Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Thoughts on my drawing.

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‘Slumber’ Pencil on paper. Dec 2016

Once again, I have to confess to neglecting my blog. I’ve been busy teaching and drawing, and, more recently tidying up and paring back this website that I felt was becoming something of a beast that needed taming.

Like I say, I have been drawing; lots and lots of drawing whenever time permits. Drawing has dominated my creative output recently. It’s trumped my lettering and collage efforts. It’s been a really useful year for me. Having neglected drawing for many years—far too many years—I find it odd that I did for so long. Anyhow, as the old saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the next best time is now. Never has a truer proverb applied to me and my practice. No looking back, then. I’m just moving forward and going with the flow.

The process of drawing and the rediscovering certain tools and revisiting others has also led to my exploring new(ish) themes of that I can connect with and that have some visual potential to me. Recently, my lifelong interests in both factual history and folklore have been a point of exploration. I’ve been drawing those who keep certain ancient traditions alive, and who reinterpret them for a new age, such as Morris Dancers and their musicians. These have simply been portraits. In recent weeks I am wanting to explore themes that draw upon more imagination such a folk tales, myths and legends.  I’m having fun reading these tales and planning potential compositions and finding the process of drawing a wonderful escape from the often overwhelming speed and chaos of life. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Mail me Art: A Mail Art Project

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Recently I’ve been trying to find time to indulge in independent, creative projects. Teaching for three institutions and having three young kids doesn’t leave much time for doing my own thing and so I’ve been seeking ways to incentivise me to get things done, I’ve also been discussing with one or more of my students the issue of trying to capitalise on finding time and seeing what one can achieve within a very limited time. I have been extolling the aims of this video by Cy Porter on the theme of Littleing it to Death by which Porter outlines tackling potentially larger projects by approaching them by do a little each day. So now practicing what I’ve been preaching I’m looking to do something each day. This little effort was a entry for a Mail Art project for Mail Me Art which “is a project that has brought together an international community of artists and illustrators, amateur and professional alike, through art in the form of mail.” This took about 2.5 hours and I left it until the day of the deadline. If I’m honest with my own critique, the composition isn’t great, neither is the lettering but I’m pleased with the doodle-like technique that emerged and the some of the mark-making. I really like the concept of mail art and hope to do more of this.

Reference: http://www.mailmeart.com

Saturday, 27 September 2014

‘Time: Tattoo Art Today’ at Somerset House

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Today was the first of our annual college trips for new academic year. Time to get out of the design studios, look up from our Macs and seek inspiration from elsewhere. This time it was a visit to London’s Somerset House to see ‘Time: Tattoo Art Today’  The exhibition is unique. Some 70 tattoo artists have been commissioned to create a work of art and inlcudes work from Ed Hardy, Horiyoshi III, Rose Hardy, Chris Garver and Claudia De Sabe. What struck me immediately was just how talented these people are when not working on skin. Works included painted sculptures—two of my favourites being Chris Garver’s ‘Indigo Dragons’ and Henk ‘Hanky Panky’ Schiffmacher’s ‘ACBC’, a mesmerising and sensitive portrait of a tattooed Christ. (Directly below)

The theme of ‘time’ lead to many of the artists producing works reminiscent of medieval memento mori, clearly referring to our measured time in this world, along with the message that youthful beauty is fleeting.

The collection is incredibly diverse and is well worth the visit, but don’t expect to see tattoos, that’s not what’s on show! However, it would have been a bonus if only to have had a small image of each tattoo artists’ work, just to give the viewer a glimpse of what they create as tattooists. It is a great exhibition, and, for the most part, entirely unpredictable as you move from piece to piece.

Time: Tattoo Art Today ends October 5th.


Above: ‘Rouge’ (detail) by Rose Hardy.

 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Ivan Chermayeff: ‘Cut and Paste’ at the De La Warr Pavillion

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One of the most cheerful and playful exhibitions I’ve been to this year has to that of Ivan Chermayeff: Cut and Paste, currently at the De La Warr Pavillion in Sussex. Charmayeff, founding member of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, is a designer of international repute, and has maintained a lengthy and prolific career. He is known particularly for his logo designs that include, among many, Mobil, National Geographic and NBC. Whilst this exhibition contains some of Chermayeff’s commercial work, the exhibition, as the title suggests, is a collection of his personal works that mostly consist of collage together with some calligraphic works. These works demonstrate the bright and witty thinking that one might associate with a successful designer.

The collages are seemingly made of whatever the artist has to hand, be it envelopes, postage stamps, coloured card and other found materials to form fresh and engaging pieces. I’m a big fan of this type of work and I also love the work of the late Alan Fletcher who was also a master of creating similar, quick witted and intelligent collages. I also like these as I think they are a great way of both relaxing, having fun and problem solving at the same time. It appears to be a good time for collage becoming highly visible. Last year I saw the incredible works of Kurt Schwitters, and earlier this year the powerful collages of MatisseIt’s great to feel inspired, but it wasn’t only me that felt that way. To the end of the exhibition hall there was an area for having a go at making your own collages, and my 7 year old sons did a grand job rising to the challenge, as can be seen below. Future Charmayeff’s in the making, perhaps?!

Many of Charmayeff’s collages have been collated in this book titled ‘Suspects, Smokers, Soldiers and Salesladies’, published by Lars Müller. (There are images of Chermayeff’s work in this link.)

The exhibition ends 14th September 2014

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