3 down...

Release 1-3, hand drawn digital, 1016 x 1372 mm (each)
3 more digital drawings finished (at least for now) but still quite a few in progress. I am prioritising finishing the back log this year (and probably part of next). I need to do this before I can get a proper sense of where I am in relation to my work as a whole.

Drawing Paper #8

It's here in Derby right now!! A free 'newspaper' full of fabulous drawings - I shall be taking some to Derby Musuem and Art Gallery this week and I have emailed QUAD to see if they would also like some (will update on this when I get a reply). As usual there will also be a few copies at the Crompton Tavern if you fancy a look over a cold beer during the upcoming heatwave (great beer garden!)
For more info see: http://drawing-paper.tumblr.com/


A3 Tests - have worked really well so I will be investing in some AO light boxes in the near future. The above are tests with double layered digital drawings but I also intend to try a double layer digital and physical drawing...


Some photos from the INBOX series shown at HMS, Long Eaton and Art-Athina in Greece (above). Each piece is 30 x 30 cm and 35 artists contributed work. I did a literal interpretation of the title and tracked my inbox use for a week using my digital pen (never use a mouse - have a phobia :)) with carbon paper and cartridge taped to my digital tablet. There is a blurb catalogue available of the show  http://www.blurb.com/b/6218836-inbox Big thank you to Jackie Berridge of Harrington Mill Studios who organised it all.

Black on White exhibition in Wales

Spent yesterday picking up my work after the 'Black on White' exhibition finished at the Oriel Gallery in Mold. The exhibition was a drawing based one which - of course - made me happy. Really nice space - part of Clywd Theatr Cymru and both the space and the theatr are HUGE. 

3 years, 36 bottles & an acrylic case...

3 years ago I did a piece of work which involved trapping the essence of 36 coloured pencil drawings in glass bottles. Other things got in the way and I never sorted out the presentation but at long last I think I have found the perfect acrylic display case. Not sure whether it will fit all 36 bottles yet (still need to put it on the wall) but initial calculations look promising...

Black on White Exhibition

Exhibition on from 2nd May - 6th June 2015

Light boxes...

I'm doing a bit of research on light boxes - the piece currently showing at the Cupola would, I think, look good on an optional light box. Not sure if I can put 2 sheets of duratrans/ acetate in it but I've ordered an A3 magnetic one for testing. It may be possible to have the duratrans in the light box and then tape the acetate on top? (a bit like an x-ray box). Or even just tape both on top? Liked the one above as it reminds me of a tablet/ computer monitor with the black rim - digital drawing and all that... and I also like the slim profile. The A0 size is quite expensive - but I don't think it's any more than a traditional frame of the same size. I do have a light panel somewhere which fits inside a frame (can be cut to size) which I got ages ago for my shadow drawings - must try to find it - but I think they are only available in smaller sizes and so no good for my large drawings.

Themes and Interpretation

  1. 1.
    the subject of a talk, piece of writing, exhibition, etc.; a topic.

  2. 2.
    an idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature.

I had a really interesting conversation last week about ‘themed’ shows. I tend to avoid them as I usually can’t make my work ‘fit’ or at least I don’t think I can. My work is very slow to change – partly because it is so time consuming and partly because I have limited time to spend on it (paying the bills and all that) and so I wouldn't, for example, make new work in response to an opportunity. This is not a criticism of those that do – just not something that fits with the way I work. (I think it also ties in with feeling I would have to justify how my work fits in - which is a whole other dialogue).
The gallery owner I was talking to said she set themes to engage with the audience/ customer not necessarily the artist – that she preferred a really broad interpretation by artists as this widened the engagement.  I have been thinking a lot about this. It makes sense that a wide interpretation of a theme gives the ‘theme setter’ a much broader field to engage, discuss, explore with the audience – and also gives the ‘consumer’ access to a wide range of work which they may not normally encounter. I still can’t see myself making work to fit a theme but I think I will be giving a lot more thought to its potential.

Is originality under-rated in the art world?

So is originality under-rated in the art world? I know many will say there is nothing new – but I don’t think that is true. Whilst many ideas and formats are revisited – the end result must surely add a new or unique dimension – otherwise it is just a copy? As artists we should surely strive to bring something new to the arena however small? Many artists reference other artist's work - the National Galleries Residency for example encourages responses to works in their collection. Should we expect some sort of space between when the original work was produced and when the new work is made? Or at the other extreme - is it as case of anything goes and copyright/ intellectual property rights are redundant and pointless?
Derby is currently in the throes of FORMAT festival and one of the pieces of work shown has bought this issue to the forefront for me. Joanna Geldard - an artist whose work I have a lot of respect for - produced a fantastic piece of work shown in 2014. An internally lit greenhouse with etched panels:
I had seen some publicity for FORMAT and one piece in particular caught my eye – an internally lit greenhouse with etched panels. I was really pleased to think Joanna had produced some work for the festival - that she had got some recognition and representation in what is becoming an increasingly high profile international event.
However, it turns out that this is a recent piece by a totally different local artist. The FORMAT piece does look great – and for those unfamiliar with Joanna’s work it no doubt appears a very interesting and original work. Google ‘greenhouse art’ and whilst it is clear that quite a few artists use a greenhouse to present work there are no immediately obvious ones using etched panels. It is of course possible that two artists can have the same/ a similar idea and not be aware of each other’s work - this seems unlikely in this case due to the fact that both artists live in the same area and Joanna’s work got a lot of social media exposure as it was being developed. 
So where does ‘influence’ end and plagiarism begin? Is it OK to create something so similar to someone else’s work that it is assumed to be their piece?  Should an influence be referenced – or at least acknowledged in some way? My personal opinion is that originality is really important and I have always felt that way. I can remember being really upset as a teenager when a friend would copy everything I wore (even then the idea of being a clone didn't appeal). My Mum said ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ to try to make me feel better. It didn’t help…..

Upcoming Exhibitions

A couple of upcoming exhibitions I am taking part in:

INBOX - HMS, Long Eaton 17th - 30th May/ Art-Athina, Athens 4th - 7th June
Chionodoxa (Glory of the snow) - Cuploa Gallery, Sheffield, 14 March  - 18 April

For the Cupola Gallery Exhibition I will be showing digital drawings - 'Hold' for the first time and'Gather'. I intended 'Hold' to be a layered drawing all along and it is very exciting to have just received the final prints for the show (original files = 1016 x 1372 mm, printed at 841 x 1189 mm (AO)). It has been a bit of a nightmare - but ended up as 1 drawing on duratrans and 1 drawing on acetate. This has the added advantage that it can be displayed as a lightbox in the future if required but also gave the lower layer a bit more 'weight' which looked better when shown pinned to the wall. Above is one version - because the top layer is acetate there are a number of possible options depending on which way the acetate is hung. I quite like the idea that whoever hangs the show will make that decision so I will not be specifying 'top'. Very difficult to photograph in my studio as expected (I thought large drawings on paper were hard!) but below gives an idea of what it looks like close up. 

Perception, execution and authenticity......

Instead of distinguishing between 'hand' and 'digital' I have decided to use 'physical' and 'digital'. All of my drawings are done by hand so by using the word 'hand' to signify drawings done on a physical surface I am immediately misrepresenting/ confusing the whole issue. I also need to consider how I identify/ understand/ explain creation, content, presentation and audience in relation to this. Because the work involves both the familiar and unfamiliar (an open and closed audience experience?) I think I need to spend some time clarifying how I define all of these areas and really reassess the terminology I am using? A better starting point would probably be: