Visitors to the main stand concourse at Kenilworth Road last Saturday will have noticed the arrival of a new artwork - an 8' x 4' oil painting entitled "Up the Hatters (Nostalgia)"
The 8ft x 4ft oil painting is based on an archive image of fans visiting Luton Town Football Club at Kenilworth Road for the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Blackpool in March 1959. The artist, Sophie Gresswell, who herself is a Lutonian, wanted to reflect how important the ritual of football matches has been, and still is within communities like Luton. The style of the piece is also loosely based on an inkblot test, to explore how nostalgic perceptions of events are reflected and distort the mind's eye.
Sophie is part of an art collective called 'Colour the Town', a collaborative arts project aimed at improving Luton's walls with creative murals produced by Luton residents. Sophie is part of the group, along with fellow artists Aimi Rix whose artwork appears in our most recent kit launch video, and their associate Mary Hearne.
Sophie said: "Each detail in the image is hand painted, the eye may initially be tricked into thinking that the reflected portraits are the same, but if you look closer each has differences, each is unique. I wanted to show the pride in our memories but also nod to the dangers of nostalgia, we must remember our memories of people, events and places are always a distortion of that actual moment in time."
Luton Town Chairman David Wilkinson said: "We're very grateful to Sophie for bringing this unique piece of art to Kenilworth Road. Every football supporter will understand the feelings of nostalgia that come from following a club over many years, which the painting encapsulates so accurately. Of course, this week especially we're also looking forward to our first season back in the Championship for many years, and a bright future for the Luton. So to see so many inspiring pieces going up around the town from local artists like Sophie is fantastic."