Artist

Paul Reas

Portrait of Paul Reas

Traditionally the South Wales Valleys have been an area of heavy industrial importance, their steel mills and coal mines fuelling the British economy.

In recent years, these industries have suffered a drastic decline, in some areas disappearing entirely. As a result, an established work force was left with no meaningful employment. It was this very problem that heralded the creation of the Welsh Development Agency and similar bodies to attract new industry to the area - resulting in the development of new trading estates. Amongst the most successful of these ventures was the establishment of high technology industries. For Paul Reas, it was these ‘high tech’ industries and their subsequent effects on the communities that triggered his imagination: “I firstly looked at the development of the factories themselves and the industrial estates they occupied. The work process itself was also a specific area of interest. As more and more of the jobs became automated, what effects did this have on the nature of the work and the workforce itself.”

Gallery

Paul Reas - The Valleys Project, 1985

No Title © Paul Reas

“I have to watch the telly and make sure the colours and everything are right. I was on the BBC computer before this one. Even though the job was the same........” © Paul Reas

“Doing very small work is a strain on your eyes. Over the years your eyesight deteriorates. Never wore glasses when I first came here.......” © Paul Reas

“I’ll be honest, if I didn’t have a wife and kids there is no way I would be doing this”. Leon 13th Oct 1983 Des’s mine Pantygasseg © Paul Reas

“You have to break the pony in gentle, a bit more coal each time....”. John Desmond 6 oct 1983. Desmond’s mine Pantygasseg © Paul Reas

“People wishing to remain passive will have the microchip revolution thrust upon them......” © Paul Reas

Clocking in Monday morning © Paul Reas

As more and more factories move out of the valleys, to take advantage of improved road communications, an increasing number of people have to travel... © Paul Reas

No Title © Paul Reas

“What I do is test these electron boards and make sure everything passes. I have to watch the telly and make sure the colours and everything is right........” © Paul Reas

“We are the leaders in the region using this kind of technology in engineering, but the machinery we have, compared to what we saw at the NEC in Birmingham...” © Paul Reas

“People who work in factories and do repetitive work like we do, do it for one reason – money. The only thing you can do to make it a bit more interesting is.......” © Paul Reas