in January, armed with a multitude of ideas and a copious supply of acrylic paint, I moved to Sheffield. Seven months later, and I can say with some authority that it is the best thing I ever did. Indeed, a word of advice to emerging artists struggling to find a voice in their current environment – move. If you move, everything is instantly brand new, exciting and engaging. You are removed from the confines and comfort of your previous situation and develop professionally as you network, negotiate and engage with new people and unfamiliar territories. Best of all, you will arrive to your new environment with no preconceptions, allowing you to re-invent yourself, start afresh or allow a wider audience to regard your practice.
After the initial process of finding my feet, getting a job and initiating my artistic practice in a new place, I began to get more noticed. Email correspondence with artists and galleries is now commonplace and I have even been able to negotiate an exhibition of my work, along with two workshop classes – which will give people the opportunity to make paints of their own.
So, I thought I’d share with you further details of my forthcoming exhibition and my workshops, which you can become involved in:
- Paint Making Workshop – Cupola Gallery – 1st September 2013
Giving people the opportunity to create their own paints out of food and to understand the processes of producing paint from scratch. This is a one day workshop, from 10 til 3, with an hour break for a lunch which will be provided. There are 8 places available costing £35. I believe two places are already taken, so you’ll have to be quick! more details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/310944582373524/?fref=ts
- Paint Making Workshop – Bank Street Arts – 28th September 2013
Giving people the opportunity to create their own paints out of food and to understand the processes of producing paint from scratch. This is an all day workshop and there are 8 places available costing £30. Lunch will not be provided for this one, alas! If you wish to book a place, then please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07792971646.
- Exhibition – ‘Material as Practice – Creating Paint From Food’ – Forum Cafe Bar – 12th August til 23rd September.
My exhibition at Forum Cafe Bar, Sheffield, will contain over 20 photographs of the paints I create. You can find more information here: http://www.forumsheffield.co.uk/art/comingup/michael-borkowsky. I am also hosting a launch night for this event. Details of which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/424716190975013/?fref=ts.
So, there we are, I hope there is something about my forthcoming activities that interests you, or at the very least, doesn’t bore you to death. And, if you’re in the Sheffield area in August or September, why not come and see the things I’m up to for yourself?
The City of Chester is known for a lot of things: Romans, shopping, being old and – surely most significantly of all – being where Hollyoaks is set. However, what it is not known for is a diverse and thriving contemporary art scene, and that’s because it doesn’t exist. Chester theatres have to survive on budgets of about 45 pence; the cinema is an increasingly dilapidated empty shell; and as for contemporary visual art, well, aside from having no contemporary spaces the sheer air of snobbery that exists within Chester’s walls is so pungent it can be smelt from outer space. Any exhibition containing contemporary visual art is met with rabid cries of ‘we can’t let this kind of thing continue’ from locals: These are kind of people that would get outraged if the beige hue on manila envelopes was decreased by a fraction of a percent. As you can imagine, these are anything but my type of people and they are certainly not an audience I wish to engage with.
There are some positive points to Chester that just about keep the tumbleweed from blowing. The music scene probably just about boarders on average and venues such as Alexander’s and Telford’s Warehouse to their level best to develop emerging performers. However, this interests me about as much as drinking a cup of hot piss. I’m a visual artist. And if I am to develop, I need to escape.
Towns and small cities can utilise the arts effectively. A quick pop down the road from Chester to Wrexham will show you that the arts can make positive and vibrant contributions to smaller communities. However, they do not possess the allure of larger cities, which effortlessly seem to captivate with Hollywood-style notions of prosperity. I have wished to live in a large city for some time. Indeed, a majority of last year was spent gawping at cities on Google Earth until I fell into a semi-conscious state. But for reasons that are both professional and personal, I opted for Sheffield.
Sorted then! Well, except for the tiny issues of packing, finding a job and finding a house in a city sixty miles away from Chester. Although it must be said that, whist on a break from the mind-numbing procedure of packing, an idea occurred to me: As I made myself a sandwich I began to consider the ingredients I was using. Cheese from Cheshire, mustard from Norwich and bread from …Well bread from Tesco actually, but nevertheless, it struck me that food is loaded with historical connotations which are grounded in local communities.
So can a city, a town, an entire county be defined by local food? Can areas be mapped according to the food it produces? More interestingly, can we manipulate and alter this local definition for artistic gain? For example Henderson’s Relish – a product local to Sheffield – and Colman’s Mustard could be exploited in order to represent each other: Blurring local and national boundaries and consolidating local histories. It is certainly a notion which can be explored. But for now, you will have to contain yourselves with this little number, which is Henderson’s Relish represented through the medium of Colman’s Mustard. Enjoy!