Luke Jerram’s multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. Living in the UK but working internationally for 20 years, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the globe.
Jerram has a set of different narratives that make up his practice which are developing in parallel with one another. He is known worldwide for his large scale public artworks. Since 2008 his celebrated street pianos installation ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ has been presented in over 50 cities and been enjoyed by more than 10 million people worldwide. Launched by the French Minister of Culture in Paris and Mayor Bloomberg in NYC, the installation has received press coverage in almost every newspaper and television station around the globe. This installation triggered a global movement of pianos being installed in public places across the world by organisations and individuals, for people to play.
His giant installation Park and Slide caught the public’s imagination, creating 500 news stories reaching an estimated 1 billion people worldwide. As a consequence of the success of this artwork, several commercial companies sprung up (not affiliated with Luke Jerram), installing temporary slides in cities of America, Europe and Australia. Hundreds of thousands of pounds, have also been raised by charities touring their own urban slides across the UK.
Jerram’s Glass Microbiology artworks are in museum collections around the world including The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Shanghai Museum of Glass, Wellcome Collection (London) and Corning Museum of Glass (USA). In 2010 Jerram won the coveted Rakow Award for this work and a fellowship at the Museum of Glass, Washington. In 2015 his sculptures were presented alongside the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the Artscience Museum, Singapore. Jerram’s sculptures are also respected in the scientific community with features in The Lancet, Scientific American, BMJ and on the front cover of Nature Magazine.
The Sky Orchestra is another critically acclaimed large scale touring project, which grew out of Europe’s largest arts award – a three year NESTA Fellowship. In 2013 they flew over Derry/Londonderry for UK City of Culture. In 2011 the Mayor of London and LIFT commissioned Sky Orchestra to fly over London to celebrate the Olympics. In 2007 they launched the Sydney Festival and in 2006 they were commissioned by the RSC and Fierce to fly over Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Jerram has also created unusual gift artworks for his friends and family. In 2006 he made a Talking Engagement Ring for his girlfriend. The ring has his proposal etched onto the outside of it which can be played back using a miniature record player. In 2011, the Talking Ring project was presented at MOMA, Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
Jerram builds and manages specialist teams of engineers, craftsmen and technicians to help him realise his works. From composers to glassblowers, medieval musicologists to hot air balloonists. In this way, he says “I’m only limited by my imagination in what can be produced. Anything is possible.”
Jerram’s ongoing research of perception is fueled by the fact that he is colour-blind. He studies the qualities of space and perception in extreme locations, from the freezing forests of Lapland to the sand dunes of the Sahara desert. New ways of seeing and new artworks emerge from these research field trips. Works such as Retinal Memory Volume, Sky Orchestra and his Glass Microbiology series have emerged from Jerram exploring the edges of perception. Published by The Watershed, ‘Art in Mind’ is a book written by Jerram that tracks much of his early perceptual research.
Many different organisations have commissioned Luke’s work over the years. These include: Royal Shakespeare Company, Pan Am Games, Sydney Festival, The United Nations, UK Space Agency, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, LIFT, The Mayor of London, ICA, Arnolfini, Watershed, National Trust, Commonwealth Games, UK City of Culture, European Capital of Culture, Art Centre Melbourne, Jerwood Centre, Witte de With, City of London Festival. Find out more
Many academic and scientific organisations have also commissioned Luke’s work. These include: Wellcome Trust, Pirbright Institute, University of Salford, University of Sheffield, Phaeno Science Museum, Singapore ArtScience Museum, Bristol and Bath Science Park, ISVR University of Southampton.
Jerram also works as a creative consultant where he feels confident in applying his creativity to any new situation. In 2007 his presentation in London to the DCSF helped secure £0.5million of funding for interactive exhibits in Bideford school. Clients include RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company), the Wellcome Trust, Channel4 and the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company). Launched by the Queen of England in 2010 the RSC Gallery led from this consultancy work.
In 2000 Jerram taught in war torn Mostar, Bosnia and he continues to teach and lecture both in the UK and abroad. His most notable lectures include those at The European Space Agency, The Banff Centre, ROM – Royal Ontario Museum, ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art, Corning Museum, Wellcome Collection, Royal Collage of Art, The Ruskin School of Art, University of Washington, Nagoya University.
Luke Jerram lives in Bristol UK with his wife and two children.