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Fantasy artist in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

BUDDING young artists got the chance to work alongside a surrealist painter in a special project at an Ipswich education centre.

Artist Mark Copeland, from West Suffolk, specialises in paintings with a strong flavour of fantasy and also works as a modelmaker for film and TV productions like the BBC's acclaimed series Gormenghast and the movie The Borrowers.

BUDDING young artists got the chance to work alongside a surrealist painter in a special project at an Ipswich education centre.

Artist Mark Copeland, from West Suffolk, specialises in paintings with a strong flavour of fantasy and also works as a modelmaker for film and TV productions like the BBC's acclaimed series Gormenghast and the movie The Borrowers.

But now Mark has taken a break to spend three days as artist in residence at the Parkside Learning Support Centre in Spring Road.

Parkside is a centre providing education for 32 pupils who are unable to attend mainstream high schools because of emotional difficulties and other health problems.

Mark has been working with youngsters in year ten on a project to create a giant group photo with a difference, loosely based on the famous sleeve to classic Beatles album Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

"All the faces we are making are going to go up on the wall, and we have even got hold of an old drum to use as a prop," said Mark.

The students took pictures of each other with a digital camera, then set about transforming their own faces into something a touch surreal, with the help of pens, scissors and paint.

"It's going really well – there is a lot of variety," said Mark, whose wife, Sarah Munro, is art tutor at Parkside.

Sarah said: "It was really a joint idea for Mark to come in and work with the students. We have been working on a project about dreams, based on surrealism, and in a way it came out of that."

Lee Smith, 14, was busy creating a vampire face. "This is brilliant," he said. "It's really good turning the faces into something else."

Jessica Rodriguez, 15, said: "I am going to cut out some different hair and add it on to my face to see how it looks."

Headteacher Stuart Bailey said: "It is great for the pupils to have the opportunity to work alongside a professional artist like Mark."

He said staff at Parkside were very much a team, and the centre got a lot of support from parents and the local community. Youngsters are also able to use some of the facilities at St Alban's High School.

Looking to the future, it is hoped to organise more special projects such as drama and music workshops.


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