I was lucky enough yet again to be part of another beautiful exhibition with all my close friends. Following on from last years exhibition (2014) titled ‘Substance’, we got ourselves back together to create something bigger, brighter and a little bit weirder.
All together there were 13 of us, working in The Abacus (Which is sadly closed down now). However something magnificent and wonderful about this year is that we managed to bag ourselves a 3 day residency there from the 8th-11th December, with an opening night the evening of the 11th to celebrate the end of the residency and opening up the exhibition for the next few days. Whilst we were all down there working for those 3 days straight, the doors to the Abacus were left open in order for members of the public to come in at thier own will and be able to see us working both individually on our own works but also being able to witness how we all worked as a team in our own environment; giving opinions on each others work, helping one another carry/hang/hold work, dancing to the music we played and taking it in turns to make cups of tea (and when the evening came, buying some beer). The atmosphere was strong and lively and we fed ourselves off each others energy. I found myself in a brilliant new state of mind, that I hadn’t especially experienced before. It was different from our studios at university; I was surrounded by my most treasured friends and everyone was working so hard. The work I produced for this residency consisted of me standing on my feet for hours, whilst tediously and constantly using a black posca pen to produce tiny dots. My days at the Abacus were usually 11 hours long, sometimes more, and by the time I found myself finally resting in bed, my closed eyes were haunted by flashing dots. (Suffer for your art, eh?)
When it came down to deciding what I would produce for this piece, I was rather anxious. This was down to a few things; I haven’t ever been part of a residency before, and as an artist I am usually used to created work over an extended period of time rather than constantly working on the same piece. I was the only illustrator within this exhibition, finding myself greatly out numbered by fine-artists, so I felt a little like the ugly duckling. Finally I decided that I wanted to work bigger than I have worked before, which again was something brand new to me. So I had a few concerning thoughts about it all, but everything worked out fine. I drew up my image onto paper which wasn’t cut to a particular size, however it would measure up around A1, and then the dots began.
I wanted to continue in the same illustration techniques as I had worked in the previous year, as I would like to build a strong body of work in this style. I choose to work this way only outside of university, as I am getting off the paper within my studies, yet I still enjoy working this way so I keep it to myself. I also wanted to stick with the same subject matter, which is the human body. Last year I produced three A4 drawings uncovering what’s beneath the skin of the eye, the ear and the mouth. This year, with the ambition to work bigger, I wanted to get more detailed too. The way our bodies work so hard and stand up so well has been a fascination of mine for quite some time now, and it’s buried below our thick protective layer of skin, so we often turn a blind eye to whats really happening within us. So for this piece, I wanted to expose it.
I suppose I took the theme quite literally with this piece, exposing all the greatness lurking inside us. I knew that I wanted to to keep part of the illustrated body whole and empty, with skin still intact, in order to highlight the smoothness of the skin and to emphasise the dramatic difference to what’s beneath. I chose to work with the female as it can go through so much. Another piece I did, Illustrating a baby still within the womb, sits nicely with this piece. By choosing to work with the female body, I also had the opportunity to expose how beautiful breast tissue can be. When I first drew up this image, I originally drew in hair. I later decided that it wasn’t necessary. I feel like it would have been too much detail compared to how much I was including in the main body.
– CASS ART –
Something that was pretty exciting about this exhibition was that we had funding from Cass Art. Sarah Padbury, 3rd year Fine Artist and also exhibiting work in the show, managed to sort this out for us. We ended up being sent endless amounts of paper, spray paints, acrylic paints, brushes and much more. This was extremely handy for us all and saved us a lot of money. They also helped with advertising our event, and even travelled from London to see the show on the opening evening. A report of the show is up on their website for all to read:
Overall I really enjoyed this experience, and have definitely been one of my favourite memories made whilst living in Cardiff. It is truly something else when you’re working with such lovely people constantly feeding off the atmosphere to create something beautiful for the public to enjoy. Watching everything unfold around you and come together at the end to then celebrate it with everyone around you is truly spectacular!