PAPER Arts, Bristol: WITHIN / WITHOUT

An exhibition of 16 Illustrators over 2 separate weeks.

SQUAD

All 16 Ilustrators

Something pretty magical has been happening over these past few months, in and amongst all this commotion, stress and trouble. (There’s some good things happening going on too, not all bad). A good amount of us illustrators decided to get together and see if we can create something magical between us, and we chose to do this in Bristol. It had been spoken of briefly at the beginning of the year, and began to materialise as we got closer to christmas. We had to began thinking about which venue we wanted to use so that we could get some dates set in stone and so that we could finally start working towards something. Eventually we found a nice range of galleries in bristol that were able to exhibit all 16 of us. Af few of us went down to Bristol and decided to check these places out and get a feel of which one will be most suitable for the exhibition we’d like to show. For the people that couldn’t make the trip down to check them out, the others took photographs in order to show the others once they get home.

In the end, we decided to go for PAPER Arts. This venue is extremely central to Bristol and right next to Cabot Circus shopping centre and car park, so it’s a great location to have an exhibition. We emailed PAPER Arts to see what a weekly package included so that we could get an understanding of how much money we will be needing for the show. For that venue, it would be £200 a week, with 0% commission on all artwork, so the artist takes 100% profit. They offer assistance during the installation of the show and free invigilating throughout the show. This is handy for us seeing as we are all in the depts of finishing up our years work, so we will gain back some of our time that we thought we would be losing. They also provide A2 gallery posters and wall stickers from the designs of the posters we make. There’s also an opportunity for a personal artist interview  and social media coverage on PAPER Arts online platforms. This enables us to get a lot more coverage for our show and hopefully increase our number of viewers. If we decide to go with PAPER Arts, they give us20% discount on all fine art and printing services. Again, this will definitely benefit the vast majority of us who will want to print copies of their work to sell, or even for the exhibition work itself.

Jamie Stevenson kept on top of all of the organising for this degree show, with help from the most of us. He kept in close contact with the gallery and eventually we had 2 weeks booked in at PAPER Arts. 30th of March until the 13th of April. The thing with this venue is that it couldn’t really fit more than 7-8 people at a time (depending on the sizing of the work), so we therefore had to book two weeks, one after the other, and have two shows under the same title. This also means that we will then have 2 opening nights and 2 closing nights. When it came to paying for this adventure, we did what we do best and began making and baking. We figured out that for the 2 weeks, at £200 a week and then adding on costs for the music, alcohol, snacks and so on, we would be looking at around £700. We divided this by 16 and it came to £43, suggesting we pay that out of our own pockets to put towards the show. We decided that if we got some bake sales in there we would probably be able to cut that in half, and not be so out of pocket ourselves. We eventually managed to cut this down, and instead everyone was asked to pay £25 each instead of £43. A nice saving.

The next thing we had to do is think about themes and titles for the show. Some people already had previous completed work that they wanted to put in the show, and others were creating something new. Originally we were running with the name and theme ‘Inside / Outside’; we decided to have two titles names mixed into one separated by ‘/’ to highlight that there will be two consecutive weeks. We decided this would just be a starting point and imagined that when peoples work began to develop more and we began to see what people were creating, we would be able to better define our title. After this process, we finally came up with out title. WITHIN / WITHOUT. After deciding this, a brief described of the show was sent off to be included in their brochure:“The emphasis is on illustrative work that looks sensitively at both personal and social issues; exploring both the inner world of body and mind, and the outer world of human action and interaction.” We thought this would be an extremely good title, as it can be interpreted however; thoughts, dreams, the conscious and subconscious it taken more literally and showing in the inside and outside of something and so on. Now that we have finally got the title of our show, we began to put a poster together. Originally we were going to design it ourselves, and Sara Christova stepped forward and offered to design it. Anyhow, some time passes and Jamie asked the lovely people at PAPER Arts what we should do about the poster and they kindly offered to design it for us. They asked for a few photos of peoples work to include on the poster, so my work along with a few others were sent off. Here’s what we received back!

bristol poster 2

Bristol Poster

 

We were all extremely happy with the poster. One thing we were worried about was being able to make clear that there would be two separate open evenings for the beginning of each week, and that people would remember to attend the second after already attending the first. After we OK’d the poster, they got them printed and we began to distribute them about town, both Bristol and Cardiff. Something else we spoke about in our meetings (The 16 of us usually met up after the 12pm weekly meeting on Wednesdays) was producing our own leaflet. There wasn’t too many of us in the group that were particularly savvy and confident with using photoshop or indesign to make something like this, however Jake Rowles stepped up to the mark. The majority of his work is digital and he has a unique way of using these devices to create an individual style, and he managed to incorporate this into our leaflet. We decided to keep the leaflet rather simple and not overload it with information, just to have a small thumbnail image next to each persons details. These were out contact details, and most people just included their emails, blog addresses, websites and any social media sites also. Jake managed to design the leaflet in a way that clearly shows there will be two different weeks. By using a concertina design, he design one week on one side and the second week on the other. Our posters were already design by this point, so Jake took the colour scheme from this and used it for the leaflets also. Here’s what the end product looked like, and again we were all very happy:

 

After all these designing tasks were out the way, we began to focus on our own works. We decided who would be going in each week, and this was mostly decided on who could do what (due to it being in the easter holidays). I opted to be in the second week. For this exhibition I decided to include a piece of work that I had already completed last December. This was due to a few factors. There was the time that would be going into a piece of work for the show that I would be conscious of being spent more productively on my degree show work, so it seemed much easier to use something already finished. I also wanted to keep a sort of continuous theme and way of working throughout my exhibitions. The work that I decide to create outside of university is completely different to the work that I produce in the studio. I find this very sitting for me personally. I fully understand that the work I could have produced for this show could have also been included in my degree show work and my project work for university, however I decided to keep these two separate. Another reason is that I throughly enjoy this way of working and find it extremely therapeutic and rewarding, and I feel combined with the subject matter, they have a strong relationship and work well together. Previous tutorials with both Amelia and Anna have also proved that they aren’t keen on the techniques used, due to it being a rather common and popular way of working as an illustrator, and that I should try and keep away from it. I accepted and agreed with these comments (hence me not working in this way with my university work) so exhibitions like this one give me the chance to show another side of my illustration approach, and show the work that I can’t show in university. The work I decided to show is from the exhibition I did before this one, titled ‘-Exposure’ (see blog post). Here is the work itself:

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‘Under the Skin’

 

When I exhibited this work in The Abacus last December, I didn’t use anything to hang it with other than nails. As it was part of a residency, I didn’t work to any particular size, I just cut out a piece of paper that felt big and daring enough and drew up my design. As it was for the residency, I didn’t have any plans to frame it or show it in a particular way. I wanted to keep the piece rather raw and unkept, much like the residency. We were all extremely tired and the gallery soon enough stopped looking like a gallery and more like a studio, but that was the whole point so it doesn’t really matter. To keep this rawness and originality, I simply just used nails to hang the piece up in the Abacus. I decided to use quite thick nails and left them partially sticking out. However, for this Bristol show I didn’t want the same effect. I wanted a much cleaner finish and a more professional appearance, so I decided to get a frame. I took a trip down to IKEA and tried to find a frame that would fit my image. I thought I would struggle with it but thankfully, I found a lovely white frame that only set me back £15. I didn’t actually take my image with me when buying the frame so it was a total gamble, but thankfully everything turned up roses.

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Fitting image to the frame

 

When buying the frame, it came with an inner-frame/border which worked as a great stencil for where I needed to cut my original image down too. Once I had cut my image down, I got it into the frame and the job was done. I didn’t realise when buying my frame that it didn’t have a glass front, and it was in fact plastic. Once I had peeled of the protective layering the plastic was clean and clear, so I wasn’t too upset about it. Next part of the adventure was to set up the show!!

As I was in the second week our set up was later than the others. We began setting up on April 6th. As my frame measured up as just a little larger than A1, I had asked people in the group if any of them were driving down to Bristol and if I could pop my frame in their car. I was more than happy to get the train down there, but then Ayu said she would give me a lift down along with my work, so that was great! We arrived with and began to set up the second half of the exhibition as soon as everyone else had arrived. The people that were in the week before us had come along earlier that day and taken down their work for us to put up ours. Alongside showing the work, I had some prints left over from last year that I thought I could throw in to sell, and they were illustrated in the same way as the work I am exhibiting.

 

The initial setting up of the show went really well. It seemed to be quite a slow process and me and Ayu were the first to arrive, so we couldn’t begin setting up anything until everyone else got there so I feel as though there could have been better organisation within us all to make sure we all got there at the same time so it could have been a quicker set up, but apart from that it worked well. We got everyones work out on the floor and tried to imagine who’s would look good where, and who’s work complemented who’s the best. Our main issues were the sizing of the works and colours. There were 3 pieces in particular that were pretty colourful, and then the rest were more greyscale. We needed to find a nice balance of colour and alongside this, there were only 2 large frames pieces, mine included. So we had to make sure the work had a flow to it. Eventually we figured out a successful composition and we set it all up.

Unfortunately I couldn’t make the opening evening so I could not be there to celebrate with everyone what we had achieved, however the experience as a whole has been a lot of fun and it feels good to have an exhibition up in a different city to here in Cardiff, spreading out our wings and sharing our delicious art with the world. We managed to get a few little online responses and promotions, here are the links below:

Visit Bristol.co.uk

PAPER Arts.org.uk

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The Vanity of Small Differences

The-Upper-Class-at-Bay

Grayson Perry

We were extremely lucky to be able to get on a nice warm coach and be taken to Bath to see Grayson Perry’s most recent exhibition, ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’. This exhibition was an excellent depiction of class in today’s society, telling a story through 6 beautifully crafted tapestries. Grayson Perry describes:

“The tapestries tell the story of class mobility, for I think nothing has as strong an influence on our aesthetic taste as the social class in which we grow up. I am interested in the politics of consumerism and the history of popular design but for this project I focus on the emotional investment we make in the things we choose to live with, wear, eat, read or drive. Class and taste run deep in our character – we care. This emotional charge is what draws me to a subject”.

I have always been heavily influenced by Perry’s work. I have never worked with subject matter the same, but for me he has always been to artists that gives you that ‘wow’ feeling when you find yourself in the same as his work. Something I think that helps make this happen for me is that his work is detailed and interactive, which is what I am now learning I respond to best both in others work and my own. His work is busy, colourful, big and inviting and I can never take my eyes away. His pottery works have also been a huge influence on me, and I was also lucky enough to see them in the Tate Modern last year.

I didn’t leave this exhibition without buying his book. In there he shares with us many of his sketchbook pages, and as i’m sure you know, I do love my sketchbook. So this will be a feast fir my eyes, and something I can resort back too when I find myself in that good old artist block.

– exposure

exposure poster

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:

https://www.cassart.co.uk/blog/student_spotlight_exposure_cardiff.htm

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!

SUBSTANCE

Well, exhibition no.2!

We were lucky enough to get enough of us together to hold another exhibition at The Abacus again. This time it consisted of all students from Cardiff School of Art and Design, however it was mainly Fine Artists, so I was therefore the only illustrator contributing! But I didn’t let that scare me away. This exhibition is called ‘Substance’.

Sub·stance
n.
1.
a. That which has mass and occupies space; matter.
b. A material of a particular kind or constitution.

I was really looking forward to this exhibition, as I knew instantly that it would be the complete opposite of ‘Are You Lost Yet?’, so it would be nice to get a feel of how different exhibitions go. I did a lot of hard-working during the hanging of AYLY, so I felt confident enough when it came to hanging a second exhibition, and this was taken into consideration when people asked me to help hang their work. Their was such a variety of different art pieces within the exhibition, from taxidermy, prints, installations, videos and so on, a feast for the eyes.

I knew almost instantly what I wanted to create for this exhibition, working in a style that I only tried once before the previous year when illustrating a personal piece of a dinosaur skull.

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I really enjoyed working in this style and knew that I wanted to develop my skills further in this technique, so I began thinking of how I could bring this into Substance. Another subject that I have always wanted to illustrate and have shown some interest in is anatomy, so I began to combine the two. I wanted to focus on the head, and everything on the inner and also the outer layer, go right into the depths of the face, the eye and the ear to show the extent of how magnificent our bodies are and highlight all those little features that we don’t usually see.

This exhibition took up a lot of my time, it was very hard work and I began to fall back on my university work (baring in mind I had already done one exhibition which had also taken up a lot of my time). One drawing took over a week to complete, then two more on top of that. Then came hanging the exhibition. I began to grow very anxious and conscious of how much time this was taking out of my uni year but I tried not to let it worry me too much, as at the same time I can make sure I redeem the time I have lost and also enjoy the opportunity I have been given. All that aside, the exhibition went swimmingly, with live music from Howl and Grey Mondeo- we celebrated like we were celebrities. So, here are my 3 pieces for Substance:

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Here is a photo of them hanging in the exhibition.

I am extremely happy with how my work turned out and I am confident in this way of working and would like to take it into future pieces. I worked at an A4 scale using fineliner to dot my image. I then used www.printed.com  to get 5 prints per illustration printed in order to sell at the event and afterwards also. I had them printed on 2mm thick card and signed them also.

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So there you have it, here are my prints. I still have some available so if anyone is interested in purchasing any pleased don’t hesitate to get in touch. £20 each!

Have lovely day!

Are You Lost Yet?

MY FIRST REAL EXHIBITION!

I was lucky enough to get asked by Danielle Willison, another member on my course, if I wanted to participate in an exhibition called ‘Are You Lost Yet?’. A few other students from the course also took part in contributing artwork, so as a collective the body of work was strong. There were also contributing artists outside of the university, some strong and up-and-coming artists featured such as Ed Fairburn, and portrait artists Greg Stonard. I was so grateful to be asked to be part of this show and it was a great confidence booster for myself.

But that’s not the most part..

As time began to pass on by me and Danielle began chatting some more as she spoke to us as a whole about meeting deadlines. It was at this point that it became clear that there was a big struggle with most things to do with the show, so I offered my help. It was at this point that me and Danielle really became a team. After getting everything ready on time, my paintings, getting them framed and also the business cards, we met up days before the exhibition in order to hang the show. It was here that I learnt that the Editor of AYLY?, Tom, had in fact let the funding for the show slip therefore making it difficult to find the correct funding to make the show go ahead, after all the contributing artists had produced their work. But me and Danielle worked ourselves to the bone making sure we got everything hung in time for the open evening, this included taking down a previous show that was up before (because they didn’t come and take it down in time for us to hang AYLY) which cost us time, then cleaning up the Abacus, measuring the correct dimensions for which each and every piece had to be hung, drilling, organising local bands to come and play the show (for free too, as we didn’t have the funding) and then sound checks and so on. Not to mention all the little things in between, all the little things that were going wrong. It was stressful and we had little to no help from anyone else (apart from the team at the gallery, The Abacus). We managed to get everything up and running moments before the doors open and people piled in, and it was a hit. We have many artists showing their work, live music from local band Hipicat, Zac White, and spoken word also. Greg Stonard set up a little table and was doing live portraits on the night for donations, which went towards the printing of the Zine. Here are a few photo’s of The Abacus, the lovely little gallery situated near the Central Station here in Cardiff.

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Throughout the whole process, three film-makers followed us and made a short documentary showing you what went into the hanging of the exhibition. This was also shown in the cinema room of the gallery on the launch night, and was a great hit! You can see the video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQFy_hbEevA

It really is one of the most amazing feelings to see your work hanging in a gallery for the enjoyment of others to see. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Walls’, I had so many ideas of what I could do, but I decided to go back to an idea that I had back in 2013. In the summer I went backpacking around Europe and visited many beautiful countries and gazed upon all their beautiful buildings. Also, in March 2014, our course group visited Falmouth in Cornwall on an illustration trip. It was here that I took a handful of free postcards from a museum I hand visited, and these postcards were blank. I put 2 and 2 together and before I knew it I had 5 illustrations drawn up on these postcards ready to be painted and framed to be hung in an exhibition, and here they are:

cop er fal pari

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Top left to bottom:

Copenhagen, Berlin, Falmouth, Paris, Poland.

I was really happy with the final outcome. The launch was a success and I managed to sell all 5 of my frames within 3 days. 3 of which were bought as a christmas gift, another was spotted by a passer-by who got lost in Cardiff so he stumbled into The Abacus and fell in love with Copenhagen, so that was soon packaged up and sent to London, and another bought for a couple in Nottingham. It’s a nice feeling knowing that my work is hanging happily in someone’s home, hopefully bringing a smile to their face day-to-day.

For my business cards I wanted to keep to the colour scheme I had chosen, however I didn’t want your ordinary business card. I wanted to make them. So I came up with the idea of using coloured paper to create origami swans with my information tied to them. This was very tedious and careful work but that extra bit of effort was worth every little paper cut. I then decided that I wanted them hanging in a garden hanging basket, so off I tottled to Clas Olson where I found the perfect basket. I then coated it with white paint and bought a bracket for it to hang off also, and here is the finished product.

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During the launch night, the 3 film-makers made a second film showing you in a little more detail the time and effort, and this time focussing on the launch night. So here you have it, a 10 minute documentary showing you just what Are You Lost Yet? brought to Cardiff,

Enjoy.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNjQcLms8HU