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Posts tagged “visual art

Artists’ Paint Colour #1 – The Hotel

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 #1 – The Hotel

A theatrical exploration of the properties of pigment, ‘The Hotel’ has a clean texture and smooth consistency that evokes certain nostalgia. With a strong surface sheen and stiff, glossy texture, The Hotel is able to communicate both the real and the artificial.

Idea handed to me by artist Richard Bradley

ARTISTS – If you have an idea for a painting that, for one reason or another, never reached fruition, email and I will allow your idea to be realised through the process of paint making.

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.   


The End of the Beginning is Marked With Success

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.

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The work shown at Funky Aardvark Gallery includes food artist Emma McLean, artist Louise Morgan and a collaboration between Ben Hultum, Andi Lowe-Smith, and Kevin Brackenbury of Edens of Handbridge.

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.

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My own work sought to re-imagine the three course meal.

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:

Kevin Brackenbury

Ben Hultum

Andi Lowe-Smith

Emma McLean

Kaety Moon

Louise Morgan

Sharon Mossbeck


Leviathan in Liverpool

Arriving at the second half of the year, and moving artistic endeavour away from the trials of food, I present to you Leviathan; a mythical sea monster with no mass and no shape. It is a monster that can be speculated, positioned and exploited with a great degree of freedom.

But how does this exploitation manifest itself? Well, as a project that I’d describe as natural development away from food, yet still informed by it, I hypothesise that Leviathan exists within us. Leviathan has the capacity to exist as a metaphor, and therefore be aligned intrinsically with human endeavour. So, given Leviathan’s metaphorical tendencies, I present to you a speculative tonic, a scientists’ log and wall text describing the uncovering of the sea monster:

This is what Leviathan looks like.

This is what Leviathan looks like.

This work, produced in collaboration with Sharon Mossbeck, is a theatrical exploration of man’s descent into madness, and speculates that madness is a concept which is able to take the shape, mass and physical presence of Leviathan. The work projects that drinking the tonic allows the participant to adopt the form of Leviathan – to become possessed and maddened. The tonic is informed by the text found within the book – itself a fictitious account of a scientists’ descent into madness. Thematically, the work investigates what happens when memory, personal experience and anecdotes are appropriated as true scientific fact. This objectification of personal memory and experience  has ethical, social and philosophical implications that will be expanded upon.

Reviving Leviathan is part of a group exhibition taking place at Arena Gallery, Liverpool, until 20th July.


Stepping into the Sheffield Culinary Scene

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.

 This alluring promotional shot of my paints is suet to get the public salivating.This alluring promotional shot of my paints is sure to get the public salivating.

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.


Reflecting on My First Solo Exhibition

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.

A chance to buy my original paintings for just £5!

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 Come get ’em while they’re fresh!

The Pressures of an Impending Exhibition

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.

A Hint of Lemon

‘A Hint of Lemon’ – One avenue I explore in my exhibition is the capacity still life painting has to confront language, and render ways of describing taste literal.

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 Thank you.

News About My Upcoming Exhibition and Paint Making Workshop.

Over the last month I have been feverishly painting as many pictures of fruit as I can; applying paint directly to loaves of bread; wrapping apples in modroc; painting works of still life; looking long and hard at pictures of burgers and applying thirty-two homemade egg tempera paints to a board.

So, why the hell am I doing all this? Well, because each of these endeavours form some part of my upcoming solo exhibition – named ‘Shelf Life’ – which will be held at Gage Gallery: A gallery space that forms part of Kelham Island Arts Co-Operative (or KIAC,) in Sheffield.

  Shelf Life

‘Shelf Life’ seeks to question the role of food in art. This includes questioning our perception of value, re-imagining the genre of still life, an enquiry into how emotion can be attached to disposable produce, and a documentation of the trials of trying to render the invisible sensations of taste and smell visible, with coherence.

Food is, of course, a massive topic, and will undoubtedly become a lifelong investigation. What I hope an audience can gain from this exhibition is an informed and clearer understanding of their own thoughts towards the nature and properties of food, and a place for which such thoughts to coalesce and crystallise. Further, I wish to question pre-conceptions towards the value of art, and attempt to ground it within the identifiable realities of purchasing consumable products. I believe that art should relate to the subject it is rendering as seamlessly as possible, and aligning the status of art to the status of food allows my work to become direct, accessible and relevant.

The exhibition runs from 28/02/14 until 14/03/14. There is also a private viewing of the show on 28/02/14 from 7pm. I hope you can make it.

In addition to my exhibition, and coinciding with it, comes my Paint Making Workshop, due to be held at KIAC’s Education Space on 1st March:

Paint making workshop

Participants of this workshop will be shown a working demonstration of the paint making process, before having a go at creating paints for themselves, and applying them to a surface. Participants will gain valuable experience in developing an affinity with their materials, which I believe is integral to producing coherent works of art.

The workshop takes place from 10am til 3pm on 1st March, and costs £20 (or £15 for students) and promises to be a fun and worthwhile day.

I hope that something within these events is intriguing and I hope for as many of you to attend as possible. You can find more information about these events on my Facebook events. Just click here. Or feel free to send me an email at

Thank you.

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.