Above and Below the Line

An Artist’s View of Crossrail, by Julie Leonard


Over the past two years, Julie has used the instant nature of hand-held technology to get up close with the people, personalities and places at the heart of Europe’s biggest infrastructure project. By creating digital and animated drawings at specific moments, her pictures capture everyday situations out on sites across the route, bringing the evolution of the project to life.

This exhibition highlights Julie’s work through five key themes: people, places and spaces, inspiring women, communities and digging up the past. The result is a series of striking, colourful images of scenes seen through the eyes of a diverse range of people working on the Crossrail project, from tunnellers and engineers to project managers and archaeologists. As a result, Julie is able to give a fascinating insight into the many people and building works hidden behind the construction hoardings, and to show how art can also inspire young people from local communities living along the route.


Julie is a painter, printmaker and on-screen iPhone digital artist living in London. Her drawings are captured in situ and inspired by on the spot photography, created often in a matter of minutes and telling a story about the everyday situations, the people, the spaces or the moments observed. Her experience combines inspiring artwork with an in-depth understanding of the built environment and infrastructure sectors. In 2013, Julie won the open competition to become the first artist-in-residence for Crossrail.