The story behind #printoctober print collaboration with Sarah Wills-Brown:
This is the thought process behind my work: After receiving the printed surfaces from Karen my initial reaction was one of mild shock as they were much more colourful than how I would normally work! I laid them out and later looked at the Salvation Army Citadel photo she had sent me via Twitter. I decided to start by exploring textures of derelict surfaces, combining cut stencils and spray paint with mono printed areas. All good fun and different to recent ways of working, but my love of line was calling to me.
The next couple of pieces explored interconnecting lines and through this texture. I then decided to place stencilled sections of the citadel windows over these and introduce more colour. When the paint was wet I scraped at it with a scalpel, cut into areas, peeled back others revealing areas beneath, all suggesting the way paint deteriorates over time. I decided I needed a 3D format to present the pieces coherently and to work with the idea of painted/printed layers further- inside, outside of a box. I decided on a box which is also easy to lay out as a net shape. I wanted it when flat to echo the frontage of the Citadel building, so on the interior of the box, I added mono printed areas of the arched windows and some of the square metal surface structures. All this time I was thinking about words associated with ageing painted surfaces, so lastly I added a few on the off cuts of Karen’s printed surfaces. These are revealed when the box is opened…
Following three months of frenetic energy and inspiration through #DrawingAugust, #PaintSeptember and #PrintOctober this month has been about the frustration of non-doing. Not a lack of ideas but rather the ability for life to take over with other priorities. Other than revisiting urban code in a photo walk around Birmingham with Pete Ashton this month has been a series of stop-start and failed outcomes.
Interesting to observe how this lack of progress disrupts the flow and equilibrium to the point of being quite destructive – the inner voice critical and this spills over into what others observe. The realisation that the urge to explore what surrounds us through making art is born out of loneliness, a really deep and profound feeling of being out of step with others who find satisfaction seemingly easy. Non doing this month has fragmented my connection with my self.
Attempts to carve time out have been thwarted by processes not working in the way that I would like; photosensitive screens not exposing correctly, cyanotype images washing out. Points where I have questioned – what’s the point? Internal dialogue interrupted and stalled.
The ingredients for what is in my head are there but the clarity is not. So let’s see what the next month brings.
You know when you read something and your brain goes ‘ping- that’s what I was trying to express’? Well David Smith has done just that in his blog when describing the energy of Twitter, which is something relatively new to me but has become a powerful ‘dice-thrower’ in the game of chance that is my ‘practice’:
I love the idea that groups of creative people are coming together through Twitter to create “ecologies of talent”, what Brian Eno refers to as “scenius”, the talent of a community (genius being the talent of an individual) where all sorts of people with a range of skills, abilities and facilities combine and contribute to enable great art and ideas to emerge.
I just had to share that thought!
See http://davidsmithartist.net/the-binding-grid-of-creative-connection/ for full post.
Today the penny dropped and what were separate ‘bits’ of ideas, experiments with process, thoughts on what is the essence of my ‘practice’, the many possibilities and inspirations……all of these things converged in one place- at Brindley Village on Cannock Chase. I am a prolific ‘maker’ and since I dedicated more time to engaging with my own practice, there have been a handful of different preoccupations running through my work. The role of synchronicity has played a part in steering the direction taken, and has led me to this point. Now I intend to make a longer term commitment to beginning a dialogue with this place that I can see will take me forward in all of the ways that I wanted to go. Exciting.
Collaboration always excites me; adding the ‘unknown’ into the direction you may take with a set of work pushes you to new places. In fact I have come to realise how central it is to the recent work that I have been making.
This month I have been responding to urban surfaces, specifically inspired by Sheffield. My aim is to explore print processes and push the outcome. I am not interested in making something that goes in a frame…..it is the ‘what next’ part that intrigues me.
Part of the next step is exchanging prints with another artist to see where that takes us both. Here’s what we are swapping, now I’m excited for the post to arrive next week!
Exploring unintentional drawing marks made on uneven road surfaces; looking at techniques to fragment and break up the surface tension through creasing the fabric before printing on it. Playing with after print as well as drawing into screen printed shapes.
Examining working in sequence (as with the concertina sketchbook in #Drawingaugust). The beginning of a twenty metre long drawing…..
Taking focal points from this into smaller print compositions using the circle as a marker:
The penny dropped today while driving to work- what am I trying to achieve through making art? Apart from satisfying the essential need to make it?
I am trying to use drawing to get other people to give their attention, not to me as the maker or mischievous perpetrator, but to the moment, to their physical presence and place at that moment in time….to notice.
I am not interested in permanence or representational imagery or in making work to be sold. I am also starting to question my ‘footprint’ as an artist in the selection of what I use in the process.
‘You are here’.
Except most of the time we are so preoccupied that we are not.
Still pondering the question of where does what I make belong? Through the experiments with concrete last month I was asking myself what happens to them next – unneeded drawings can be recycled, canvasses left in public to find a new home…..concrete a more permanent material, does it ultimately end up in a landfill?
A lost roof tile, picked up when I was researching and collecting weeds for Concrete Nature- part of a derelict canal side mill. Ultimately destined to be knocked down I would imagine, but fascinating nonetheless. No longer important- an eyesore to some and probably now invisible to others.
I returned this tile home today and put it back- immediately two people walked past and didn’t notice it. But I quite like that, and maybe the one person that does may just wonder why?
My original idea was to make a piece of work to donate, something like the Black Lines response about mapping and place. Fallen pieces of roof tile from the canal side derelict flour mill seemed ideal:
In the process of making this piece I discovered that I had misplaced my now-very-significant reel of red thread which made me realise how much I value it.
And so the answer presented itself….
In exchange for my reel of thread Stephen Carley marked my hand with a cross in black marker and gave me a balloon with a cross on it – ‘X marks the spot’. My object was archived and listed:
What interests me is the dynamics of exchange; Stephen has given me two things to take away and those now hold value in steering my next work.
The other ‘exchange’ today came from ceramicist Zee at the gallery, she gave me my new red thread in the form of elastic; fortuitous as it fits with my thoughts on using forces to make marks. Excited is an understatement!
Today has confirmed to me the importance of connections in me making art and that allowing synchronicity to shape what happens next feels right.