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.


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?


“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.


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.


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!

Someone Get Me Damien Hurst…

Art, Artist, Arts, Other, Reflection, Uncategorized

I am confused. I thought I hated Damien Hirst. I do, I do hate him. I have this inbuilt system of loathing designed just for the two words that make up his name and I don’t know why. I think it’s other people. Their dislike of him, which makes me hate him. If they don’t like him they take that further, they don’t like contemporary art, because of him. I can’t explain this. They are entitled to an opinion. Do I hate Damien Hirst or the perpetual Damien Hirst-ite idea that is still poisoning Britain’s interest in art? Today Hirst sometimes works with children to aid them in artistic senses, he has this childishness that people won’t dare appreciate, because they hate him. He did some stupid and senseless things to art, he hurt art, and now he is trying to make it better, right? Give it a kiss. Out of the good of his own heart. Fair enough. But the old him still exists, laughing away in the form of a skull made of money, made to make money, that made money and made many without much money pretty mad. They don’t forget, those who don’t know and that’s a lot of folks. I think we should forget him, forget everything he stood for, if he’s ready to be forgotten. I think if we did that then we would have a place to start. Will he be forgotten? No. Will people refuse to forget him? Yes. In today’s economic climate people are more ready to hate the gangster artist than before, it an us and them, polarized issue. This is what confuses me.

Saatchi tells me to be afraid, because if he doesn’t like me then what am I worth. I am an ego at the moment. And if I am not fed I will not become credible. Saatchi takes me for lunch and asks me to pick up the bill. Saatchi takes me home to see his wife but he doesn’t know which one she is.
Damien Hirst is here, I try to form my anger into a rational statement, but he’s helping a child do a painting, and he doesn’t even look cynical.



Saatchi’s pissing up my trousers.
I should go home.

I hope you’re not hungry…

Art, Artist, Arts, Inspirational, Nature, Painting

…because I’m about to bridge the line between food and art!

I was amazed to stumble across the work of Hasan Kale who creates micro paintings on food!


Using Smarties, bread sticks, nuts and chocolate (to name a few) as his canvas, he works to the tiniest scale. Yet even though he is painting on only a few centimeters, he can still create art that’s awe-inspiring.

He uses a brush that’s so small it can paint these intricate details that you wouldn’t have realised it was possible to paint! You’ve got to wonder how much work goes into something so small…

And for some seconds?

Check out the work of Carl Warner, who creates what he calls “Foodscapes”


Entire scenes made completely out of food! I love how he uses things like broccoli to symbolise trees as it reminds me of when I was young and used to think of them as exactly that – little trees! I think its really clever what he’s done and its interesting looking at the scenes, trying to spot the different food he’s used to create his landscapes!

Time for lunch I think!

Thanks for reading,

Fiona Clabon illustration work at Paper Scissors Stone

Fiona Clabon at Paper Scissors Stone

Bristol, Drawing, Reflection

My Paper Scissors Stone Experience Next week will be the last week that my illustrations are being sold at Paper Scissors Stone, the pop-up shop in Quakers Friars. My work has been there since the beginning of October, and I really wanted to share my reflections of the experience, as it’s been so brilliant and I don’t want it to end!

Fiona Clabon illustration work at Paper Scissors Stone

As part of the ‘deal’ with having illustrations for sale at Paper Scissors Stone we as the artists in the shop also work there. It creates a really unique customer experience for the public, and it has provided me with a great bank of information to feed from as an illustrator just starting out. Each time I’ve been working in the shop I seem to work with different artists and designers, who have all been lovely to work with and who all had something new to tell me or knew something I could learn from. The range of artists within Paper Scissors Stone is also really incredible. Some have been making things for years, for some it’s purely a hobby, and for others like me it’s a new and exciting venture!

Fiona Clabon illustration

My expectations of this experience were quite non existent really. It was something so totally brand new to me that I had no idea how it would evolve and turn out. These last few weeks especially have been so unexpected and amazing! Sales have been brilliant; I never knew the lovely people of Bristol had such a thing for coasters! Knowing that someone likes your work enough to spend their own hard earned cash on it is a pretty incredible feeling – a feeling I don’t want to end any time soon!

Fiona Clabon illustration | Paper Scissors Stone

Being part of Paper Scissors Stone has also enabled with the publicity of my work, and has led to further new creative ventures to come in the New Year which I am extremely excited about! I’ve learnt so much from the whole experience! From pricing my work, the presentation of myself right through to how to print a whole page of price labels! It has made me feel more confident about making a success of myself within the arts and has also boosted my confidence in myself and my work.

If you’d like to read more I recently did an interview with Made in Bristol, the organisers of Paper Scissors Stone.

Wet paint on walls at The Station

‘And today we got to paint on the walls’

Bristol, Drawing, Exhibition, Painting

Yesterday began the install for our exhibition at The Station, entitled Perfectionism. I wouldn’t say that it was a dream of mine, but for a while I’ve had the desire to create something directly onto a wall. I can’t entirely put my finger on why I’ve wanted to do this, but I think it’s something to do with the fact that it feels naughty and feels like we’re breaking the rules.

So when someone’s idea for this exhibition was to paint words onto the wall how could I not jump at it to help out?!

So that’s what we’ve been doing so far, painting onto the walls. Surprisingly not too much mess has been made so far, and it’s looking like we will be all set to go ready for our opening at 5pm on Friday!

Also, here’s the Facebook event for our Private View, the more the merrier!


Light Show @The Hayward Gallery


Last Thursday I went to see the latest exhibition at The Hayward Gallery, Light Show, which focused on the artistic use of artificial light. The work was from a variety of different sources, including one of my favourite artists Olafur Eliasson; sadly his beautiful piece Model for a Timeless Garden used strobe lighting which eventually made me feel sick so I couldn’t watch it for as long as I would have liked.


The piece used the strobe lights to trick the eye into viewing a set of water fountains as solid objects by freezing them in the flash. The effect produced was that of crystal-like sculptures that changed every split-second, with streams of diamond spheres hovering overhead. Sadly, like so many of the pieces, the photo doesn’t do it justice, and makes it look like a bunch of garden fountains.

A piece which I felt was overlooked by many in this exhibition was Light bulb to Simulate Moonlight by Katie Paterson. On my second circuit around the exhibition I sat in this room for a time and was struck by how many of the visitors poked their heads around the curtain, saw a bare bulb hanging low from the ceiling, and left. In fact the quality of the light produced was so beautiful, subtle and clever that I found it quite moving. Paterson worked with a lighting engineer to create a “moonlight” bulb to contrast to the popular daylight bulb – and the resulting artificial moonlight produced was truly lovely. The piece also contains enough bulbs for a lifetime; I couldn’t help but think how much I would love to own one to light my bedroom as the current bare bulb is anything but relaxing…

The final piece I’ll talk about by Anthony McCall. You and I, Horizontal is a projected light sculpture which turns light into a tangible, tactile object. A projector beams the slowly moving film through a hazy, darkened room and the resulting cylinders of light encompass the audience who are then likely to spend the next 20 minutes as I did; reaching out their hands like children to grasp the air. What I liked most about this piece was the way that the visual effect was so strong, I could “feel” the light, which was amazing.

Overall I completely loved the exhibition and if you can go, go! There were so many more incredibly clever and beautiful pieces, and these three are merely a fragment. One thing I would recommend if you do go, is in Doug Wheeler’s piece stand in the middle and slightly in front of everyone else!! He does say this in the description but so many ignored it and were underwhelmed. When I did this I had the strangest sensation that my eyes couldn’t focus and the installation became much more striking.

– Grace

None of the pictures used in this post are my own.

Pip and Pop – Take me to your world!


I found out about Australian artists Pip and Pop, otherwise known as Nicole Andrijevic and Tanya Schultz a couple of months ago and really loved their work! They create beautifully childish installations using dyed sugars, wax, glitter and found objects to name but a few materials, and, by incorporating them with sound, transform the gallery floor into another world.


One of my favourite things about these artists is the sense of fun embodied within their work. Throughout my art education, the works I have been encouraged to create have been the more serious pieces with heavy conceptual backing, and been told that this is how I will gain respect in the art world. Pip and Pop’s work celebrates playfulness instead of seriousness, and encourages an innocent and child-like exploration of their fantastical pieces.


I think another reason I love their work is that I was banned from using glitter at A Level…


On a more basic level I love their work because I love pastel colours, glitter and things with an iridescent quality – I can’t wait until they exhibit in the UK again so I can experience their work in person.

– Grace