BRB dancer Celine Gittens photographed by Mark Salmon with illustration by Joel Millerchip for Eye Candy Festival 2014
 

Three dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet have taken part in a unique art project to be unveiled at this year’s Eye Candy pop culture festival.

Shots of the dancers in action, taken by portrait photographer Mark Salmon, are being turned into contemporary illustrations by six artists from Column Arts Agency – Trou, Joshua Billingham, Sweaty Eskimo, Laura Tinald, Joel Millerchip and Guy McKinley.

William Astbury, founder of Column Arts Agency, said: “We were keen to explore how the different mediums of photography and illustration can work together.

“Our artists have taken Mark Salmon’s photos of the dancers and overlayed them with new motifs and patterns, to create something that is entirely new. It makes the extraordinary shapes and athleticism of the dancers even more vivid.”

One of the works shows a ballerina in flight, surrounded by swans as if to evoke the classic ballet Swan Lake. One of the swans, however, has a plastic drinks-can wrapper caught around its neck, bringing the image straight back to the 21st century.

The three dancers – Kit Holder, Celine Gittens and Anna Monleon – were photographed in October, leaving the artists just a few weeks to complete their illustrations before the exhibition opens on November 13.

Visitors to the opening night of the exhibition will be able to see and take part in the creative process, as it is demonstrated live by some of the artists involved.

Photographer Mark Salmon said: “In every sense this project has been a collaboration with the dancers, the artists and myself. Usually I have total control of how my photos are processed, so this is very new to me – I am so excited to see how the artists use and interpret my photographs.”

The illustrations will be unveiled at Eye Candy, Birmingham’s weekend celebration of illustration, street art and pop culture. Other artists coming to Eye Candy include the French street-art illustrator Fafi and the fashionista’s favourite, Daisy de Villeneuve.

Eye Candy is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme.