Approved: 16.08.2006

Jo Fairfax


Approved: 16.08.2006
  • Location: Harby, East Midlands
  • Artforms: Sculpture

Artist Statement

Since 1995 I have worked as a public artist. My practice is varied. I light buildings, make public sculptures, sculptural seating, integrate poetry, make digital films, create holograms, make virtual reality artworks, design costumes and lighting for dance, produce architectural glass, and automata. I have recently started working with a software engineer on permanent interactive film projections and interactive wall of tiles. I work with different experts in ‘flexible clusters of expertise’ so that I can create a wide range of pieces that are site specific in content and medium.


I trained in Holography at the Royal College of Art, London. I learnt how to make holographic animations at the Holocentre, New York during an International Residency. I was awarded the NESTA Dream Time Fellowship to develop virtual reality as a public artform. I was shortlisted for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Artists taking the lead competition.


Other than the NESTA Award I have received ten Arts Council Awards, The Wingate Scholarship Award, The New Technologies Award and the Oxford Film and Video Award twice.


I was a panel member on the Vital Sparks Awards for Creative Scotland.


I am one of the ADVANCE course co leaders to encourage young creative entrepreneurs to set up business as creative practitioners.


2012 ongoing - Board Director for OPUN whose aim is to: Promote the creation of better quality neighbourhoods, buildings and public spaces across the region. Currently setting up a Creative Development Programme for artists and architects to work together on projects.


Practice profile in Blueprint.   


Practice profile in Total Lighting.


Visiting lecturer at Nottingham University Architecture course. 2010 - 2014. 3rd to 6th years.


Selected Projects


2004        Sculptural lighting of Persistence Works in Sheffield. Nominated for the Prime Ministers Building of the Year and commended by the Civic Trust.

2005        Designed the new Market Square for Chester-le-Street, County Durham which was nominated for 3 architectural awards and featured in Brauns ‘Set in Stone’ a survey of innovative light projects across Europe and 1000 X European Architecture.

2008       ‘Star Light’. Sculptural lighting for the Sage Music Centre car park lift.

2011        I illuminated Northampton Market Square including a permanently looped film exterior projection on

                the new shopping centre façade. The lighting on the buildings change colour on the hour every

                 hour. No two hours are the same for 365 days with seasonal colour palette. The project was

                 awarded the Cultural Olympiad ‘Inspire’ mark. This project was nominated for the 8th International

                City, People and Light Award 2011.

2010        I designed the sculptural lighting for new Heart and Lung hospital in Bristol, which won the Best 

                Healthcare Project, UK.

2011        I was the artist on the Cultural Think Tank team set up to look at the cultural experience of Silverstone for the next 17 years.

2011        I made a film for the Welsh National Opera for a soundwork by Michael Fairfax and Jessica Curry

2011        Exhibition of motorized zoetrope’s and a looped film for National Trust property, Calke Abbey.

2011       23 real time responsive sculptural lights for Bury Town Centre. As people walk through the sculpture they leave a trail of light behind them.

2011        Produced 33 metres of animated glazing for the new Northern Ballet Theatre building, Leeds. Won the best Arts Project, National Lottery Awards.

2012       180º of Light. Connecting 3 water towers in Northamptonshire 5miles x 5.2 miles and 2 miles apart.

                This formed the largest public artwork in Britain. Shortlisted for the National Lottery Awards Best


2012         Redesigned the new civic Square in Seaham, County Durham

2012         Designed a laser table for The Secret Cinema’s performance of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, London.

2012        Created sculptural lighting and an interactive film for new York City Council new building entrance.

2012        Created sculptural lighting for the PCT building in Seaham which changes colour with tidal changes

2012        Temporary laser art installation over the formalized canalized river at Boughton House,


2012        Won the Eco Gateway artwork competition to create a gateway artwork for the East Midlands. M1

                Junction 29A

2012        Designed new seating for St Peters Cross, Derby in collaboration with Atkins.

2012        Stitch. 8 lasers connecting two shoe-making factories 4.5 miles apart across the Nene Valley

2012        Photo of ‘Stitch’ event included in The Telegraph’s Photo of the Week.

2012        Designed the art for the new Railway Station Square in Colchester

2013        Lead artist for the new Macmillan Hospital in Harrogate. Created 5 integrated artworks. 2 interactive films. Collaborating with Fira and Nightingale.

2014-15  Consultant artist on the team overseeing the design for the new Richard Attenborough Gallery,

                Leicester University.

2014        Holmes Tunnel Bridge, Derby. Gold cladding, lighting and sculptural water turbine which creates a fund for young Derby youngsters interested in art/architecture and sustainability

2014         Mentor for the Art Science Prize UK.

2014         Guest speaker at The Zahed University, Dubai. Architecture, Art and Design.

2014-15   Creating several artworks for the new public space at the Weavers Triangle, Burnley. 4 still projections, 2 hand cranked 3d animated zoetrope’s and two interactive films as permanent outdoor projections which change as people walk across the new Square.

2015        Artist working with DLA Architects on the new concept development of the Orangery for BEAM.

2015        Selected to make the entrance feature for Wakefield railway station

2015        5 Lighting artwork panels for the Primary Care Trust building, Seaham.

2015        Sculptural lighting for luxury apartments, Leicester. NL3 Developers.

2015        Harrogate Macmillan hospital project aware the Best Interior Award at the Annual Building Better Healthcare awards. I was the Lead Artist on the project and did the glass, animated glass and two interactive films.

2015        Entrance artwork for the refurbished Kirkgate Railway Station, Wakefield.

2016        Mentor for the Art Science Prize UK

2016        Delivered a paper on Art and Sustainability at the Cumulus Conference. Nottingham.

2016        35m high sculptural lighting for Central Square Leeds. Programmed so no 4 hours are ever repeated.

2016        Nottingham Railway Station. Lights that respond to tram movement. 365 poems selected randomly and projected, one a night on the railway bridge wall.

2017        Redesign the Reception area of Nottingham City Council.

2017        Design the new public space between the Silk Mill and Electricity sub station, Derby.

2017        Interactive lighting for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital new courtyard.

2018        Adaptive Architecture Exhibition. Interactive light. Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham.

2018        RHS Garden Show, Chatsworth House. Show Garden sculpture. Won Silver Gilt medal.

2018        Arts Council Grant for the Arts to create an emotionally responsive café table, Conversation for Three in collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham.

2018        Programmed electro mechanical wall panel. Cripps Health Centre Reception, University of Nottingham.

2019        Automated water driven pedal powered drawing machine. Tribute to Richard Arkwright. Cromford Mill. Derbyshire.