Monday, 3 November 2014

Along the Light more images...

Here We Live - Cartwright Hall Exhibition Link - Jan 2015

Tales of a forgotten city - Feature piece of the Here We Live Exhibition

The link has gone up for mine and Ruth's collaborative exhibition that will take place in the beautiful Cartwright Hall in January 2015. This is the same piece exhibited last year in Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead and this year in Stead and Simpson, Bradford. It will also feature a new collaborative piece about Otley Road and its characters. During the show in Cartwright Hall we will also have an exhibition of work we are producing with students in Carton Bolling School also based around Otley Road and its shop keepers. Ruth has already produced prints with the students and I will begin my workshops with them this week transforming their incredible prints into 3D pieces art that bring to life the stories of the characters.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

I'm a winner!!!!!!!!!!!

Just won £150 of arts vouchers thanks to Claire Weetman!! Can't wait to get spending!!

The Hague - Exhibition - Put a Face to Human Traffiking!!

Me and Ruth Fettis have just come 2nd with this image in Stop The Traffik Netherlands call out for artists to put a face to Human Traffiking!! Our work will be on display in The Hague in The Netherlands Next Week!! Wooo!!

Here is the flier for the exhibition...

And the link to us on their site...

Friday, 10 October 2014

Off The Wall

Every other week on a Wednesday I am taking part at the Off The Wall course at Eccleston Library looking at how we can get art into Libraries!

You can follow the blog here...

The first night was really nice a group of about 11 of us all talking about artists we liked and looking at different ways we could place our own work within the library. We could'nt find the light switch to the main library so wandered around the main library in the dark!!

A very exciting and unique experience. Everyone on the course was lovely and it was really inspiring and refreshing to sit around talking about great and bad art. I look forward to the rest of the course and what will come out of it at the end!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

According to a report on human trafficking recently presented by European Commissioner there are more than 23,600 victims in the EU, and two-thirds of them are exploited sexually. 

It is time we stop talking about slavery like it is a thing of the past and face what is on our doorstep. It spans many countries and industries from coca farming for the chocolate industry  to au pairing. These people are someones child, sibling or friend and have the same dreams and aspirations as everyone else it is time we do something to help them.

I made this collaborating with artist Ruth Fettis for a call out Stop The Traffik Holland made to put a face to the victims of sex trafficking. It had to be a digital piece hence its flatness. It tells the story of a young Romanian girl who has been trafficked to western Europe in her heart are the reasons she came, education, work, money or love and behind her in her stark and lonely room are what she left the fabric of her life her family, friends and home. They are still with her but she can't reach them. This is the unfortunate story for lots of victims from Eastern Europe many of which are under 18.

There are lots of projects out there and information on how to help, places you can volunteer or donate to in your area. I was thinking about doing this online course from Sheffield University it costs about £50 and takes 3-10 hours informing you about trafficking in the UK and how to help... not sure its any good but think we need to get more informed so we can open the doors on this. 

Drop the Dumb Bells!!!!!!!!

Welcome to Drop the Dumbell's my new place of work and fun Friday night saw our opening. The building is full of potential and possibilities so don't hesitate to get in touch!!


Cartwright Hall exhibition with Ruth Fettis

Here is a link to my up and coming exhibition with Ruth Fettis in Cartwight Hall I will soon begin my workshops at Carlton Bolling school to produce work for their exhibition on Otley Road.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Along the Light - Cologne

You go down the steps into the underpass that is Ebertplatz a German 'No go area', as far as I can tell this is because there are homeless people, some drug use (which I didn't see).

In fact this area is under threat of demolition and to get a clear idea of the kind of propaganda 'the media machine' create (I'm talking about the same kind of media propaganda I saw when the British government were trying to make squatting illegal, and by the way succeed) in this picture below you can see a camera crew arriving to film this 'danger zone' and the threat it causes to the local community. When they arrived they were faced with something very different. They saw the homeless people who in actual fact have a home here in Ebertplatz but they also saw around 20 artists working and learning together to produce an art festival working alongside the people that live there. As you can see by their cameras they chose not to film and creative and inspiring environment it wasn't the images they wanted to take home. They chose to come back another day when they could get images that supported the story they wanted to tell.

Below you can see my neighbours next door to my installation, in fact they made me feel safe and happy that I wasn't the only one awake when I was working at night. They were part of my experience in Ebertplatz in a completely positive way.

And here you can see the special nature of this 'no go area' and the warmth and enjoyment our hosts Ray Vibration gave us! The plan for the week was to bring together 15 artists to spend the week working and inspiring each other to create work for a festival of  analogue media at the end of the week. What a bunch of people, record makers, light movers, robot makers and lots of noise I was frickin' blessed to be around this lot!!! For more information about who these people are go to ... . So meeted and greeted and ate good food and then we began the work and learning which at the end of each day was rounded up with a dinner in our very own Ebertplatz restaurant (pictured below) and artists talks which were always mind-blowing and inspiring.

And the work began, despite my face in this shot which I swear was concentration I was having the time of my life. Mixed in with complete fear as to what an amazing group I was with and how I fitted in and how my work was even analogue. I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to produce for my piece and I thought about my practice, what inspired it early media such as zoetropes and stereoscopes are what really inspires my work however I often use digital media combined with analogue media to explore what effects are possible by combination. And look at the effects and changes between early media as a source of entertainment compared with modern media as a source of control.

One of my pet hate is the massive over use of screens in the modern ages especially people who watch gigs through 'smart' phones or look at the Mona Lisa through their tablet. So I wanted to use ANALOGUE MEDIA TO DESTROY THIS KIND OF DIGITAL MEDIA I wanted to do this by using analogue media to create moving static on the digital screens! So I made lots of screens (in true mashup style using digital media shhhh). These would form the backdrop for my piece.

And then came the fun and mind bending bit! Ray Vibrations are a very inspiring crew and Christian had told me about the possibilities of changing a bulb of an overhead projector to a powerful LED light that you can then put an oscillator into the circuit to turn the light on and off in quick succession. This got me thinking about all sorts of exciting things including zoetropes!!!!! However I had my plan and little time for this week so I wanted to stick to it and use this circuit for a zoetrope at a later date! I built the circuit for the light and then an oscillator then Christian gave me another oscillator to plug the motor into to create movement for the static!! Electronics sorted now I had to make the static!!!!!!!

This is only one desk in our crazy crazy work space that in under two days time would be our exhibition space! Despite the amazing mess it was a very calm, productive and helpful place to work!!!

And here is the motor and flashing projector in action creating the static effect on the phones.

You can see from the image above how the projector creates static on the screens.

And below from outside.  

You can see it in working in all its glory here

All in all a complete success for me I managed to destroy digital media by using analogue, create an analogue piece of art and make a point which is always the most important part of my work all in 4 days!! PLUS I LEARN'T SO SO MUCH!!!!! cant wait to get that circuit back and build more now!! 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

On saturday I will be going to Germany to spend a week creating an installation using analogue media for the Along The Light Festival in Koln.

Work will be on display for 2 weeks after the festival on the 19th-20th in Ebertplatz Station in Koln, this is just down the road from where I used to live ten years ago!

here is a link to the event page get over there if your close!!

15th November wack it in your diary and get down to St Helens!!

Delighted to say that I just got the role of Lead Artist on one of the dates running an artworkshop in my home town St Helens!

Saturday the 15th November that will be me so get down there and bring the family and of course all the other dates are going to be great and free so get down for them too!!

and here's what ill be doing...

for more information on the project please visit....

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Birthday Presents - An Unfortunate Duty

Informed by my sister I had not chipped in for her birthday present I thought I had chipped in for in March, she said "not to worry, me and my house mates saw a piece of art in Vienna that was the sky line of the city with a light behind it. You can make us one of them of London".

"Oh really, I can can I??" so I was given the measurements I was set to work. So far I have this...

Her and all her house mates have been incorporated into the city scape. I will begin by layering up and making each image 3D then I will cut out windows and back light it using a strip light designed for kitchen counters. It will have a similar effect to this...

it will have a similar effect to this, this is just a light box I made with some pictures in, you can see how the light from it back light the cathedral above it, the light will be stronger in the London sky line though as it will be directly behind the picture as opposed to here where the light box is the source of light.

Up date, Up date, Up date... With regards to my wares on sale in the hippy hole!

Before I went on the great escape to Germany I made some wares to sell in the Hippy Hole, Liverpool. I have done really well, already sold 3 pieces. I spoke to the shop assistant the other day who said the customers are perplexed by the Liver Birds piece. I am chuffed, she said people stand there gorping over it for ages. I am so so so happy, it has sort of turned into a little exhibition so I am making more things to show and to sell...
Liver Birds Piece

In progress... Jazzed up hairbands and fancy collars, watch this space.

Never buying vac form bricks again!!!! Our great discovery June 2014

These are vac form bricks...
it is basically a sheet of plastic that is vacuum formed to look like bricks and then you paint it. It is used by set builders to create a brick effect on buildings. This is they aren't that good and they are really expensive!!

We got a better idea!!, what to do with you off cuts of wood!??...

1. cut them into similar sized pieces, sand down the edges, glue them onto some ply and staple them from the back.

2. mix and apply a textured paint to knock the wood back so it looks like stone.

3. leave the cracks grey so it looks like cement but paint the bricks in various bricky shades.

4. cut a big hole out of you set and attach the bricks behind it, render your set texture up to the bricks and jazz up with a bit of greenery, Bobs your uncle an old wall with exposed brick where the render fell off and NO WASTE!!!

Fusion Festival, Larz, Germany, May - July 2014 - Let Me Introduce you to NAGEL STRASSE

Kulture Kosmos is a really special place, its probably my favourite place. It is an old Russian air base in the Muritz area of North East Germany, every year it hosts the Fusion Festival and for the past 4 years I have been lucky enough to go there to make installations and sets.

The site has many aircraft hangers like this one...
this is the workshop hanger where you can borrow tools and make things. Other hangers on site are venues for the festival including a cinema, a theatre, a cabaret they have their own mechanic and bike mechanic. There is really nowhere like it in the world.

They have cars like this...                                     and you can drive stuff like this...

This year after my 3 previous years working with an English crew there I was invited to come and work directly for the festival. Put with three complete strangers all from different countries we were commissioned to build a street facade for the festival that held some significance to the place.

We began here...

an incredible yet completely terrifying abandoned willage 20 kilometres from the site. Part of the old East Germany this area is littered with such places. Inspiring projects and communities exist in some of them but so many are left to rot. This willage was originally built in the Nazi era and then occupied and used as a Russian army base that housed families. You can see both eras in its architecture and in the remnants left there such as the tiles, signs and shoes... so many shoes!!

This place was so inspiring, we decided we wanted to create a place that captured the feeling of this space but reclaimed the history and became timeless and other worldly.

So we took our inspiration and some windows and doors and began with this...
With 5 weeks in hand we got going.

We began by laying all the windows and doors out with what looked good with what. Taking inspiration from the abandoned willage and our findings. The buildings quickly took shape and soon started to develop their own character our willage or as it would later be called Nagel Strasse had begun.

We each took on our own building that was our little baby and had three communal buildings that we each put ideas and work into.

And this is the beginning of my building...
the little house of the crazy old lad, whose son lives in the attic making TV arial's (well everyone needs a back story!!!

I started by building the wooden flats (painted green in this picture) each hole fitted the windows and door I had found for my housed.
I then started making my roof, I wanted it to be a sort of cartoon version of the roof's I had seen in the willage. I had found the small window positioned on the top left of the roof in the willage and wanted to incorporate it into my design. I then decided my roof should be burnt out and to fit in with the old decrepit look we were going for.

I then painstakingly cut individual tiles for the roof and had a hissy fit because I thought at this stage it looked crap!

I painted my roof and used a blow torch to burn the burnt out parts. I then attached guttering I had found. But it looked to nice, it was ready for a big old dirty dirtydown.

And a dirty down it got! and a chimney and lots of weird props and features I made along with a TV arial I made that was a reference to the people in the former East Germany that made their own TV arial's so they could watch western television.

Here was the finished result, my little house for the crazy lady and I felt like by the end of my time creating it!!!!!

And it sat in our street with all our other weird and wonderful houses. It took blood, sweat and tears but we got there and we were so so proud.


 The festival were so pleased and will put it up every year! My favourite comment was when a photographer came to photograph the set. She was told "we made absolutely everything you see" she asked "what do you mean? You made what?",
"the street"  we said quite offended that she wasn't impressed.
"the street?", "I thought that was real"

Smashed it!! I thought!!!!!!!!!!