There is a great buzz for me being in the library with the chance to just look at whatever appeals. Sort of like a luxury of choice. I was drawn to two distinct areas. First was dance theory such as 'Dance in the Field' and 'Capturing Dancing' with interesting discussion of dance notation. 'Coat Connemara' disscusses a film about a coat and its wearer, all fascinating and resonates with the filmic work I have done in the past. My other find was Photographic Memory- The Album in the age of the photographer. Here the particular section for me was Walker Evans - Photographic Albums -For Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Where 'Evans communicated the humanity of (them) ...in head-on bust length portraits without artifice, allowing their experiences, posture and clothing to communicate who they were....'. Lots for me to mull over.
At Today’s drop in I wanted to show the Creative Collaborators the options we have for working with Clay. I have started to recycle (Reclaim) some old dry clay, there is Black-Chunky, Crank, Earthstone Hand-building and some Earthstone Hand-building that has previously been stained a bit blue and some that has some Black Chunky grog (little stones) added to it.
We need to soak the clay in water. To create paper clay we add a pulp mixture made from us soaking Toilet Paper in water. I explained the properties and benefits of experimenting in this way and everyone had a feel of the wet clay which dried on plaster slabs during our meeting. One Collaborator took home some clay to have an experiment with over half term. I am excited to start making with the Creative Collaborators and am going to order some green stain that we can use on the Blue clay as this ties into a specific paper clay origami idea.
We need to make some plaster Slabs (bats) that we can try out our unconventional clay on. I explained that I tend to cast the plaster in large shoe boxes and that we can line them with texture (funky foam or wall paper) to give us a textured side for future use.
I spent today completing my image for the Companion Book. The lunchtime drop in was an opportunity for Students to pop in with their completed pages a couple of students did bring their pages in, I have scanned them and put them on this website and The Sketchbook Project Website. I have stuck all the images into the Sketchbook Project and will post it on Monday.
Today’s opportunity was to submit work for a Secret Art Show being organized by PCS Union Reps who work at Tate Liverpool, Modern, Britain and other London venues. The Art Show is to raise funds but it is an opportunity to exhibit a piece of your Artwork in a London Gallery that will be well attended and also inclusion in an online catalogue. I think it is a valuable habit for young Creative People to get into, taking part in Exhibitions proves you are a practicing Artist.
Only one student attended the Lunchtime Drop in today, we had a really interesting conversation about working on collaborative projects. The student plans to submit a piece of their collaborative project to my Sketchbook Project Entry, thus taking her project International. The way of working, disseminating Origami pieces with instructions to add a message and return to be collated and exhibited links really well in that I am able to help spread the pieces through my colleagues, friends, Apprentices, Students (all Creative people who will be interested and keen to take part). The origami paper folding element that is the construction of the individual pieces could tie in nicely to the Collaborative Practical Project if we were to experiment making paper clay as this is a technique I had wanted to demo.
18th January Intro to Lucy and Maria’s Class
I brought in my Portfolio (from Ba Design Degree and Masters of Arts Degree today as well as a small selection of my Ceramic pieces from different projects. I gave a 45 minute talk to the class, just explaining my background, achievements, struggles and future hopes. I asked for the student’s feedback and explained about my intention to use feedback to adapt my work to make more commercial designs whilst still retaining my integrity. I don’t want to make pieces to sell but I am keen to adapt my style to make pieces that have a wider appeal.
I told the students about my Creative Collaboration and invited them to join the Wednesday lunchtime Drop in sessions at any point as well as informing them about the Companion Book. I gave a few Companion Book pages out and do hope some of the students enjoy participating in this.
Trials (and Tribulations)
I have just put up a set of images on the site which I think of as a ‘sketch’ book. They are the majority of the work I have been doing so far on the residency. To fill in the gaps though, I am working on a digital reconstruction of a 17th century bodice from the Gallery of Costume Platt Hall, in Manchester. I was fortunate enough to start the first phase of this project in 2008/9 as part of the AA2A scheme and now that the digital restoration phase is complete I have been able to pursue the second phase of the project. This phase is the reconstruction of the restored bodice, using the digital print facilities available at MMU. I think this along with the images really gives a sense of where I’m up to…..therefore skip the rest if you don’t need the ‘tribulations’ bit.
There have been times when this project has seemed near on impossible, as my initial 'rough draft' blog post records. It is easy to lose perspective when you are a long way from the initial creative burst that starts a lengthy and detailed project such as this. On the positive side I am closer that I have ever been to completing this. The digital restoration is complete, as long as I don’t stray far from my rule that in the restoration I don’t enhance anything that exists on the original bodice. However looking at the detail there are always ways that the end print could be improved.
The digital prints are now as close as possible to the original (that is non-faded), colour and I have created 2D versions of the back and front as stretched canvases which have been put along side the original bodice to check the size, colour etc. of the restored versions.
The Gallery of Costume is looking to display the original bodice with the restoration along side it by March 2012. I have been to see the display unit that is going to be used and there seems to be only top suspension possible given the construction of the case. I am incorporating these details into the design of the bodice’s final form and will probably allow for more than one final outcome.
The main consideration in the project is that the restored, reconstructed object will be displayed along side the original, making the final form critical as it will have a direct comparison. Other pieces that I have created in this way stand on the own without a reference to the original form.
The 3D version of the object needs to be ‘constructed’ but the effects of ‘fore-shortening’ mean that there are parts of the object which do not appear in the correct form and it is necessary to generate them. The ‘final’ outcome will be more than one 3D version of the restored, reconstructed bodice to enable a curatorial choice of display method.
I was all eager this morning, sticking my posters up around the college (I did have a real fear that no one would turn up to the first Creative Collaborators Meeting) So I am overjoyed to report that 6 students turned up during the lunch break and I met a few more of you throughout the day who also seem enthusiastic.
You know who you are and it was really encouraging to meet you!
I hope other people follow the project on here.
It is not too late for other students to participate in the Sketchbook Project, my chosen theme is "The Companion Book" as I wanted to work on designs for possible later use as Valentines day cards. If you do want to participate 11x16cm is the maximum size, the work must be 2 dimensional and if you get it to me before the end of January then it can be included. I will scan your images and either the print or original can go in the sketchbook it is up to you. Your work will also be available to view online, see link below to view my last years sketchbook.
I will be back in the Arts Centre next Wednesday so please come find me for more info.
I have pasted my first 2 blog posts to the bottom of this one, because I had put them on the message board and not in the blog board.... Sorry!
I need Liverpool Students to collaborate with me on a project
First meeting Wednesday 11th January in the AA2A room at Lunchtime, The Arts Centre, all LCC students welcome, you don't need to be studying art.
The first part of the colaboration project will involve students work being toured Internationally starting in Brooklyn, really exciting opportunity that I hope can be a commercial as well as Creative Opportunity for you.
more to follow....
So tomorrow is my first propper AA2A day. Due to a dose of being not very well between October and December. I am eager to get started. I hope to set up my work space and do a bit of throwing practice.
Posters wil be popping up around The Arts Centre inviting students to undertake a collaborative clay project which will involve Wednesday meet ups and independent designing.
Will be able to confirm more after my first day.....
update after the first day: First day was interrupted by my acquiring an art class that I will tutor from now on, we will be doing a portrait project to start with. Very exciting and the reason many artists undertake residencies, unexpected opportunities like this!
I have however found my space and been introduced to lots of creative tutors. Drop in project sessions will start next Wednesday lunchtime and be a weekly event. I will also be popping into as many classes as I can on Wednesday's introducing myself and hopefully inspiring students to work with me.
Really hope I get a few eager collaborators.....
We (the AA2A artists) are not getting paid in money but are getting paid in kind through use of facilities and studio space. So if your practice spans a range of techniques and you have a choice of projects to pursue; the sensible way to plan the remaining 5 months of this scheme is to work on that which utilises the resources that are not available to you outside of your residency.
Speaking generally, I reckon the piece of equipment that has been used as bait most often across this scheme is the deeply desirable laser cutter [Comment if the lure of a laser cutter was a deal-breaker, or at least a factor in your decision?]
In the past week I have realised that for me, the casting and fibreglassing facilities are the most precious tool at my disposal during my short time as Artist in residence at Plymouth University. For an artist these resources seem to be the most physically and financially demanding. Because I can animate and produce computer graphics from my desk in my flat, I can paint and manipulate wood in my garden (at least on sunny days) and I can outsource various printing needs to local companies at miner cost. But the one studio environment I cannot easily synthesise is casting. It requires bulk purchasing of materials and elaborate control of the environment. So therefore, I have made the decision to use this time to produce 4 new sculptures. [Comment if you have found your Universities/Colleges fascilities influencing your creative/logistical decisions]
The poster that I designed to promote "BEER AND SKETCH BOOKS" has been chosen as AA2A's pic of the week. The campaign that bore the poster is my drive to encourage students and staff at Plymouth University to end more of their working days by meeting in the pubs that surround campus, to chat and draw for a bit, instead of immediately commuting home. I believe the process of sketching in pubs is key for an artist and one which I regularly employ to hone a variety of skills and engage with my community.
But why did a simple poster, with no organic form or illustrative qualities become raised to such a status?Well as Wendell Phillips once said: "If you want to be an orator, first get your great cause". The status of "Pic of the week" does not applaud my slick - if a little cliche - graphic design decision to use helvetica as the typeface. Nor does it commend my striking composition in black and white. What it does celebrate is my cause! The creators of the AA2A scheme believe in my idea and want to put it on a plinth to demonstrate how this man, this genius, this God they call Martin has managed to typify in one succinct A4 page everything that the AA2A scheme embodies! Or, they just like the sex joke on the poster.
From my observations of Plymouth University (and other campuses), there is an important element missing from the environment as it currently stands. In my role as one of the artists in residence I would like to re-introduce the time-honoured tradition of regularly sketching in pubs and encourage students, tutors, techs, AA2As and the public to see it as normal to have a pint and a chat in the bar at the end of the day.
These events (for want of a less formal term) are really important to me because I do honestly believe that sketching in the pub is a valuable method for simultaneously connecting with the public and learning about your peers in a way that feels natural. It's the informal side of a creative practice, the decompression period after intense cultural research. It's essential and I want to teach it to students.
* PLEASE COMMENT IF YOU ARE AN AA2A ARTIST WHO IS DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR *
(On a side note: It came to my attention earlier this week that the term "Sketch book" can mean research material to many students, thinking of one as containing pages of magazine snippets, photocopied images and hand-written academic notes. This was quite a surprise to me! My idea of a sketch book is sketched ideas, diagrams, illustrations from observation and early proposals for future works.)
I moved my sculpture (entitled "How women work according to men") into The Fine Art studio in the Roland Lavinsky building (Plymouth University) yesterday. The interactive work's most recent addition is the red, block capital wording on the front of the plinth which reads "PUSH BUTTON TO TURN ON"; a necessary amendment I felt as despite the sculpture being interactive, it is often observed tentatively from a distance with the viewer keeping hands firmly by side. This sense of a lack of permision to touch is inspite of the sculpture boasting a prominent and highly tactile arcade button, positioned at easy-to-reach level.
I distanced myself from the sculpture, reveling in the anonymity that comes with being the new guy on campus, and observed reactions as the students discovered the new addition to their shared space. Much to my relief the work continued to invoke the 50:50 mix of offence and entertainment that it always has.
I am doing a presentation of my work and practice next Wednesday at 12:00 in Babbage 411.