A pixel art illustration of Tootal Drive Primary School in Salford.

'Tootal Drive Primary School'

This is a pixel art illustration of Tootal Drive Primary School in Salford. The building was demolished a number of years ago and is now the site of a residential block of housing, so it was my intention to preserve the image for future reference. Tootal Drive School was located just around the corner from the Salford Reds Rugby Football Club, and was attended by some of Salford's famous citizens such as Albert Finney.

We often take for granted how accessible the world is today, and many people believe that photography has removed the need for art as a means of preserving history. However, a photo can only capture what is in front of it and does not have the ability to be creative and fill a void, so if nobody ever takes a photo of a thing; then as a medium it is worthless once the subject has been removed from existence.

This is a problem that I faced when creating the piece, as only a few vague photos (mostly of its demolition) existed of the school. All that I had to use were these few photos and my own memory in order to piece together the illustration. Initially I had intended to recreate the image identically brick for brick, and one part of the piece is as faithfully made up, but given the lack of visual resources I decided that I wouldn't be able to do this. Although I was very pleased with what I managed to create in the end.

After I finished the illustration, I had a number of high quality prints made up and had them displayed in the local Eccles Community Gallery. I spent some time in the gallery and met a number of people who shared their own personal memories of Tootal Drive Primary School, and of their lives in Salford. This was a very personal illustration project, but I was pleased with the reaction that it received and hope that it will kept as a lasting tribute in the local history of the city.