of the world through our airport, as well as giving passengers the perfect post moment to start their journey at Heathrow.”

Odeith’s ‘Anamorphic Frog’ creates a stunning optical illusion that serves as a dynamic photo backdrop for passengers travelling through Terminal 4

The artworks and artists

Wings, Colette Miller, Terminal 3

Colette Miller created the Global Angel Wings Project in 2012 on the streets of Los Angeles, the City of Angels. They were painted “to remind humanity that we are the angels of this earth”, the artist said. The interactive art allows people to take photos and become part of the artwork, as if they have wings. Since the first artwork in 2012, Miller has painted wings around the world including across the US, Australia, France, Japan, Cuba, Mexico, Kenya and now London.

“[The wings] represent our inner angel, and represent that even though we all come from scarred lives and can sometimes do the wrong thing, we are all human and we can all really be the good on this earth,” said Miller. “The wings can be seen across six continents, but it is the first time I have painted them in London, and it’s special that they are in Heathrow and bringing people from across the world into contact with them in one place.”

Floating Taxi, Rogue One, Terminal 5

Rogue One (real name Bobby McNamara) has work scattered all over Glasgow and there is even a mural trail that takes in all his works. The ‘Floating Taxi’ is his most famous and most Instagrammed artwork, depicting a man hailing a taxi floating with balloons on Mitchell Street in Glasgow.

“The original piece of street art depicted a floating taxi held up by balloons,” said Rogue One. “The building I painted the mural on in Glasgow was owned by a lady whose late husband had been a taxi driver, so I wanted this to be the theme and, subconsciously inspired by the movie Up, things went from there. It feels fitting to have been able to recreate it in Heathrow, and it’s an honour to have it there for so many people to see and hopefully appreciate each day.”

Alice Pasquini, Above the Lines, Terminal 2

Alice Pasquini’s street art revolves around topics of femininity and independent women, and her murals tell the stories of acts of kindness and love. ‘Above the Lines’ in Rome depicts three women jumping the height of a building and was painted to help raise funds for the town of Grisciano after it was hit by an earthquake.

“All of my work talks about people and their emotions,” said Pasquini. “I have always used walls like a canvas to represent intimate moments in public space. For Heathrow I wanted to represent a journey that was both real and imaginary. The girl jumps through a colourful space that invites passengers to do the same and join the scene. In this way, travel is both something physical and fantastical.”

Odeith, Anamorphic Frog, Terminal 4

Specialising in anamorphic graffiti, Portuguese artist Odeith uses perspective and shadow to create his own signature, obscure style that he calls Somber 3D. His ‘Anamorphic Frog’, which gives the illusion that it is creeping up on you, is one of the most Instagrammed artworks in Lisbon.

“I have always been fascinated by 3D paintings, and when I discovered a way of bringing graffiti and 3D together it opened up my life as an artist,” commented Odeith. “It’s an honour to recreate my work at Heathrow, and I think it’s an amazing way to show the best of the world’s street art to millions of people from all walks of life.”

The street art at Heathrow terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 departures, after security, will remain in place until the summer.

The world’s most Instagrammed airports

  1. Incheon International, South Korea
  2. London Heathrow, UK
  3. Amsterdam Schiphol, The Netherlands
  4. Moscow Sheremetyevo, Russia
  5. Tokyo Haneda, Japan
  6. Singapore Changi, Singapore
  7. London Gatwick, England
  8. Tokyo Narita, Japan
  9. Chicago O’Hare, USA
  10. DXB (Dubai International), UAE

The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 277 | 24 February 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 20 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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