The Curious Incident of the Stag and the Trainline

The Curious Incident of the Stag and the Trainline

Making an exciting & accessible art installation along the Laal Ratty (Ravenglass & Eskdale railway) in the landscape of the Eskdale Valley

We did it!

On 18th Aug 2017 we successfully raised £2,785 of £2,000 target with 17 supporters in 42 days

The aim of the project is to make art accessible to children and families in West Cumbria, an area with limited arts engagement and infrequent opportunities.

I will be taking art out of the gallery situation, to an adventure in the landscape of the Eskdale valley. Artworks will spring up along the route of the Laal Ratty steam train (R&ER), a friendly and unintimidating environment to interact with art.

I hope to change children’s perspective on ‘boring paintings’ and to inspire them to take an interest in art, to observe, to learn, and to spark a desire to try out some unusual painting techniques themselves. 


Art in Extraordinary Places

In September 2017, top Cumbrian Arts Festival C-Art will return. My project has been selected to be part of the inventive “Art in Extraordinary Places” programme, which brings contemporary art to extraordinary and unusual locations throughout Cumbria. It will transform the landscape that runs alongside the Laal Ratty Steam train in the Eskdale valley (R&ER) into an outdoor exhibition space for the duration of C-Art festival. The thousands of passengers on the R&ER will experience the unexpected delight of seeing contemporary wildlife paintings hanging in their natural habitat from their seat in the train, as they journey up the valley.

Each passenger who boards the train will receive an eye-spy style leaflet designed to enhance the train journey-gallery experience. The aim is to encourage engagement amongst children and families, with an introduction to the characters in my paintings and a short story about each one. There will be digital interaction through links to videos showing how the paintings were created, and how they can have a go.


Who am I?

My name is Sarah Taylor; a visual artist based in West Cumbria.  I paint vibrant splashy contemporary images of wildlife & animals. I been exhibiting and selling my work since 2009, with a series of exhibitions in Cumbrian galleries. In 2015, I began working full time as an artist when I left my job, and threw everything into my art. 

My work isn’t just for those who can afford to splash out, I want to make it accessible and for people to experience it in unexpected places that contradict their ideas of an art gallery.  



Prior to becoming a full time artist, I worked as a product manager and have 5 years’ experience of running projects on time and within budget. Everything is in place to make this project work; from a detailed Gantt chart and project plan, to a heartfelt conviction and determination to bring this installation to life.


The story so far

When I read the invitation to apply for “Art in extraordinary Places” my initial thought, was wouldn’t it be cool to put some paintings out into the landscape for people to find. I love that kind of thing!

This idea quickly evolved into ‘How cool would it be to have some paintings pop up as you travel by train, so even if you’re not looking for the paintings on your journey, they will appear’.  

I began to think about the excitement of travelling by train as a child, and the delight of seeing something unexpected. My brainstorming lead me to the Laal Ratty. The perfect location to exhibit these works. The miniature steam train runs through the natural habitat of the animals in my paintings, it doesn’t go too fast, and it is a favourite with children and adults alike.


Where will this lead?

This project will be a completely new approach for me as an artist, it’s something that excites me immensely as it feels far more rewarding.  It will allow me to engage with a wider, more diverse audience; from young children and families to an older generation of over 60s all of whom may not usually visit art installations. I want this to be my springboard into future public art installations, to push my own limits and develop my ideas and skillset as an artist.


Where will the money go?

70% of the budget will go into converting my paintings into largescale weatherproof images that will withstand the worst the Cumbria weather will throw at them. They need to be large enough to see from a moving train, and sturdy enough to last the 2 weeks. 20% of the budget will go towards framing , and the remining 10% is covers installation costs such as fixing and transportation.



There are a variety of different supporter's rewards on offer, from discounted Ratty tickets to exclusive limited edition hand-finished prints featuring 24ct gold. There are only 10 of these available; each will be individual, as i will be adding geometric details and gold leaf by hand,  to the 50cm prints so it's a very short exclusive run of collectable artworks.

I also have 30 limited edition prints at 50cm square, and some lovely mounted prints that will not be available on my online shop. I painted this stag exclusively for the C-Art festival, so it will not be around in any galleries, nor online stores. 

I am also offering a framed print option, and stunning 32" canvas print, both of which are exclusive to this project so the only place you can get them from is here!


There is also the possibility of taking home one of the large scale installations, if you have somewhere  to make a huge statement!

 All supporters will recieve a discount code for the Laal Ratty, for use during the exhibition, this will be sent out via email in the run up to the event. All artworks will be shipped after the event in October. 



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