Wednesday, 28 October 2009

28/10/09 Tutorial

So, yesterday was crap but today has been really good.
I had a tutorial today and to avoid a incomprehensable stream of consciousness and to organise my thoughts I will create a list of some of the points that were brought up.

  • My work definitely works better on wood than canvas.
  • I need to bring the subject matter up to date with my own photographs.
  • My paintings are working differently to the photographs so far because I am putting more energy into them and restoring some of the energy that would have been there when the moment of the photograph was captured.
  • The subject matter works for me as it is something I feel strongly about and can relate to.
  • The energy in my paintings and some of the frustration and anger that comes across in the work is from an inherent frustration at the treatment of the northern working class society but also from my own anger and frustration at the feeling of losing those connections and roots. Moving down south and to university has made me feel I have no ownership or right to my northern, working class roots and background and that I can no longer claim that as my own. It is a fear of a loss of identity which is providing the emotional charge behind my work.
  • The work incorporates social, political and economical themes as well as themes of human experience, whether it be my own, or the characters in the image or me sharing my experience through the characters in the image.
  • I have to be careful not to become nostalgic or sentimental.
  • I have to look carefully at the use of text in my work and the context from which it's been taking and is being used - a quote from a miner in the 80s doesn't have the same resonance if it's me repeating it. I need to avoid it appearing as a sort of teenage angst. I also need to look at dialogue vs. written text and the use of expletives and whether it gives a piece a different meaning.
  • I need to continue to improve my photographic composition.
There are all the points I can think of now, it was a really helpful tutorial and I thank Mia Taylor for it. It's allowed me to see my work in a new dimension and really given me some focus to move forward. It also seems to have gotten to the root of what's fueling my work. 

Hopefully I'll be able to post some images of new work soon.

Monday, 26 October 2009


I have produced three quick paintings today, yet I still feel like my workflow is slowing. I've ordered an old 35mm Cosmic 35 rangefinder, so hopefully I'll be able to get out and about and start a bit of street photography which should give me some new material to work from. I've decided that canvas doesn't suit the subject matter I'm working on and that found and damaged materials, specifically wooden board are more suitable.

Here are the paintings from today. (Again excuse the poor quality photographs.)

I've just finished the presentation on Roland Barthes' Rhetoric of the Image for tomorrow. It's interesting at first, but after a few hours of staring at it, becomes extremely frustrating and tedious! Wish my luck for the presentation tomorrow. 

Saturday, 24 October 2009

"My line of enquiry is fueled by my growing cynicism"

Ok, from now on I'm going to try and regularly update this blog. Frequent writing and reflection is one aspect that is majorly lacking from my practise and I feel I need to address this.

I can feel the academic aspects of my course stepping up and I'm trying to stay on top of different avenues of research and enquiry. I feel busier than ever and I'm straining to keep on top of essay and background reading, artist research and contextual research. 

Despite this I am enjoying my work at the moment, being busy seems to drive me forward and keep me producing work. I've had some fantastic feedback on my work recently and have even managed to sell a drawing. I'm not totally happy with my painting but I think I need to find a style and medium that suits the subject matter. (Take a look at James Holliday's blog for an insight into the anxieties facing a painter in his practise!)

I am exploring British society. (Though strangely the drawing I sold was from a Cartier-Bresson photograph in Paris). My line of enquiry is fueled by my growing cynicism. As much as I try to have a positive outlook at all times, it's hard to ignore the media coverage of the problems in today's society. (Though admittedly, whether they are really problems or just scare mongering is up for debate!)

I have been looking into British social realism (I recommend the book "No Such Thing as Society" by David Alan Mellor). Films such as Kes and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning have been great examinations of British working society, though I feel I need to focus my work on my current affairs. The British working class (and even the "comfortable classes", a term coined by photographer Martin Parr) are something that are close to my heart and of great interest to me. Along side a possible enquiry into the North-South divide in England (something which I have become increasingly aware of since moving to the South of England), I believe I have a veritable cornucopia of possibilities layed out in front of me.

I have rambled for long enough now and I can't remember if I had anything else to say, so here are a few (poor quality - excuse the camera phone) photos of some of my work and studio space.


Hopefully I'll be able to get organised and keep on top of this and other writing as well as my practise and reasearch. I shall endeavour to keep you updated.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Is it really that time of year already?

So, I'm back to uni on Monday 5th October for my second year. I can't wait to get back, mainly because of the fact it's been a relatively unproductive summer. I have a few ideas now for drawings, paintings, animations, videos, some posters and some photography work. I just want to get my teeth back into being creative!

As for this Summer it's been dull. I enjoyed being home and I'm enjoying living in my new house in Winchester but it feels like an age since I was last at Uni. I think boredom and tedious routine killed my inspiration.

I can't believe it's my second year. I've been out and about and seen so many freshers! (They're the ones that push in at the bar and don't have the decency to point the bar man toward you when you've been waiting half an hour to order one single pint as opposed to fifteen weird and exotic cocktails!)

I definitely feel like I'm a grumpy old man, I think my cynicism is something I need to show in my art.

Anyway, I'm starting to whinge so I'm off. I'm having a break from crap DJs playing crap songs today and seeing some live music instead. Should be good.

I'll keep you updated. Peace.