Taking a chance on a flyer – CHAMP

Art, Arts, Bristol, Events, Inspirational, Launch, Meditation, Music, Nature

Last night (20th June 2015) I was coaxed into attending an event by a very curious piece of advertising. Picked up at The Island, Bristol, this flyer, with its sparseness and contrast, was too intriguing to ignore.

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What I found, in a small, active industrial yard, was a gathering of people brought together for a performance and a barbecue, on the eve of the solstice.

Sam, the main man of the occasion, put the event together prior to the beginning of what he described to me as an adventurous wander of survival without money, a phone or a map. The idea, to leave of without worrying about how much money you have, who you’re in contact with and where you are, is greatly inspiring as a thing to do, and the fact that there was no pretention in the attitude of the friendly, jovial crowd bolstered the moment.

The event itself is tied to a group of artists in Bristol, CHAMP, whose newly renovated garage studio is as I awkwardly put it at one point, ‘nice’. Which is what it is, a well as more valuable adjectives.

It’s the second time I’ve joined the outskirts of a group shepherded by some leader figure called Sam. The first time being the night of my secondary school prom, in the face of rejection I’d gone off to a gig instead, and while there lied to a group of guys about my age so I could feel less insecure. Sam bought me a drink but I’d had to politely decline.

This time around it was homemade wine that I was avoiding for medical reasons and the barbecue, (from which I had a grilled pepper bun) was a happy addition to the performance. A good move. The details of the performance itself is really only for the performance. That it effectively involved a morning ritual with a much heightened intensity, is enough description to honour intentions I figure.

All of that which Sam took on his sojourn of indefinite length today was lain out on the floor until by the end of the performance it was packed away into his bag. In generosity Sam also provided me and others with a free shirt for our engagement, which was a fine thing to do.

Sam, and the rest of those more of the inner circle, were at the allotment mentioned on the flyer this morning at sunrise, to wave Sam away I guess.

It’s a shame I couldn’t be there, but I was more committed to getting to my bed than hanging around for somewhere to couch/floorsurf with the group. So on this, the longest day of the year, I wish Sam the vey best of luck, and am glad that things like this happen, because, if they didn’t, then just how boring would life be?

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Interview: Lee Mc Donald

Art, Article, Artist, Arts, Bristol, Inspirational, Installation, Interview, Performance art, sculpture, Video

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Lee Mc Donald is a Plymouth based artist who uses sound and movement to make kinetic, sonic and often public sculptures out of recycled or reclaimed objects. Describing his work as quasi scientific Lee’s practice is based in experimentation and testing. I first met Lee when he turned the courtyard of Baggator Community Centre in Easton into an art installation for the 2014 Bristol Biennial.

Interview: Jen Howarth

Art, Article, Artist, Arts, Bristol, Drawing, Inspirational, Interview, Printing

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I caught up with Jen Howarth just after she’d dropped her work off for an exhibition she’s currently in with Synecdoche Art Collective – a group show by recent graduates and current students of Drawing and Applied Arts at UWE – at the Christmas Steps Gallery. (It’s pronounced si-nek-duh-kee in case you were wondering). In the gallery Jen is exhibiting Jetty [above] (and the original etching print inc. metallic spray paint water is every bit as beautiful in the flesh), while in the Synecdoche pop up shop area Jen has prints, badges and t-shirts for sale. I kind of want to own all of her work.

Interview: Gareth Brookes

Art, Article, Artist, Arts, Books/Comics, Bristol, Illustrator, Inspirational, Interview

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I remember finding Gareth Brookes’ work on my first visit to a Bristol Zine Fair when I had just moved here to start Uni. I’m not sure if I was struck first by Gareth’s fascinating drawings moving fluidly from lino print to embroidery, or by the macabre storyline of his graphic novel The Black Project.

Tell us about your background, how did you get into illustration and start making graphic novels?

Interview: Mark Curtis Hughes

Art, Artist, Interview
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Mark Curtis Hughes, Gaol ferry driftwood, Woodcut Print

Artist and printmaker Mark Curtis Hughes has the pleasure of kicking off a new series of artist interviews on the Young Arnolfini blog. Mark is currently studying in London to become an art teacher and graduated MA Multidisciplinary Printmaking at UWE in 2013.

Eden 4 Artist Lab Finishing Party

Art, Artist, Arts, Bristol, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, Launch, Painting

A few weeks ago I had the delight of attending Eden 4’s Artist Lab Finishing Party, and thought I would share some of the exciting work created during their week-long residency at Centrespace gallery.

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Rosie Dolton, Beckie Upton, Rachel Falber and Amy Higgins are four female artists from the south west who form the collective Eden 4.

Eden 4 aim to explore the darker symbolism behind fairy tales, myth and religion within their work, and it is evident in the work of Amy Higgins and Rachel Falber that they take inspiration from Greek mythology and Grimms’ fairy tales.

On the group’s website they write:

“We propose to make installations, drawings, sculpture and embroidery based on ideas which will challenge the viewers traditional ideas of ‘Happily ever after’.”

It is this variety of work, and the assortment of textures and materials used by the artists that create visual excitement within the space.

The work on paper is sometimes on scrap material or card, and sometimes on pristine watercolour paper. This is altered in Rosie Dolton’s textile work, which sometimes mimics a drawing, where the thread becomes the line of the pencil.

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Eden 4 run projects and workshops, and in this exhibition were able to invite the public to have an exclusive look at the artists’ workspace, to see how the work is made and the processes behind its production.

It is in the opportunity to look at artists creating art that the boundaries are broken between the gallery space (and resolved work) and the artist’s studio. Creation is undoubtedly the most important part of the artwork, but is left out of the gallery space, with artist’s studios and gallery spaces being almost polar opposites.

In each of the works presented in the space composition is an important aspect of them all. Each artist has made careful aesthetic judgements ranging from colour to how the work is arranged in the space.

The references the female body, sometimes spliced with animal parts or bird skulls that become new mythological creatures, are prominent, and become the most noticeable subject in the collection of work. The spliced animal drawings of Amy Higgins create a female Minotaur, which subverts the Greek Myth of the male Minotaur unnatural offspring of a woman and a beast.

Sometimes exploring the female body in their work, Rosie Dolton and Beckie Upton Both use text and incorporate slogans, borrowing the aesthetic of fashion magazines, using phrases such as lecherous which confronts the viewer and forces them to question the male gaze and the sexualised imagery seen in the media.

There are strong feminist undertones in every artist of Eden 4, which become more powerful when brought together as a collective.

Eden 4

Follow Eden 4 on Facebook or Twitter.

Or visit their website: eden4.org.uk

 

‘Sub-Doodling’, press ups and Lady Gaga..

Art, Artist, Drawing, Events, Illustrator, Inspirational, Interview, Uncategorized

Becky, Cai and Emma as drawn by Joff

Becky, Cai and Emma as drawn by Joff

Cai, Emma and myself recently attended an arts conference at @Bristol, on Disability Led arts hosted by two organisations; the Bristol and Brighton Steering Groups. Designed to inform and inspire the public on disability within the arts today, the conference was attended by people nationwide.

During we met Joff, the events graphic artist who caught our attention right from the start of the day. So, we eventually managed to corner him and fire a few questions his way.

Here is the conversation we had about ‘Sub-Doodling’, press ups and Lady Gaga..

Joff, we thought you would be an incredibly interesting and inspiring person to interview, as Young Arnolfini is all about making art more accessible to young people and today really has opened up our eyes to disability within the arts.

4How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been drawing all time, the whole time.. all my life.

So are you a full time illustrator?

No, I’m not good enough to do that, I can’t draw buildings or vehicles very well!

Oh no, you shouldn’t consider those things as limitations!

Well…. I like doing my press-ups so.. wait what? Sorry what was the question?!

[There’s a lot of laughter at this point as Joff is obviously distracted as he watches people walk by that he could be drawing..]

The question was ‘are you a full time illustrator’?

Ermm I draw a lot of the time, like a lot of the things I do, I do in drawings but I’m not really an illustrator because you have to be able to draw buildings..

There’s no rules to illustration! Can you speak a bit about your work and your style? Do you think you have a particular style?

My style for these kind of events, when I’m documenting things, I’d say is actually quantity not quality! I can do a lot of drawings but a lot of them are pretty bad but as long as I can get the feeling across of what is vaguely going on at the event.

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So would you say your style is fast paced and doodle like?

It’s like ‘sub doodle’..

That’s a cool description of it! So do you think that your disability affects you in any ways, positively or negatively?

Ah, that’s a good question.. Er, well maybe it makes people be a bit nicer to me! They’re more forgiving of the not very good likenesses in my drawings! Erm, I don’t know.. well, no.. I don’t know! Sometimes I’m probably a bit more messy than I would be, you know, like if I’ve got a big pile of paper, maybe I’ll drop a few more sheets than someone with a normal hand.. When I’m doing my press ups I have to put a book under my stump to make it the right height!

Do you think anyone can draw?

YES! Definitely..

Do you think everyone should draw?

Yes as well! Definitely!

Do you think thats part of where your practice comes from? From drawing everything, you just get better and better at documenting?

Yes, I love it when other people draw! In fact, Sarah did one of the drawings today, I got her to do it because I got bored of it..

What advise would you give a young person with a disability who would like to go into the arts? Especially drawing, as we have been watching you all day and you have such confidence to just approach people and start drawing them.4

Just draw. I know some of these people here, mainly because I’m a huge fan of their work.. I’m a huge fan but not really into contemporary art so much.. but I just really love people who draw! I don’t really know what I’m talking about.. Some people do really realistic, detailed pencils drawings of Lady Gaga.. what am I talking about, I don’t know..

You’re talking about really realistic, detailed pencil drawings of Lady Gaga to an illustrator who does detailed pencil drawings and portraits! Cai has actually drawn Lady Gaga..

Have you?! It’s like two ends of the same string linking up! I can’t draw Lady Gaga.. I can draw a meat dress but I can’t draw the face.. Sorry Cai!

If you could give your 16 year old self a piece of advise, what would it be?

Be nice to your mum. No I was quite nice to my mum.. I’d say don’t talk as much! Id say that to myself now too!

Have you ever experienced any discrimination?

What because I’ve got like one hand? You mean?

Yeah.

Er nah not really.. people are nice!

People are nice to me a lot too, I think it’s my height! I’m short and I think people pity me!

Oh yeah you are quite short!

We really loved all the illustrations Joff created, and below are only a selection of all the ones he created. There were so many, it was hard to choose! Take a look:

Thanks for reading,

Becky

“Exchange” – A review

Art, Artist, Arts, Bristol, Events, Exhibition, Inspirational, Launch

What do Spike Island’s volunteers do when they aren’t volunteering?

They create an exhibition of course.

So the other night, I headed up to Spike Island’s test space to check out the exhibition run by and created by some of Spike Island’s volunteers.

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There was activity in the air as soon as I entered, and as I turned to walk into the Test Space, I was greeted by a wall of people. Wading through the unfamiliar and familiar faces, I began my experience at “Exchange”.

The exhibition aimed to “explore the exchange between volunteers, art institutions and the public” by demonstrating the “breadth and depth of talent and the variety of artistic interests that come together within the group”; and I feel it managed to do just that.

The work exhibited was varying and showcased a wide variety of talent. It included a range of pieces from photography to sculpture to performance artwork, and even more.

003One of the best features of the exhibition had to be its interaction with its visitors. One of the ideas that the curators had was to create a physical “exchange” of ideas there. There was a corner dedicated to this idea where visitors were encouraged to create drawings and pin them to the wall, then to take another in exchange.

I feel this worked really well and you could see that the wall was busy with people pinning their own drawings up. By the end of the evening, the contents of the wall had completely changed from when it had started. I have to admit, once I got started, it was hard to stop. I can’t resist a bit of drawing!

What was remarkably simple worked incredibly well as it got people involved with the exhibition in a way that they normally wouldn’t consider.

I was able to interview Fiona Clabon – Young Arnolfini member who was also one of the artists there.

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She told me how she was fascinated by textures and she was always “stopping every five minutes on a day trip for a photo”. When I asked her why she wanted to present these images, she told me how she wanted to capture the beautiful details of things that we normally miss.

These images certainly do capture that. Each one of them was incredibly interesting and different. I found myself studying them intently. Perhaps her best photo shows the miniscule ice crystals forming on a wooden post – a detail I would have never stopped to admire.

“Exchange” was a really enjoyable exhibition and it was great to meet the volunteers at spike and check out their work.

For my full review, including another interview, check out my post on the Bristol Art Collective website.

For more of her work, check out Fiona’s Website or Facebook page.

Thanks for reading!
Cai

Ode to a Poem

Art, Arts, Poetry, Reflection

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(Man walks, in poetic fashion, down a hill)

I’m new to this group, I like poetry.

Poetry, the people’s game, the art of words arranged nicely and a lot of other things, why bring it up, why in this day and age bring up poetry? Of all things, poetry? Who even reads poems anyway? Many people. Good, that’s that one out of the way. I am a poet amongst other things, those things being a general artist, film blogger and a wizard, Harry, and I feel poetry is still and will ever be one of art’s backbones. This is because of its nature as words, as language, a poem doesn’t lose value in any form if its words remain, only in translation and global languages are variations which keep it new and exciting to unravel. I may be wrong, and tell me if I am, but until then, this…

A nonsense poem:

(The Man With No Nose – Joshua K) –

Humphrey Barnaby-Rose,

was born two feet taller than most.

His nose never grew, not at all, not like you,

and his armpit hair curled from his toes.

Bizarrely, still nobody knows,

why the man was missing his nose.

Or why he lived in a box, at the end of a shoe,

on the beach at the start of his road.

He’d seventeen eyebrows, in a line down his back,

and a pet parakeet named ‘Sir Archibald Slack’.

Two doves in a glove, three worms on a rose

and none of these knew why he had not a nose.

He’d looked for answers in France,

asked them all in Nepal.

Found none finer in China,

none more sane than in Spain.

Sat with a man in Japan,

who’d worn rice paper clothes.

Yet, none could suppose, his lack of a nose.

He’d asked

Doctors and surgeons.

Sea-parents and urchins.

Nose makers and sailors.

A deaf record retailer.

And each of his quests had been

nought but a failure.

There’d been a few in Peru,

three fleas in Torquay,

(the dog they owned too)

and a talking TV.

But, nobody knew, why his face was askew.

Why his absent most nose, was there not to see.

Poor Humphrey Barnaby Rose,

who lived in a box, on the shore of a coast.

How did he smell? Like a man in a shoe,

who’d searched the whole world for his nose.