Woah, time has flown by...
So Christmas and New Year have passed and looking back, I'm glad I got some good solid induction in before Christmas. I've not yet been back to PCA (more on why to come) since my print room inductions (which were very exciting: great facilities for sure), and getting them under my belt has meant that the planning of my dossiers is well under way.
Since being back from the winter break I've been very busy trying to earn my way back into the green (via the call centre, PrtScrPress, and some workshops), this has meant I haven't had much time to actually get myself down to PCA. Also, I've spent the last two weeks doing my new quarterly commitment of producing the Loophole Supplements, these are now at the stage of being complete meaning that I'm now free for the next month and a half (on Wednesdays and Fridays thanks to my new shift pattern at the call centre) to concentrate on Public Notice.
Work/work balance aside, I've also been busy with developing much of the backbone to Public Notice. I've created the first 'work' (planning notice), which was placed in Haldon Forest a few weeks back. It was made from air-drying clay and white acrylic paint and proposed a ludricous plan for the soil network underneath Haldon's trees. More will become clear if you see the pic, also once the work is in the dossiers (and on the website). Until then I'm staying schtum.
I've decided that the notices are going to take three forms in all:
The three forms are going to be used in different scenarios, depending on the context and aim of the notice. The clay ones are strong handmade objects and contrast completely with the feel of laser cut perspex, they offer up the chance for an aesthetic or conceptual choice for the most planned notices. The Riso print notices will be for 'on the spot' notices, these will be for far away or spontaneous works.
I've also finished the design of the logo for the Dept, see my image gallery
On a related but separate note, the dossier's cover materials and design are all purchased, complete and waiting. The covers are going to be plywood (3.5mm) this choice is based on a variety of reasons:
Anyways, I feel that's enough updates for now. More will follow.
I plan to be in PCA this Friday (to get to grips/get used to screenprintin) and then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of next week too. My aim is to get the dossier covers printed and possibly laser cut too (this depends on a few factors, but aim high I say).
Once this is complete, I will then be straight onto thinking through the next way to use the PCA facilities. That workshop idea needs following up for one...
I spoke to a lady on Twitter yesterday who runs a lovely interview site called 'Drowning Dogs'. It's named after a dog that is in one of Goya's Black Paintings. After complimenting her on this name, I then mentioned that if it is a metaphor for artists trying to keep their head above water and sustain their practice, then I feel more like a chihuahua in a washing machine. At least I'll smell clean once this cycle has finished.
Yesterday I made my second trip to PCA to get my affairs in order before we reach the Xmas break and I begin to panic at my lack of progress.
It was a great trip, both internally (project development wise) and externally (in meeting people and making connections).
I've now got a time booked in, next Friday, to have a full induction to the print room in PCA. I met with Emma Gribbles (Head of the Dept.) yesterday to discuss my plans, it went very well. I left with a new burst of development for the project's route forwards. My main aim in this meeting was to lay out my intention of getting use of the screenprinting facilities before Xmas is upon us, in order for me to create the 'dossiers' that will be the backbone of the project. Turns out, the screenprinting possibilities are much wider than I foresaw! Not only can I screenprint in colour (as I'd expect) but they use flock, metallic paints, glosses, and more. And all of this is available to me! Hearing this made the design for the cover explode in my mind, I can almost see it forming!
This news was bolstered by Emma informing me that I'll also have full access (dependent on my level of ineptitude) to the laser cutting equipment! This is a-mazing... A real opportunity I am going to grasp, probably not only for my main project.
All in all my first meeting with the print crew was very encouraging and I can see myself fitting in well within their schedule and hopefully gaining some insight into what the students there are up to as well.
I also met once again with Jason, the AA2A program leader for PCA. It was only a short meet as I was introduced to a whole range of staff, including a chap called Benjamin Wright, a fellow Riso user. It was great to hear he has the same passions and difficulties with using these old machines (we can't afford the newbies...). We discussed ways to develop the Riso ink range (something I'm sure the whole Riso community is toying with), it was good to know I wasn't alone in doing this!
I also met with one of the design lecturers who has recently setup a very interesting space in one of the PCA studios called the Design Hub. This space acts as a point of engagement for practicing designers/creatives and the students at PCA. The aim of the space is to get in creatives to have mini-residencies and run projects from the space, whether it be on a drop-in basis or a mini-project. Not only is this a great idea for an art college, but it's also something I would like to take part in myself. Kamal (the lecturer in question) was very keen to hear about the possibility of getting the Riso into the space for a couple of weeks. I love the sound of this idea, but the pragmatics of how it could impact on the printing service and my own work could be a stumbling block. We'll see how this develops.
All in all it was a great visit, all be it a physically non-productive one. I think this is something I am slowly beginning to accept about my way of working. I have long gestation and planning periods before a condensed period of production. This is the result of working conceptually I guess. One thing I want to be sure of though, after having seen the vast array of equipment I can use) is that I find during the year to experiment with the media itself, not just utilize it. I feel if I dont do this it will be a real shame.
So here we go, onto chapter two: the beginning of my practice in PCA. The new balance I must strike (after structuring my work/practice life in the past weeks) is now to strike a balance between experimentation and production. This must all sound so cliched, but it feels organic, which is surely a good sign...
Next week: the production of my dossier covers. In the meantime: gathering the appropriate card stock/binding tape/binding mechanisms to suit the design (also to be done).
In other news, I'm also getting on the ball to access the ERC (the equipment hiring dept), it is VAST and with small side projects in mind, this will prove invaluable. More info on this as and when it becomes.
So it's been a slow start to my time at PCA. My introduction with Jason Hirons and meeting with fellow AA2A resident Tessa Jane was very enthusing, but work commitments since then have meant it has been difficult for me to organize my next visit.
My plan is to get my inductions for the facilities under my belt and to, if possible, organize a workshop using the risograph with some students if they fancy it. This has proved elusive to date thanks to some big print jobs via PrtScrPress.
I guess this is one of the problems I'm going to have to manage during this year. Because I live in Exeter and my studio is at the Phoenix, I have to really plan in advance any visit to PCA. Along with this the way print jobs come in to PrtScr is very ad-hoc. To overcome this I've now set a print day: Thursday. Outside of this Wednesday is to be my practice/AA2A day. This is something I've been planning on doing for a while and AA2A, in a way, has spurred the move. I want to make the most of this opportunity and my practice needs a good structuring anyways. I've also managed to change my hours in the call centre, I'm now working full days on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, leaving Wednesday for my practice, Thursday for printing, and Friday for whatever is left hanging and 'admin'/printer maintenance type stuff. Then, hopefully, Saturday is my day of rest, but we all know how that goes.
Back onto the project: I've begun setting up some of the initial plans for how it will take place. I've begun sourcing materials to produce the overall dossiers and also have two or three pieces already in development. I've even managed to gain some help over in Folkestone from someone I've worked with in the past, meaning the project will extend much further than my own locality (something I want to develop further as the project grows). I've set my schedule for how many pieces I aim to make a month (beginning in January) and I have a rough list of who will receive the dossier and the monthly reports. So far so good. One thing I want to make sure of is that I keep my ambitions under management and don't let the idea outgrow the means. That would surely mean a catastrophic and stressful AA2A residency.
Without giving too much away, the Folkestone piece (the first work and the benchmark) is going to be placed onto the promenade and it's components include a charter ferry, Michael Fish, and the year 1987...
I'm sure all of this seems fluffy and cryptic, and that's the way I want it to be for now. If I tell the whole story there's no point in it becoming a work, plus there will hopefully be transformations on the way to it being realized.