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Artist Talk : Adam Dembski- Bowden

March 5, 2015 by Alice Eaton   Comments (0)

Adam Dembski-Bowden is a Luton based artist who studied his Masters degree at Slade School of Fine Art in London.  His art practice is based on social occurrences with high focus on social interaction.

Adam is the primary carer of his Grandmother who suffers from Dementia. She appears a lot in his artwork. One of the pieces was inspired by a phrase his Grandmother used to repeat, she used to say she never thought she would go gaga. This gave Adam the inspiration to mix images of his Grandmother with images of Lady Gaga in a photomontage style and then get her to sign next to the quotes he wrote at the bottom. This gave the effect of a celebrity portrait. 

He also created two video pieces involving his Grandmother. In the first Adam is sitting beside his Grandmother but we cannot see their faces, Adam is the one filming. One by one he showed a selection of toys and ornament owls that his Grandmother had been given over the years. He in turn discussed each of the owls with her to see her reaction to them. We only got to watch a little of this video but her interest in the owls dipped in and out and she confessed she did not like some of them.

Another video was taken looking at his Grandmother sitting in her chair. The video was extremely simple but highlighted all her mannerisms and actions.

As a student studying at Slade in London, he encountered a group of women who deemed him unable to appreciate feminist art because he is a man. This inspired him to create an alter ego, Nelly, who was a man ( but never Adam) dressed in a black morph suit who wore Hawaiian theme attire. Nelly was placed on a chat roulette alternative and sat fully clothed in a bath reading a book about pigs. The idea of the piece was to see how long people stayed on webcam for.

Whilst on Craigslist, Adam came across a man who wanted to be hired as a slave. He initiated a Skype conversation with the man who explained all the services he could perform. The conversation lasted pages and pages and became a part of Adam’s degree show piece. Along with his created a series of chairs that encompassed the acts the slave wished to perform and Adam being uncomfortable with contact. A section of his degree show work centred around the acts the slave wanted to perform. This involved the chair, blue tack balls and also toenails.Adam invited him to the show with adverts on Craiglist. One of his degree show pieces was banned from being shown by the Slade board and Adam has a copy of the letter they sent him due to the participation of the people who may not have know they were in a public exhibition.

Being interested in video, another piece he did involved pouring cream upon himself and waiting for his dogs to lick it off. His aim was to tie in with the theme of control, Unfortunately he did not obtain the outcome that was in his vision, the dogs did not end up fighting over the cream however he did think it was successful being that one dog felt it had to wait for the other dog to finish his helping before starting his own.

The last piece of work he showed us involved the use of an actor. He created a situation in which he and the actor sat side by side at a table and were filmed in order to see the outcome of this social interaction, From the viewpoint of someone observing this interaction, it seemed awkward and even we did not know where to put ourselves. The running time of the video was one hour in which it seemed there was in fact no interaction of any kind between Adam and the actor.

I found Adam’s practice interesting and especially where he gets his inspiration from. He is not afraid to break boundaries of what is Art and challenge not only himself but the viewers of his pieces.  He clearly puts a lot of thought behind his work. I am really intrigued to find out more about is forthcoming projects and where he sees his work going in the future. Overall a really fluid talk and an in depth practice.


Artist Talk : Sun Ju Lee

March 5, 2015 by Alice Eaton   Comments (0)

This weeks artist talk was done by Sun Ju Lee, a Korean artist who is currently a resident as the University of Bedfordshire.

Firstly Sun Ju explained to us her  main study “A Practiced Place” and how she is currently looking at occupied space and reaction in a given moment and therefore the relationship between space and experience.

Her practice involved choosing a particular space that is of interest to her and repeatedly photographing the space to highlight the shadows and layers. This would document for her all the happenings of the place in a given time. Sun Ju’s aim is to rebuild a situation rather than conceal it.

She started her talk by showing work she had completed using digital printing, drawing and painting. She works both in 2D but also showed us one of her installation projects in which she drew on drafting paper. All of her work to me is very abstract but really draws to viewer in. I found her use of mediums alternative and I feel her use of experimentation on different kinds of materials, and using different kinds of mediums, shows us how she is very careful about the quality of her work and she wants to find the best way to get her message across.

Her choice of medium to document is printing. She explained to us how this is an important part of her practice however she really enjoys experimentation. Recently she had been printing onto invisible thread put into a frame which incorporates the use of layers. She brought in one of the pieces for us to look at an it is an interesting and visually stunning piece.

I really enjoyed listening to the talk on Sun Ju’s practice. I found her research process and her ideas behind her art as exciting as the pieces themselves. She took us through a lot of her practice leading up to her printing on threads work and it helped us to visualise the path she has taken through both research and medium to arrive at her current point. I feel I have learnt a lot from her talk notably that experimentation is key to getting the best results from your work. I think I personally would gain from trying out alternative materials such as Sun Ju has done.


What I hav been up to so far.

March 4, 2015 by Lee McDonald   Comments (0)

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I have been working on an application for some time to work on some roboitic sculptures with the robotics department at Plymouth university.

On my page you will find a few picturs demostrating were I am with the project.

The Sculptures will be a way of demostrating kinetic movement and chance to finde out how shapes and matereals reacte within them selves and in a space giving the sculpters a chace to gain momentum but with the intention to have the momentum as random and as changing as posible.

So far I hav done a number of drawings to try and figure out the best aproch to building these things and how I want to build the sculptues and what they should look like and concidering how they need to be asembled.

With the advice from one of my piers Rachael Allain I have decided to build a number of small working prtotypes using Ilistrator and the laser cutter to explor the movement of shapes. I will then start to introduce other materals and technology threw out the aa2a.

Step-by Step

March 4, 2015 by Ian Kirkpatrick   Comments (1)

The other day I gave a lecture to the students on the BA Craft program at York College.  Ed Poxon, the Deputy Head of Division for Fine Art Design and Craft, had been encouraging me to deliver a talk for some time: the first one was planned in November (but was accidentally booked during exam time); the second one was planned for the start of February (but had to be cancelled because my computer was being repaired)…so it seems the third time was the charm. 

I was quite nervous about giving the talk – more nervous than I would usually be if I had to discuss my work – because I realized that I actually needed to say something relevant to the students’ own lives.  I needed to give them something meaningful, in exchange for their time.  So, rather than talk ad nauseum about my artwork’s meaning or techniques, I ultimately decided to talk about how I became a freelance graphic designer, and then a contemporary artist.  Learning how to make a living at art is something I personally would have liked to have known more about when I went to art school, back in Canada.  At that time, they told us nothing about what to expect, or what to do, once we graduated.  Partly as a result of this, I stopped practicing art and just got ‘real jobs’ for several years.  But if I could do it over again – if I knew then what I know now - I might very well have stuck with art.  I suppose that’s partly what the role of AA2A is: it gives students access to ‘real’ artists who can give some insight – good or bad – into life as a self-employed artist.  At the very least it shines some light into the otherwise very dark and mystical ‘art world’ that can discourage so many newly-graduated artists.  It’s important for new artists to hear about the struggle of finding work, and the constant hustle of applying for commissions…but equally it’s key for them to hear about the joy of getting selected for an exhibition, or of winning your first grant.  It’s important to know that the successes do become more frequent – but that you also have to start modestly and be willing to take things step-by-step in the hopes and ambition that, eventually, all of the hard work will pay off.

Three years ago, when I moved to York, I never would have thought that I would be creating artwork for the York Art Gallery’s re-opening.  I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to produce this new work, and to have the support of the YAG curators and especially Gaby Lees, Helen Walsh and Fiona Green who have been my contacts for this project.  I realize that I’m still just an emerging artist – unlike some of the established superstars such as Clare Twomey who is creating a large installation for the re-opening of the Gallery this summer.  So I take nothing for granted.  But I do allow myself the chance, every now and then, to be proud of the small, progressive steps I’ve taken since beginning my practice in 2008 – and the occasional big success that happens, often unexpectedly, as a result of all the hard work. 

Birth Rites Biannual Award

March 2, 2015 by Alison O'Neill   Comments (0)

My video, Punctures, has been shortlisted for the biannual Birth Rites collection award and will be screened at Media City on the 13th March 2015. Punctures was made on the AA2A residency at North Hertfordshire College.






Discussion with artists/my work progression

March 1, 2015 by Emily Hale   Comments (0)

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I recently spoke with Adrian about my work, he suggested that I tried to put something of my own opinion into my work, rather than leaving it as a question for the viewer. In this current painting rotation I am in I have been trying to do this using scale and titles. I've been using small scales, associated with mugshots - to suggest the criminality of stealing nude photos, this also links to biometric surveillance as a result of these technologies being arrest. For titles for the works I've been looking at names of forms to do with benefits, redundancy and divorce - all of which can result from being a victim of photo hacking or arrest.

I hope to have more conversations with the artists about their and my own work however it is difficult since some are only in once a week or working off site. 

In the Laboratory of Art

February 27, 2015 by Ian Kirkpatrick   Comments (0)

A few weeks ago I discovered that York College had an amazing – and unexpected – piece of equipment: a machine that lets you create your own bespoke ‘blister packs’.  Using heat and a vacuum pump, it essentially allows you to create a plastic mould around the shape of any small object.  While this is likely a very boring piece of machinery by most peoples’ standards, for me – with my art inspired by packaging design – it opens up lots of interesting opportunities for my practice.

I spent a few hours experimenting with the vacuum former yesterday, testing its limits and seeing just how big of an object I can seal into a ‘blister pack’.  Unfortunately it’s quite a small machine – not really of industrial scale – so I can’t be quite as ambitious as I would have liked with it.  Nevertheless it’s a real privilege to have access to a specialist machine like this at all: a reminder again just how valuable the AA2A program is.

Below are links to a couple of images of my experiments.  They aren’t much to look at: just some simple bowls and mugs I “blister packed”.  But they are quite exciting for me, as it’s been the first time I’ve been able to experiment for some time.  Over the last couple of years my practice has become a bit more refined & as a result I’ve approached projects using the same familiar set of techniques and skills.  But for this new project – in conjunction with York Art Gallery – I’m creating something quite different from anything I’ve ever done before.  As mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be learning how to create ceramics – then figuring out how to merge them with cardboard.  Part of this ‘merging’ process will involve the vacuum-former, I expect (i.e. to package ceramics within cardboard) – while others parts will require me to design cardboard shapes to fit over ceramics, and vice versa.  It’s all quite new, and still a bit vague in my mind– but I suppose that’s the nature of art.  The goal is to innovate, and challenge yourself.  And – (hopefully) -  have a bit of fun along the way…

Image 1

Image 2

Perspectives: Art, Liver Diseases & Me project now completed

February 27, 2015 by Landon Peck   Comments (0)

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I'll Take The Blue Pill

I'll Take The Blue Pill
Bone China, 12x12x40cm

My piece for the The Abbvie run project is now complete and will tour europe with 30 other works that will show at various conferences and exhibitions organised by the pharmeceuticals company. The project was set up to raise awareness of the personal and social impact of Hepatitis C.

I’ll Take The Blue Pill is a parody on the ‘alternate reality’ mythos that is appropriated by the Wachowski siblings in their epic sci-fi films, the Matrix trilogy. In the moment of the films’ primary catalysis Neo is offered two choices: a blue pill which will keep him ignorant and content within his present ‘existence’; or a red pill which will awaken him to the reality of mankind’s machine-controlled dystopia. Over the weeks of the project I had the privilege of having Max share many of the significant moments of his journey with me. Standing out from his experience was the vivid recollection of the shattering effect that his diagnosis would have on his ‘reality’ and the courageous struggle of dealing with that truth as he ebbed between denial and acceptance.

The object takes its form in a white bone china capsule that is in the process of degradation. With its organic parts burnt away, its fractured bone carcass is all that remains of its previous self. It stands upright on one end; a totem to our past wishes, dreams and desires, but also as a beacon of hope, courage, faith and forgiveness.

For the rest of my time on the AA2A residency at the University of Hertfordshire I will continue to develope new ideas and projects.

Max (left) and me      

What They Did Next - David Armes

February 26, 2015 by Tina Dempsey   Comments (0)

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So how are our AA2A artists getting on in the print studio at UCLan? Well there's a lot of activity and exploration as they develop techniques and ideas.

David Armes has been busy since joining the scheme and I asked him what he has been focusing on;

After spending Autumn 2014 sorting out the letterpress area at UCLAN and learning how to use the Stephenson Blake proofing press, I've spent the first few weeks of 2015 working on some large scale poster work. I have been experimenting with creating pattern and larger floods of colour to create backdrops for text. One of these is a commission for the American band Enablers for their upcoming European tour. I have also just started to print from found objects and ephemera in the studio, making them type-high so they can be inked by the press. I'm exciting to continue expanding these into a new series of prints.

As well as his own work David generously agreed to run a workshop demonstration for UCLan students on how to use the Letterpress, seperate blog to follow. Check out image album 'AA2A What They Did Next' for images of David's work.