Today is the first day of perfume as Practice at Bank Street Arts, where you can bear witness to 14 unique and varied perfumes, each a portrait of another artist.
Today I’ll be hosting drop-in perfume making workshop sessions from 12-2pm today, so if you fancy making a fragrance of your own, pop in and see me
The tail end of 2015 provides two things; A platform for reflecting on the year and time to prepare for the year ahead.
Indeed, 2016 is already set to be my busiest; with a fair few very exciting and diverse exhibitions and events already lined up. And the next 6 weeks offers me time to affirm these opportunities, as well as initiate more.
Not to dismiss 2015 straight away of course, for it has been a ruddy good year! My two primary avenues of enquiry – Speculate Studio Spaces and Perfume as Practice – have each been made public in the guise of exhibitions, workshops, talks and residencies. They both seem well received with emphasis of how they both demand a certain level of engagement to be fully understood. What has been revealed is actually how similar the projects are; both assume the guise of something relatively innocuous and loaded with preconceptions. But scratching away at the surface will reveal something more: A perfume shop becomes a room of portraits and how a studio space can be exposed as the deconstructing of creative processes. This is something to consider when placing these projects within new spaces and contexts over the next 12 months.
Indeed, I won’t have to wait long before I can display these projects in a public realm, with Yorkshire Artspace’s Open Studio event happening this weekend. This will proved a perfect opportunity to chat about my project, externalise a few thoughts and see how audiences engage with my work. It’s also a great way for people to have a nose around artists studios, see what they get up to and even find a Christmas bargain, so do try and pop along if you can! It’s on at Exchange Place Studios from 11-4 this Saturday and Sunday (21st and 22nd)
And that’s not all! Access Space are holding their fun and diverse 20×20 exhibition until the 18th December. I have a piece of work in there, along with the work of over 40 other artists. It’s well worth checking out. You can find more information here. My work, named ‘Scent Wheel’, sets to design a fragrance wheel using string and a rather large helping of essential oils. You’ll probably smell it before you see it!
Lots to think about, both for this year and next!
Last Wednesday I held the first of three paint making workshops to be held at The Bessemer II Gallery in Sheffield.
As ever, the paint making workshop provided me with the opportunity to engage with local artists by sharing knowledge and highlighting the possibilities of paint, including how to create paint from everyday foods and the notion that paint is able to be considered the end result of a creative process.
I hope my workshops make people think a little differently about paint, enriching their approach to the medium and perhaps allowing them to explore ways of developing a relationship with paint in a way that will directly further and develop their practice. I also cannot dismiss the importance of the social aspect of the event, which can encourage collaboration, professional development and, dare I say it, friendship!
This particular workshop went very smoothly indeed. I believe that each participant benefited from the event, learning how to make paint from food but, importantly, exploring how to apply what they’ve learnt to their own practice.
The second paint making workshop will be at Bessemer II on 8th October, and the third on on 12th November. The workshop costs £20, which includes all materials and refreshments. If they sound interesting to you, there’s still places left; so book ’em while you can!
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.
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.
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’ 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:
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 email@example.com.
In the midst of the excitement of reaching our Kickstarter funding (An embarrassingly big ‘thank you’ to everyone to contributed and who helped spread the word, incidentally) I have shamefully neglected to describe and assess the recent open studio event I participated in at my studio at KIAC. So here goes.
I have only been involved in one other open studio event prior to this. It was at University a few years ago. It consisted mainly of drinking tea and waiting for someone – anyone – to show up. Inevitably, no-one did, and I left the event with the assumption that all Open Studio events would be like this.
However, last weeks’ open studio, thankfully, was different. Whilst naturally it still involved drinking tea, at least this time I had people to share a cup of tea with. Whilst the amount of people visiting my studio was by no means vast, all involved certainly responded and identified with my work and my concepts. And the simple act of talking to a stranger about my work helped consolidate my ideas and conceptual principles.
Indeed, something I learnt as the event progressed, is that talking, in this context, is a powerful tool: It is used to generate and sustain intrigue, to sell both yourself and your work and to establish connections with others, which in turn may lead to something grander. In a studio environment, it is harder for the work to speak for itself: Work isn’t visually isolated, with accompanying text and an underlying theme. It is up to you to fill in these gaps in order to pull the work from it’s physical trappings, thus allowing it to be contemplated and identified with, if you wish to succeed in an open studio event.
However, my experience was by no means perfect, and I think that’s partly down to me. My studio could have been tarted up somewhat in order to make it look more appealing to the visitors. I vaguely attempted to arrange works of art in an orderly fashion, but many visitors simply glanced at my studio and proceeded to walk on by without any additional thought. I think I could have made it look more appealing and more engaging in order to achieve a more positive initial response from visitors.
I also wished to sell jars of my own paint at the event. This did not happen and was a bit of a missed opportunity. I could blame the fact that the empty jars I needed in order to store the paint were only delivered to me on the same day as the event itself, but really it’s my own fault. I knew when the Open Studio was going to be, and I simply didn’t order the jars quickly enough. As I say, this was a bit of a missed opportunity, and one that should have been seized in order to generate more interest in my work.
Anyway, lets not finish on a downer, it was still a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. And the negative elements of the experience are small enough to learn from, without having to label the whole event an all-encompassing, abject, vomit-inducing failure. And that’s always good.
This week has been so busy that I could easily write several blogs all detailing the extent of my exciting, engrossing and sordid artistic endeavours. However, this particular post will focus on the most pressing of matters, and one which you can get involved with.
I am part of an arts collaborative named SCIBase, which is a collaborative project between BasementArtsProjects, Leeds and SCI, Liverpool. We are currently seeking funding in order to hold an exhibition, residencies and workshop programmes in New York next year. I personally am looking to host a series of workshops dealing with the paint making process, along with the history and implications associated with paint as a medium.
In order to apply for full funding from other arts organisations SCIBase need to raise an initial £2000, which we are hoping to raise via Kickstarter. This is where we need your help. We are asking for you to pledge money if you can.
There are many incentives for pledging, all of which can be viewed on our page of the Kickstarter website, where you can also pledge towards the funding we require: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scibasecolonize/scibase-colonize
The most intriguing insensitive for artists is the fact that you are eligible to have a postcard sized image of your work included in the exhibition if you are an artist pledging £12. This is a great and unique opportunity to be part of the collaboration.
If any of this excites, intrigues or delights you in any way, then we would love for you to pledge whatever you can. Please also let people you know about our project. We are a fair way to reaching our target, but we now only have a few days to reach it, so your contribution would be very much appreciated.
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?