Illustration student’s colourful artwork welcomes shoppers back to Leeds

19 April 2021

Final year BA (Hons) Illustration student Ekaterina Sheath has created a series of colourful artworks to help brighten up the city centre as Leeds begins to welcome back shoppers as lockdown restrictions ease.

Kat was commissioned by Leeds City Council together with Leeds BID, the management team at Victoria Gate & Victoria Quarter and Trinity Shopping Centre, to create the designs which have been installed on vinyl in empty units on Briggate, one of the city’s most popular retail hotspots.

As well as providing a lively and colourful welcome, Kat’s designs also include wayfinding to Victoria Gate and Trinity to help new visitors discover all the area has to offer.

Katya said: “I am extremely excited to be involved in this project and to have the opportunity to contribute to Leeds’s community and be a part of how contemporary illustration brings our city centre back to life by using art to experience our local spaces as a cultural asset.

“The character design of each person is based upon the people who have walked past me while I've been drawing on location on Briggate. Symbols scattered between the characters represent the variety of bars and cafes the city has to offer.

"The abstract shapes and patterns are inspired by the local architecture. People are shopping, busking, going for a stroll, sipping on a cup of tea and catching up with friends. My design aims to embody Leeds as a thriving community and a welcoming place to live, work, and shop.”

Image: Kat pictured with one of her commisions. 

Kat’s vibrant designs are part of a series of efforts by the council’s City Centre Management Team to provide a welcoming and safe return for shoppers and visitors to the city.

LeedsBID Chief Executive Andrew Cooper said: “Street art plays an important part of the city’s cultural identity. Post lockdown, the key will be to work collaboratively in this recovery period and LeedsBID is delighted to partner with Victoria Leeds, Trinity and the city council in supporting Kat on this Briggate project.”

Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy and culture, said: “A tremendous amount of dedication and partnership work has gone into ensuring the city centre is as safe and welcoming as possible for everyone returning to shops, bars and cafes this week. Leeds really is looking its absolute best and we’re delighted to have worked with a local artist to fund this colourful project and bring Briggate to life."