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Posts tagged “video games

Reflecting on Sun and Moon

Last Wednesday saw the opening of Sun and Moon – an open call group exhibition intended as both a celebration of and investigation into Pokemon!

7 artists are represented, each displaying their own insight into their perceptions of the franchise. There is a very diverse range of work on offer considering the theme is so niche.

As an organiser of the exhibition, it’s been a very relaxing and trouble free experience and I’d like to thank Mugen Tea House for being so accommodating.

My own work for the exhibition sees me take items from Pokemon Sun and Moon and re-imagine them as real life objects. Including a Burn Heal that takes  cues from 1950’s sun tan commercials, an Energy Root in the guise of a health food and Sacred Ash, which has been afforded religious contexts.

You can catch (lol) Sun and Moon Tuesday-Saturday at Mugen Tea House, The Hide, Sheffield until 3rd November. They offer fantastic tea and cake too, so it’s well worth a visit!

Sun and Moon – An Open Call Exhibition Celebrating Pokémon

This open call is now closed. Thanks to all who submitted!

Sun and Moon

An Open Call exhibition celebrating all things Pokémon.


            ‘Pikachu, Still’ (2016, Acrylic on canvas)

In celebration of Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, along with the arrival of Pokémon Sun and Moon, Sheffield based artists Michael Borkowsky and Damien Fisher are hosting a Pokémon themed open call exhibition at Mugen Teahouse, Sheffield, from 23rd November – 2nd December 2016. This is in line with Pokémon Sun and Moon’s release in the UK, which is on 23rd November.

Pokémon has been captivating and delighting audiences for 20 years this year. But beyond its cute façade lies a myriad of complexities: From themes of identity, travel, nature and relationships, to the implications of collecting, exploring and reaching a common goal, it seems that the narratives that exist within Pokémon can be applied to any art form.

So, with that in mind, our open call exhibition is looking to assess Pokémon from a contemporary art platform and will examine how the experiences within it can be pulled from their original context for further contemplation.

We’re looking for art work that extends our experience and knowledge of Pokémon beyond the realms of fan art and exposes how the themes within the franchise are applicable to our own lives.

Our exhibition will be a fun and intriguing celebration of Pokémon that might just alter people’s expectations of what Pokémon can be! We will be running events alongside the exhibition at the venue and there will be an opening event. Details will follow in due course.

If you’d like to be involved, get in touch! We’re looking for artists of any discipline, background or ability to submit work.

How to Submit

Artists may submit up to 3 pieces of work and all work must be no bigger than 1m in any given direction.

To submit work, please send an email to with the following:

  • Your name
  • Title of the piece(s)
  • Dimensions of the piece(s)
  • Up to 3 JPEG images of any given piece.
  • Price (if appropriate)
  • A statement of up to 100 words (if desired – this may be included as wall text in the exhibition)

If the work you intend to submit is performance based, we will accommodate you in allotted times over the course of the exhibition.

People wanting to submit Audio/visual work must bring their own equipment (TV, tablet etc.). There will be a limit to how many pieces of work of this nature we can accommodate. The exhibition will be manned at all times, but equipment will be left at your own risk. Artists may want to consider having their own insurance for their work.

If your work needs to be printed out then it is your responsibility to do so.


Mugen Tearooms is a specialist café and arts venue at The Hide, Scotland Street, Sheffield S3 7AA. Opening times are: 10-6, Tuesday – Friday; 10:30-4:30 Saturday.

The venue may be open at other times for special events over the course of the exhibition. Details of this will follow.


The deadline for submissions is Sunday 6th November at 11pm. Applicants will be notified as to whether they have been successful or not on Monday 7th November.

If your submission is successful, you will be notified of hand in and collection dates.

…Best of luck, Pokémon masters!

© 2016 Pokémon. © 1995–2016 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. Pokémon, Pokémon character names, are trademarks of Nintendo

Playing with Poetry

Positioned in between satisfying my crowdfunding rewards and waiting for perfume materials to arrive, I find myself in a brief period of reflection. Able to turn my mind away from the world of perfume briefly, and revisit something initiated last year – finding art in video games.

However, I wish to further my exploration into extracting poetry from video games rather than aping it. And so, I present to you poems creating by taking video game code and isolating parts of it, revealing text:



The idea remains – to extend the gaming experience into areas that reveal video games as a meaningful cultural force in a way that transcends their original purpose. Using video games as a platform for creative exploration illustrates a rich and full capacity for social, moral and personal comment. And assessing gaming from a fine art platform enriches our experiences with them. It’s a subject a great deal of passion for and something I wish to explore further. Indeed, hopefully at some point next year I’ll be setting up another open call about video games with fellow artist Sharon Mossbeck.

For now though, I’ll content myself with these pieces of work. They’ll both be on display at Arena Gallery, Liverpool, on the 8th and 9th August, along with work by other members of SOUP Collective. So do pop along if you can!

Studio Spaces, Perfume & Video Game Coding

Over the last week I have been doing a fair bit of juggling; visits to BasementArtsProject, Leeds and Access Space, Sheffield have re-kindled my desire to explore and develop my Speculative Studio Space project – with exhibitions now planned in September this year and June next year. As a project that has been superseded slightly by Perfume as Practice, it’s great to give Speculative Studio Spaces a little attention, with exhibitions to work towards and events to plan. Not to mention developing the project in a coherent and inclusive way.

Video games too, have re-entered my creative concious, with an opportunity to exhibit a poetry piece in Liverpool early next year. My initial efforts attempt to reveal poetry in the coding found in video games, extending the experience of gaming by offering new perspectives and attempting to penetrate the language of code in an accessible way:


Revealing poetry in video game coding


And as for Perfume as Practice, well most of my crowdfunding reward fulfilment has been …eer …fulfilled. This means that I can finally stop thinking about crowdfunding technicalities and actually begin to make the work, which is quite a liberating feeling! Now, time to knuckle down.

Crowdfunding Projects – Three of the Best

As my own crowdfunding campaign reaches its final few days I begin to reflect on the projects that have caught my eye over the last month. In the spirit of sharing and reinforcing a sense of support that crowdfunding offers, I present to you three projects that are currently live and that I believe are well worth supporting:

Save 162-170 Devonshire Street, Sheffield

A project quite close to my heart, this. I have only been living in Sheffield for 2 years, and Devonshire Street was the first area that I felt connected to. There was something about it what made me feel a part of something. It is vibrant, unique and has a true sense of community. I believe that demolishing 162-170 Devonshire Street will greatly dilute that sense of community, as well as part of Sheffield’s history and heritage. It’s definitely worth fighting for. You can find out more here.

ODOU – Smell and Perfume Magazine

A project that bears parallels to my own, ODOU is a magazine dedicated to the sense of smell. ODOU seeks to explore scent, what scent means and ways in which scent can be understood. Designed and written with an obvious passion for the subject, ODOU might just alter, awaken, bolster or challenge your perception of scent. You can find out more here. 

Yooka-Laylee – a 3D Platform Rare-vivial!

If you’re as big a fan as 3D platforming as I am then I highly recommend taking a look at Yooka-Laylee. The team behind Banjo-Kazooie is looking to re-capture the spirit, fun and charm of 3D platforming whilst also seeking to introduce new elements. Beautiful, immersive and colourful, Yooka-Laylee looks set to be an instant classic. You can find out more here. 

…So there we are: Three completely different projects, each celebrating the diversity of crowdfunding and how crowdfunding campaigns can provide an inclusive and nurturing platform for dynamic and engaging projects. I highly recommend you take a look at all three projects. And while you’re at it, I suppose you might as well take a look at my crowdfunding campaign too?! There’s only a few days left, after all! Take a look at: …thank you 🙂

Charting My Year of Change

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 🙂

2014-11-26 17.20.09

My Chocolate Paint for sale at Cupola Gallery, Sheffield

Playing with PLAY!

As PLAY! is open from now until 31st October, I thought I’d blog about it a little differently – offering small yet enticing snippets of information cunningly designed to make you want to drop everything and head to Access Space, Sheffield.


An image from the instillation day. More images and content will follow.


PLAY!, if you don’t know, is an exhibition around the theme of video games, devised and curated by myself and artist Sharon Mossbeck. Beginning as an open call, PLAY! allowed many artists – both national and international – to respond to the theme of video games. Responses were vast, with artists using games as a vehicle for personal reflection, social comment, and metaphorical descriptions of complex issues, as well as a tool for escapism and as a window highlighting shared experiences.

14 artists and 17 pieces are represented, offering the viewer the challenge of processing a lot of information within a small space – a process intrinsic to the workings of a games console. Well, that was the plan anyway. I think it was successful, but you can see for yourself by visiting Access Space between now and 31st October (though it’s closed Sundays and Mondays.)

You will also be able to find out more information on PLAY!’s official page, found here.


Pixel Poetry as Political Practice (well, sort of)

Last Thursday I attended ‘In Our Corner’ – an open mic might at Bank Street Arts which highlighted the fact that politics is able to exist within innumerable defined spaces, including within creative practice. I already knew this, but what it highlighted was the concept of removing something from its original context and providing a platform for it to be assessed within a different space, thus drawing alternative conclusions.

Via a few leaps of logic, a few cups of tea and a few sessions of Final Fantasy IX I began to realise that my Pixel Poetry series organically aligns itself to the notion of removing something and placing it within a new space. Taking a game and turning it into a poem is able to create a space where video games can exist away from the trails of moral and political context:  They may exist with purity and may well illustrate the original intent of their makers – as vehicles for fun, play and to harness the virtues of social experiences. Games are great, and my poetry seeks to highlight that; extending the experience into the physical world and allowing alternative conclusions to be drawn regarding the nature of video games, the themes within gaming and gamings effect on the human condition.

Equipped with this new found esteem, I set about conducting a job I’d intended to do for a while, but now with added personal reasoning: To write my poetry on the walls inside Electric Works, Sheffield:

2014-09-23 17.28.09

My poetry on some walls. This is the first time it has existed in any tangible way.

This is the first time my poetry has existed in the physical world. It won’t be the last; with two of my poems and a zine containing my poems due to appear in PLAY! – an exhibition around the theme of video games due to open this coming Friday (3rd October.) I am also hoping to do readings of my poems within a poetry group at Eten Cafe, Sheffield, from the end of October.

I now feel armed with a strong reason to further my poetical endeavours. As a model, the fact that I am allowing gaming to exist within another space greatly intrigues me, and I wish to further this practice to see where it leads. Possibly even away from poetry and text works.

PLAY! will open on 3rd October at Access Space, Sheffield and will continue until 31st October. There is an opening event on Friday 3rd October from 5.30 – 8pm. Everyone is invited and it’s free! The exhibition promises to be fun, and may well just alter and further your perception of gaming and what gaming can be.   


Finding Art in Curating

Whilst there is nothing particularly fresh and innovative about considering a curatorial project as a work of art in its own right, I have recently began to reflect on my curatorial endeavours and concluded that a different approach is needed for ‘PLAY!’ – an open-call exhibition devised by myself and Sharon Mossbeck.

2014-09-21 15.52.25

Hard at work arranging the works of art submitted to PLAY!

Both Far Lands and Sweet Tooth – my two previous curatorial projects – were relatively successful; gaining accolade from an audience and providing a platform for socialising, networking and further collaboration for artists. However, I have recently began to consider how the theme of an exhibition should have a direct relationship with how the work is curated.  I have began to consider artwork almost as material – a tool I can use in order to compose a piece of work, with the exhibition space acting as a surface.

So, how should an exhibition around the theme of video games within a fine art context be curated? Or even, how do I want an audience to respond and react to an exhibition around the theme of video games? Well, given the small venue size and how a small venue size relates to the theme, I have concluded that I want the audience to feel as though they are inside a games console – an intrinsic part of it – and as such, required to process copious amounts of information: Analysing, scanning, distinguishing valuable information from worthless information, holding information within memory, or regarding information at face value.

A computer within a games console is required to process countless information in order to arrange, position and assemble a video game in a way that makes sense to an audience. If I were to treat this as something physical; requiring an audience to regard varied and copious works of art within a very small space, then the end result would be an assault;  A maximum intake of virtual reality appropriated as a tangible, physical entity.

This idea of playing the the function of curation in order for it to be relevant to the theme of the exhibition is intriguing to me, having never really considered curation as anything other than simply something you have to do in the past. I like the idea of manipulating the resonance found within the space in a way that suits the thematics of gaming – forging an intrinsic connection with the audience and the theme. Hopefully it will look as good in reality!

PLAY! will open at Access Space, Sheffield on 3rd October. There will be a P.V on the 3rd from 5.30 – 7pm. It will then run until 31st October.


An invitation to submit art work around the theme of video games.

Video games. It’s a subject I have tried to grapple with in the context of art for some time. And while I can’t deny that video games are a form of art, I have struggled with ways to pull the concepts of gaming towards my practice.

I want to, as I believe that when gaming is placed within the context of memory, it is prone to nostalgia and the trappings of being perceived at face vale. This, in turn, has a great deal of creative mileage as I seek to extend the experiences found within gaming into the physical world, enriching an audiences perception and engaging with the shared experiences a game has to offer in a way applicable to reality.

My current Pixel Poetry work seeks to isolate concepts found within certain games that are either hidden, abstract or even entirely speculative. The aim is to disrupt pre-conceived notions of games, for both players and non-players alike. I enjoy creating them, I believe they have a place within poetry and they seem to engage a certain audience. But what interests me further is the fact that gaming, as a subject, is increasingly set upon by artists as a means to instigate artistic practice. I saw with Far Lands – an open call exhibition I co-devised and co-curated – that gaming within the context of fine art exists and exists healthily. However, I wish to extend this notion and see how video games with art can be furthered. With that said, I present to you PLAY! – an open call invitation for artists at any stage or their career to submit work in a response to the theme of video games:

PLAY! is an open-call exhibition featuring artwork based on video games. The exhibition will be held at Access Space, Sheffield, from 3rd – 31st October 2014.


We (Myself and Sharon Mossbeck) are looking for submissions from artists whose work takes a critically engaged approach to computer games within a fine art context. Within such a broad theme, we are specifically looking for conceptually strong work which seeks to isolate aspects of gaming for suitable artistic reflection and contemplation.

We encourage artists to consider areas of gaming that can be considered for their artistic value: Glitches and beta games, for example, are distinguishable in their ability to reveal the hand of the individuals involved in creating the game. Whilst linear narratives and inaccessible areas create a tangible tension between gamer and desire to play and re-play. However, these are just examples of the conceptual mileage found within video games, and artists are invited to respond to the theme in any way they choose.

We are looking specifically for 2D and small 3D work, such as painting, photography, sculpture and printmaking. We may consider digital and video instillation work – but keep in mind that the space will only be able to accommodate one or two works of this nature.

Artists at any stage of their career are welcome to submit their work

How to apply

This open call invites submissions from artists working in 2D, though small 3D works may be considered. Your work should be ready to be wall mounted, and should exceed no more than 2 meters squared.

Artists may submit up to 3 pieces each.

All submissions should include:

– A description of your work, max 300 words

– Max 5 jpeg images of your work

– Artist statement (Or link to website)

Please email your submission, or any questions you may have, to

Submission deadline: 8th September 2014

You will be notified by 15th September whether or not you have been successful. Applicants that are successful will be able to deliver their work to Access Space from 29th September – 3rd October.

…So there we have it. If you’re in any way inspired, intrigued or informed my video games, or the concepts found in video games. Please submit your work. I’d love to witness further ways in which artists have embraced video games in their practice.