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Posts tagged “making paint

Fourteen for 2014

A happy and prosperous New Year to you all. I thought I’d better say that now, as the date is unnervingly on the cusp of being regarded as the ‘New’ year and is hurtling headlong into the realms of being regarded as merely the year. Indeed, I intended to write this blog a few days earlier, whereby it would have been readily acceptable to wish you all a Happy New Year. Now, I am in the danger zone of being exposed as a socially redundant and cretinous human being, due to ill-conceived and inappropriate wishes of happiness that are misplaced against our relentless and ruthlessly organised Gregorian calendar. However, I think I have got away with it. Just.

Anyway, seeing as the last one-hundred words are largely irrelevant, I would like to swiftly introduce you to fourteen things I wish to do in order to develop my career in 2014:

1. Produce a quality body of work. The nature of my work is temporary, subject to mould, decomposition and rotting. Whilst I wish to retain this, I also wish to create a disciplined and permanent body of work, which will be informed by my previous endeavours. I wish to expand on the theme of subverting the genre of still life by focussing on specific avenue of empirical enquiry.

2. Sell my paints. I’m not talking about a few one-off sales. I’m talking about marketing my paints as a product: Available through an online shop, through independent shops, through shops in art establishments, and through my upcoming exhibitions. I wish to establish these products as part of my identity, and if the product is unique and of good quality then my identity will be enhanced.

3. Go to more exhibitions. This is a simple one and probably something that all artists wish they did more. Intrigue, inspiration, networking and the possible instigation of collaboration can all derive from going to more exhibitions and workshops.

4. Go to more restaurants. As an artist directly involving food, and the experience of eating food, into my work, I think it is appropriate to eat at as many restaurants as possible – not to mention a good excuse.

5. Carry out my upcoming exhibitions with success. Bit of an obvious one this, but worth pointing out nevertheless. I want my work to be well received, to make a bit of money and for it to lead to other endeavours.

6. Look for opportunities. Kind of obvious, again. But any opportunity that grabs me should be applied for. I want to get involved with as much stuff as I can.

7. Become better at networking. This is something I need to work on: Whilst I am ok at online networking, networking in the real world is something that I still shy away from: Probably due to my lack of experience. Well, this year I want to change that.

8. Do more workshops. One big revelation of 2013 for me was the value of workshops. Not just to the participants but to your own practice. I already have two paint making workshops lined up next year. But the more of them I do, the better.

9. Make a book. I’ve wanted to make an art book in the style of a recipe book for years. This year I’m ditching all the excuses and going for it.

10. Link my practice to a strand of the local community. Or rather, I wish for my work to be relevant outside the art world. Food, of course, will forever be an essential part of human endeavour. I would think that linking my practice directly to an organisation that deals with food in some way to be mutually beneficial and could develop my practice in a way that corresponds to the local community.

11. Improve my website. Actually, I wish to improve my online presence in general. Stuff like this is always in a state of flux, as the relevance and ever-changing nature of social networking is always assessed. But simply put, I’d like my online presence to work for me a little more – engaging people with my practice and producing opportunities to collaborate.

12. Hire a venue for a call for submission. I have wanted to instigate a call-out to artists to submit work under the theme of ‘Video Games’ for ages. This year I hope I can achieve this, or at least move several steps towards it.

13. Find relevant part-time work. Something that I can use to inform and develop my practice whilst receiving a consistent monthly wage would be lovely.

14. Make money. Experience has taught me of the stigma attached to appropriating yourself as an artist who actually wants to make money. Experience has also taught me to disregard these stigmas and seek to achieve your own goals.

I think these goals are relatively modest, and can help lay a foundation for an established career as an artist. I am still very much at the beginning of my career, but am taking steps to become more prolific and more successful.

I would like to think that the above list resonated with you in some way. And I would observe that my overarching goal, like the goal of every professional artist for this year, is clear: Do more.

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My Paint-Making Workshop Experience

So, I’ve finally gone and done a bit of teaching. I have finally imparted whatever remnants of wisdom I have onto others, which they can apply to their own artistic endeavours. How did it go? Well, rather bloody well actually. And I am very grateful to Cupola Gallery for their hospitality and for thinking that a paint making workshop was a good idea in the first place.

My paint-making workshop in action!

My paint-making workshop in action!

My workshop seems to be pretty solid ‘straight out of the box,’ with only a few tweaks needed for my next gig at Bank Street Arts. 5 people attended, which was perfect because I was able to conduct the workshop with a sense of informality. It felt more like a few friends with like-minded ambitions that came together to chat about an artistic endeavour, which was lovely, as I was instantly able to feel at ease.

I started by introducing myself and my practice and showed examples of my paint applied to a surface. I then proceeded to conduct a working demonstration of how paint is created before the attendees had a go themselves: A pretty simple yet effective workshop model. However, whilst I knew more or less what to expect, what I hadn’t bargained for was how I would feel afterwards. A palpable sense of accomplishment engrossed me as I knew that those who attended had gone away with something useful, tangible and captivating.

However, my workshop was by no means perfect. Hare a few things that I will tweak for the future:

  • I need a few more props and materials. – I didn’t bargain for the volume of work that would be created. Bringing too many materials would be more beneficial than bringing just enough. I ran out of eggs part way through – though that was easily redeemed by nipping to ASDA. I also ran short of canvas board. Which was less redeemable, but I got round it by supplying paper and acetate. I also think that a hand-out, describing and imbedding what I said throughout the workshop, would be valuable for attendees to take home.
  • I need to remember that there is value in what I have to say – I felt a little awkward initially adopting the role of a teacher. What I do as an artist is quite idiosyncratic and intuitive: But I think that if what I do can’t be imparted in some way, allowing people to apply it to their own way of thinking, then it is useless. Workshops are a good way to share experiences, and the reason why people attend a workshop like this is to learn. Embracing the teacher dynamic with confidence may make for more coherent and engaging workshop in the future.

So, with this, and my experience in mind, I will now strive to make my Bank Street Arts paint making workshop every bit a success.

If you’re interested in attending my paint making workshop at Bank Street Arts on 28th September, you can find details here – https://www.facebook.com/events/649424818409817/?ref=22


The Art of Sharing

There have been a few whisperings reaching me of late suggesting that it might be bloody lovely if I shared a few of my techniques with regard to the process of making paints. Well, guess what? because I’m an unstoppably wonderful young man, I have now gone and included a basic guide to making paints out of food on my Facebook page! Can you believe my generosity? You can view said guide by clicking on the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.559867370721627.1073741826.239384542769913&type=1

I hope there is something to be gained from my guide. Sharing knowledge and applying that knowledge is something that art utilises really effectively and it’s an extremely useful way to develop professionally. So, enjoy. And while you’re on my Facebook page, you can even ‘like’ me, if you’re that way inclined. Or check out some of my earlier work, Or just shut the window down and forget it ever happened. Whatever you wish.

 

from Tea Bag to Paint

From Tea Bag to Paint

 


A Departure to the Countryside

Leaving food alone for a bit to think about trees instead.

Landscape. It’s a subject that – like still-life – can be given a bit of a kick up the arse in order to allow it to become relevant in the 21st Century. If we take into account my incessant desire to progress and embrace new artistic direction, it seems appropriate that a departure from food can emerge in the shape of re-considering landscape.

So winter is (Finally) beginning to recede, buds are tentatively emerging from trees and, more noticeably, embalms associated with the spring are beginning to appear: Woodland creatures can now be found on crockery, floral designs began to emerge on garments and as I was walking down the street, I noticed a woman wearing a small acrylic pin badge cut into the shape of a fox. Bearing this in mind, a poem began to form mentally, which regarded the acrylic fox-shaped badge as an object which, despite being lifeless, still retained connotations associated with a fox:

The Acrylic FoxNow, bear with me – there is a point to all this. You see, my initial hunch was that this poem must be related, or relatable, to the notion of re-considering landscape. And upon pondering the relationship between the two some more it hit me – The fox in my poem is of interest because it is removed from nature: It becomes a component; an emblem that, through the medium of plastic acrylic, is able to transcend its surroundings and become a symbol, a fashion statement, an entity that becomes open to subjectivity and abstract thought. The fox is no longer an animal that is merely attempting to survive: It is instead a statue.

Can we apply this to landscape? When the components of landscape are removed from their surroundings, and applied to something else, what are we left with?

I propose that by manipulating these components just enough so that they are to become perfectly usable as paints, whilst still enabling them to retain their intrinsic natural elements, then what you will be left with would be a medium with infinite possibilities which can be applied to a surface and at once represent visually whatever subject an artist wishes, whilst also retaining the subject of landscape: Landscape will still exist – incognito, still and subtle – but embedded within whatever subject the paint is said to render.Paint Made From Soil and Bark (Oil on canvas board)

‘Paint Made From Soil and Bark’ (Oil on canvas board)

So basically, I’m doing what I did with food, only with landscape, except here I am regarding the components of landscape in a richer way. This, in turn, has allowed me to ask critical questions of my food-based practice. Why am I choosing the food I am choosing? Are the components of a meal more important than the end product? Does an audience consider the same food relevant as me? These questions would not have emerged if I did not take a slight departure from food to consider landscape: Therefore, my professional development may have stagnated. This confirms my belief that it is important to embrace whatever challenges come your way: If you don’t, you may end up creating things of no value to an audience.