EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITY. I am going to be in a group show in Athens in May as part of a group exhibition called Platforms.
In an effort to raise funds we are calling out to artists to exhibit small works to be part of the show. We are charging everyone £5, and your work must be made on a food or drinks label.
Your work can be any subject and take any form, and must be presented unframed and unmounted. It must also fit within the frame of the label. You can basically do anything you want as long as you’ve used a food or drinks label as the surface of the work!
It can for sale (please keep it under 100 euros) and the deadline for entries is 10th April. If you want to be involved, let me know by contacting email@example.com
Acting as an appendage to Speculative Studio Spaces, I present to you some perfectly crafted chocolates.
These are no ordinary chocolates – each is attached to a particular process that artists undertake in their creative practice. These chocolates, then, allow the audience to relinquish control of artists’ processes and as such, a facet of their identity, their sense of authorship and their sense of ownership. The audience may now regard creative processes as subjective, open to the type of analysis, consideration and reflection usually reserved for …well, chocolates.
2014 has been a joyously productive beast with a tenancy to provide moments of reflection and a degree of transiency. My practice has meandered from the virtues of re-imagining still-life to exploiting the art found within video games to considering the studio space as a viable means of expression.
My identity as an artist has shifted. With a view to dismiss the problematic notion of being considered simply as ‘that guy who makes paint out of food’ I sought new ways of investigating the creative process, including looking at the nature of the idea, ways in which artists interact with their materials and their spaces and investigating the tension between the studio space and the exhibition space.
My year – in the context of my creative practice – began in February, as I threw myself into holding my first solo exhibition. Ironically, this particular endeavour provided me with a new found respect for collaborative work, as the strains of doing everything yourself left me exhausted and unfulfilled. Though it was a valuable experience overall.
March and April saw focus shift from our group exhibition in New York. SCIBase – a collaborative I’m a part of – was to hold an exhibition spanning two galleries in Jamestown, NY during April: Though of course the organisation and cash required to get artists over the pond required a great deal of planning. I cannot take much credit for the planning myself, I was just happy to be involved in this collaborative for the first time. Hopefully I will redeem such lack of direct planning with a collaborative I am trying to arrange for next year between SCI and Yorkshire Artspace.
There was a great deal of success to be found within our exhibition in Jamestown, not least because we became an example of a crowdfunding campaign that actually worked! Though, with regard to my actual practice, one thing became clear – My food based pursuits had reached a logical conclusion.
And so, to new directions: My work has always involved looking at ways to investigate creative processes and so, whilst the idea of ‘finding art in video games’ might have appeared to have come out of nowhere, I would suggest that the notion of taking something, removing it from it’s context and re-imagining it within another space is a subject I have always been concerned with.
From May to October I acquainted myself with the subject of video games and, through two co-devised and co-curated exhibitions at Millennuim Galleries and Access Space, met several artists who themselves are concerned with the themes found within gaming. On reflection, the exhibition at Millennuim Galleries was probably quite insular; a lot of work had to be done – from finding a place for artists to drop off work to finding exhibition walls in order to hang the stuff! – and I believe this amount of work had a negative impact on the execution. Perhaps I am being a little harsh due to the stresses of being directly involved in the organisation of it, but the exhibition on the whole seemed to lack a little atmosphere and perhaps became disconnected from its source material.
The lessons learnt during the Millenium Galleries Exhibition were applied to the exhibition at Access Space – a much more coherent, well-received, and fun celebration of what gaming can be. It’s probably the highlight of my year, and it’s success has allowed me to develop lasting relationships with artists and arts organisations – something valuable to an artist still within the relatively early stages of their career. Credit too should go to Access Space, who – as well as thinking the whole thing was a bloody good idea – were unparalleled in their support and guidance. I really hope I work with them again.
As we approached Autumn it became apparent that the transition from food-based work to something else still remained. I returned to the source of why I had been looking at food in the first place; namely, in an attempt to disrupt the process of creating works of Still Life. I began to develop work around the Physical properties of items, the materials we use and the choices we make in order to form a relationship with those materials and so, the idea of the ‘Speculative Studio Space’ was born, almost fully-formed, to act alongside my upcoming residency at Bank Street Arts as a strong springboard from which to leap into 2015.
There was other stuff too, of course, not least mine and Sharon’s ‘Reviving Leviathan’ collaboration and the exhibition I hosted at Funky Aardvark Gallery, Chester. All valuable experiences and all contributing to a fruitful and productive year overall.
Indeed, it isn’t over yet. I still have paint for sale at Cupola Gallery. Yes, the whole year has passed and I’m still ‘that guy who makes paint from food!’ I’m more than happy to make it if people enjoy it though. I just don’t want it to be all I’m known for; which hopefully I’m not anymore.
Anyway the paint, made from chocolate, retails at £5. A great gift for those chosen few who are fond of both painting and chocolate at this festive time of year. …Oh, that reminds me, happy ruddy holidays everyone 🙂
Taking ideas from artists and turning them into paint. Each paint is already primed with implications and preconceptions based on the artists’ ideas: This allows you to choose between using the paint as a raw medium, or exploiting the connotations found within the paint. The choice is yours.
Colour #2 – Empty Frame
Velvety, rich and decadent with the tactile consistency of freshly churned butter, Empty Frame is a double pigment colour with a subtlety that eludes many. Specifically formulated to stimulate non-visual inclinations, Empty Frame is able to effortlessly assail the senses.
Idea handed to me by artist Emma McLean
ARTISTS – If you have an idea for a painting that, for one reason or another, never reached fruition, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will allow your idea to be realised through the process of paint making.
Last Friday saw me manage and curate ‘Sweet Tooth’ – a group exhibition around the theme of food at Funky Aardvark Gallery, Chester. It was the first time I had been fully responsible for organising and curating an exhibition since my solo show at Gage Gallery, Sheffield in March.
The difference here was the refreshingly positive impact my show had on the other artists involved. Learning from the struggles of producing a body of work and promoting it alone, I decided that this particular venture would be appropriate for collaboration – with each artist approaching the subject of food differently and as such exemplifying the scope the subject of food provides to an artist.
We have my own work; a physical narration of a three course meal which seeks to exploit the physical properties of food, rather than the pleasurable effects food has upon the individual. We also have artists concerned with re-imagining the fairy tale; those using food to contain information that reveals itself to you through knowledge of your environment; those harnessing food’s capacity for metaphor and personal reflection,; and those who speculate what food could become. Whilst there is a diversity in the work shown, there is also a cohesiveness that underpins the experience, allowing for an inherently satisfying and engaging exhibition.
Each artist has contributed something which seeks to highlight, exploit of disrupts our relationship with food. From a collaborative point of view, and keeping in mind that not many of the artists knew too much about each other beforehand, the show works very well: It successfully provides an audience with an experience that broadens their perceptions of food and what food can be – with work that provides an inclusive sense of solace and work that seeks to challenge pre-conceived notions.
It is certainly one of the most enjoyable endeavours I had been part of, and fittingly acts as a neat way to call time on my entirely food-based work. It was enjoyable due to the diversity of the artists involved, and the social experience of meeting artists with similar artistic concerns. Although my practice is now moving away from food to look in particular at memory, I do hope to work with these artists again, as it was great!
So anyway, I press on – feeling as though I am emerging from this year ever more established and ready to further my own creative practice. I am sure this experience will inform my future endeavours and provide a marker for which to gauge future successes.
You can see ‘Sweet Tooth’ up until 17th September at Funky Aardvark, Chester.
With special thanks to the artists involved:
Unceremoniously, I have sprained my ankle, which has dictated a halt in creative proceedings. I have designed a make-shift studio in my living room, complete with hastily purchased paint products and canvases. However, progress is slow due to the endless balancing act of attempting to apply pigment to surface whilst keeping my foot in a levitated position at all times.
And yet, in the wake of such frustration, some excellent news. From September I shall be hosting a paint making workshop at Bessemer II Gallery, Sheffield, on the second Wednesday of each month. The workshop will give you the opportunity to play, explore and engage with the possibilities of paint, and will allow you to network and meet like-minded people. If you are interested, please contact me. The first workshop is on 10th September. See you there, we’ll have fun.
For the past few weeks I have had my commercial head thoroughly screwed on. As a contemporary artist untroubled by the stigma that is ‘making a bit of money’, I have decided to thrust myself into the realm of selling my work at a stall on a bank holiday weekend. Well, sort of.
Bird’s Yard is an independent shop that showcases local art and craft in Sheffield, and as such, seems like an ideal venue for which to see whether the paints I make have any commercial value. Moreover, the event Bird’s Yard is holding – Named ‘Farm Yard’ – centres on the theme of food and local produce: Doubly ideal then, seeing as the paints I make are made from ground food, egg yolk and a bit of sunflower oil. I will be unleashing my paints onto the steely gaze of the general public between 12pm and 4pm at Bird’s Yard on Saturday 24th May.
As well as my paints, I shall be selling work made using my paints, as well as giving the public a chance to attend a paint making workshop – which will give people the opportunity to make their own paints from food.
I shall also be selling other food related goodies, including paintings of fruit that are sold like fruit – cheaply and with a discount for bulk buying. Not to mention prints of teabags for a little as £1; postcards of my work and two zines that detail my fascination with mould and my desire to create a cookbook.
As an exercise in aligning the status of art to the status of food, I’d wager that holding a stall at an event such as this gives the opportunity for food within the realms of fine art to collaborate with its tangible and real-life subjects. For art to fall seamlessly alongside that which it is depicting is able to at once ground artistic practice and allow food to transcend it’s physical properties. I want my work to depict and relate to the value of food. Therefore allowing it to integrate an event that caters to the needs of greengrocers, bakers, preserve makers, and food proprietors successfully addresses my needs in an identifiable way.
As previously mentioned, Bird’s Yard on Chapel Walk will host ‘Farm Yard at Bird’s Yard’ on Saturday, May 24, from noon to 4pm. Why not pop along and see what’s going on? It is free entry, after all.
A little over a week ago ‘Shelf Life’ – my solo exhibition at Gage Gallery, Sheffield – came to an end. I have had a fair few group shows prior to this, but I would say that ‘Shelf Life’ was my first true solo exhibition. As such, it involved a great deal of organising, developing and promoting. There was a sense of relief when everything was sorted and I could just relax and allow others to engage with my work.
Whilst I can be relatively pleased with the effort I went to in order to promote the exhibition, I don’t feel as though the amount of work I did promoting correlates to the overall attendance. Perhaps this is something a lot of artists feel. On reflection though, I suppose that an emerging artist exhibiting in an emerging gallery in the winter is never going to draw hordes of visitors. Plus I believe it pays to never underestimate the unreliably of people. Anyway, let’s not descend into bitterness and instead focus on the positives.
As a personal exercise, what I wanted to achieve from ‘Shelf Life’ was an informed understanding of what elements of my practice are coherent enough to be developed. And that’s exactly what I got. The basic act of getting work up on the walls and looking to see what works and what doesn’t clarifies your approach and allows you to gather the knowledge required in order to progress. There is a certain therapy in ascertaining strong works from weak ones, and developing a greater affinity with your finished works. Perhaps this is especially true of conceptual artists, where it is the idea that takes precedence and as such, allows the actual work to be overlooked. I believe there is a balance to be found between concept and aesthetics and I believe that exhibiting allows this balance to be realised.
So, was the exhibition successful? Well, yes: It was well received by those who did visit and the process allowed me to develop my practice further. As a first solo exhibition, it helped me refine my body of work and, in turn, has potentially enabled me to hold more disciplined and coherent exhibitions in the future. Yes, it would have been nice to have sold more work, and it would have been nice if it was a little better attended, but it was not expected. I am happy with ‘Shelf Life’s’ achievements and it provides a solid marker I can use relative to future exhibitions. Not a bad start.
Whilst ‘Shelf Life’ – My exhibition currently showing at Gage Gallery, Sheffield – covers a broad spectrum of concerns regarding food, one of its most coherent avenues of enquiry is the principle of aligning the value of art to the value of its subject: If a piece of fruit can be purchased with ease from a market stall then, in the interests of engaging an audience directly and with sincerity, a depiction of fruit should be purchased similarly.
So in that spirit, I present to you a body of work that incorporates the monetary value of painting into its conceptual grounding. In short, I have completed over 20 paintings of 7 different fruits, and I seek to sell them at the lowest price possible. The paintings are rough, honest works that will readily provide you with the same nourishment as a work that seeks perfection, only in a way that is accessible and relevant.
Each fruit painting is on sale for just £5. Or you can buy 5 fruit paintings for £20. Not only does this relate to the concept of aligning art to its subject, but it also offers you the opportunity to buy original paintings at a very reasonable price. In doing so, you’ll also be supporting art in relation to the local community, and that’s always good.
If you’d like to buy any of my fruit paintings, then come along to Gage Gallery, Kelham Island, Sheffield, where they’ll be on display until 12th March. Alternatively you can email me about them, and I’ll see if I can arrange getting them to you. My email is email@example.com. Come get ’em while they’re fresh!
This is more of a freak post than a new one – it is a direct result of my previous post and acts as an appendage to it. It is merely to express my sheer disbelief at the fact that it is now less than one week until my exhibition and corresponding workshop.
I still have plenty to do but I am very much on schedule. I tend to channel the feeling of pressure in a positive and productive way, and at the moment I am producing about two fully completed works a day. Though when I expect the exhibition to contain over 150 works, an indication of the amount of work I need to do in order for my exhibition to be successful is presented.
It is undoubtedly natural to feel anxious about the formalities of hanging your own exhibition – incorporating all promotional work and writing information panels – but I’ve found I’ve benefited from being so completely absorbed in the process. Hell, I’d even suggest that the process has consolidated and refined my practice, and developed my professional outlook. Indeed, as a result of regular online networking, one establishment has even asked if I’d like to exhibit for them after my show has finished! Whilst we’ll have to wait and see the outcome of that particular folly, the fact that I have engaged people with my practice before they have even seen any artwork has got to be encouraging.
One thing I am sure of is the shape in which the exhibition will take. It will essentially focus on six avenues of enquiry, each highlighting the value and role of food within artistic practice. The principle of re-imagining still life – a fundamental part of my practice – is alive in every single piece of work that will be on display, and indeed the differing avenues of enquiry will compliment, develop and inform each other and exist relative to another.
Naturally, the implications of this is a wholly considered body of work, that offers an audience a place to lay out their thoughts towards food – no matter how sporadic – and allow them to develop into meaningful knowledge. Well that’s the plan anyway. I should probably stop rambling on about it to be honest. The work won’t do itself!
All that’s left for me to say is that ‘Shelf Life’ – the name of my exhibition – will be held at Gage Gallery, Sheffield, and runs from 28th February ’til 12th March. There is a private view on the 28th from 7pm. My paint making workshop will also be held at Gage Gallery, and is a one day workshop, on the 1st March, from 10am ’til 3pm. If you’d like more information about my upcoming exhibition and workshop, click here. or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.