Visual Artist

Hello there!

Welcome to my blog, where you will find all my work, works in progress, there's always something going on, an ever changing place where the you can stay up to date with my work, from the idea, to the trials and celebrations. Also you can found a wealth of film reviews that influence my work. Follow on Bloglovin

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rEvive Update (19/8/14)


My last  day of construction I believe has ended today, adding the last of the balsa to the harbour models. Whilst I spent most of my time working on the tepees, which I have learnt can be improved next time I turn to them. I now have three pieces in the space to complete the work. What I have learnt is that I need a few more sticks that are thinner than the sticks I have made, but still strong enough to tie-up and into the framework of the structure. I can take this forward to the next tepees I make.

The next time I’m up will be to document the work, leaving me with something photographic and possibly film the work as well. Look out for a permanent post that contains the finished works in the next few weeks.

Cafe - rErive

rEvive Update (16/8/14)


It nearly turned out to be a disaster at the end of the day, when I moved to the teepee’s that I was planning to make, after my most recent attempts saw me sew around the twigs into the calico, I wasn’t pleased with the overall look. However after a bit more research recently I had two options really; a cardboard cone covered in calico, or one with a frame work. The framework appealed more to my making skills, as it was more in-line with the actual teepees that Native Americans lived in. So after my other work was complete I moved onto what I thought would be easy. My first attempt at this, tying string around thin strips of balsa failed, unable to move them. So my second attempt which used all my remaining balsa sticks, which was shaped to be more rounded were tied together. It wasn’t looking good at first, but I persisted, tying and tying round the 5 sticks of balsa. I knew now I was getting somewhere with this technique so I carried on until I could happily let go of the piece to stand on its own. And yes it did, so I carried on before tying off to leave a 5 stick teepee frame ready to have a calico top added next time.

Whilst back at the harbour I started the day off by adding the roofing to the storage yard, which took no time at all. It was the decking which took up most of the day, having to cut the pieces to fit around the model, which I underestimated. So with little time left I finished off the hotel decking, to come back next time to add the roofing to the bank, and complete the yard. I also made a good started on the basic shape of the shack, which will be completed next time with window frames and roof.

Next time I’ll be producing two more teepee frames using this technique, before adding the tops, so I’ll be doing some sewing onsite next time while adding more. I may have to reduce them in scale which I’ll have to think carefully about as once they are reduced there’s no turning back. Also I’ll be finishing the woodwork on the three models and adding a feature sign to the hotel.

rEvive Sketch 7

 

rEvive Update (14/8/14)


I’ve done the majority of what I planned to do today, the next stages with the harbour models will be staggered as they are with all buildings that have roofs. I have however added all the detail, except the roof to the storage yard. Whilst the other two buildings; the bank and hotel are at an equal position, waiting to clad the walkways.

I’ve almost decided not to add paint to these models, whilst the show is on, sadly I don’t have the time to do it, which would bring them in line with the other pieces. I can safely say apart from a few bits to do, the harbour is complete.

My next concern is adding a shack near the river barge before making a start on some loosely teepees, hoping to do a few, at least four using a quick method I have to design, thinking about the internal structure, not wanting it to collapse on itself. I’m sure I’ll think of something.

rEvive sketch 6

Seraphim Falls (2006)


Seraphim FallsI vaguely remember this film a few years back, paying little attention, my interest in the Western wasn’t yet sparked then. However now things are very different, much like this oddity of a film that pits two ex-soldiers against each other across open country. One an ex Confederate colonel Carver (Liam Neeson) and a Union captain Gideon (Pierce Brosnan) the hunted man who we believe is entering his final hours after a shot in the arm sends him running for cover in the snowy mountains. Straight away Seraphim Falls (2006) means business, we find out much later what drives Carver to such lengths to see this dangerous loner be hunted down like an animal in a hunting party.

Usually it’s the union solider tracking down the confederate who has wronged him, yet in The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) the tables are turned the other way, justice of a personal nature is being dealt out, and here is no different as we seem to move through the seasons from, Winter, spring to Summer and Autumn. The journey itself is mostly back and forth between the two men as they Carver get’s so close with a drive that more befits that of a man wronged by a Native American depicted as a savage, which is more like that of Gideon in whitens clothes, the way he handles a knife with such skill and cruelty, he has learnt these skills somewhere in his past that is never really raised. A man who wouldn’t think twice from stealing from a corpse he had just left, survival is his main priority. Whilst revenge is that is Carver who is hell-bent on justice, holding his four men to account, reminding them about being paid on the collection of Gideon, shooting him to wound, not kill. Every time one of them wants to leave they are remind of the property that they ride on.

With all the casting which was questionable with two non-americans putting on accents, which they did their best at, until Neeson was faced with an Irishman, which makes you think…why didn’t he play it with his own accent? Whilst Brosnan get’s away with it more, having a gravely voice hardly saying a few words through out. For me however it was the weird casting of Anjelica Huston who literally appears out of nowhere as Madame Louise a travelling saleswoman who is found on the salt-flats, who even’s the playing field, acting almost as the wise Native who knows what is about to happen, so steps into speed things up, get it over and done with. Otherwise it’s just odd casting, then again she is perfect in the Wes Anderson world. I wouldn’t say it was inspired, feeling more uncomfortable in the west. The finale is well deflated no-body really wins, even after the big reveal of the motives behind the chase. It’s like my time has been wasted when there was so much to do.

Unless this was a revisionist western and I didn’t see it, a hunt between white American soldiers, after the civil war, altering their characteristics only slightly to play on the good-old white vs. native cliché which has been done numerous times. Or maybe they just missed a few tricks? I’m not sure, maybe a re-watch is in order already?

 

 

 

rEvive Update (12/8/14)


I’ve achieved quite a lot today, not all I set out to do, which looking back was quite a task. I have however come along way since I first opened up the rEvive shop this morning. Getting to work on the fencing which took less time than I thought before moving back and forth between the three new buildings which all add to the harbour, completing it which is what I wanted. I also had the honour of being asked to look at a young boys art-work, a collection of drawings which he wanted to share with me. It was a great privilege to think he or anyone would do that, only two years out of art-school people as young as he was are looking up to me. It was a great feeling to see his work and talk about it with him. I always make a point to encourage talent, enjoying when I inspire or ignite a creative idea in someone, to spur them on to make, create or do something that comes from within.

Next time I will be finishing off the fencing and adding more detail to the models, adding balsa to them, posts, cladding, roofing, I have a lot I’d like to do. With short time I’m not sure I can paint them which is a real shame. I’ll just have to see how things go.

rEvive sketch 5

rEvive Update (11/8/14)


I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the rEvive team today, whom I am extremely grateful to for accepting my proposal, it’s allowed me to expand my frontier town universe beyond the confines of the studio. As I came one step closer to completing the river-road, adding the posts to the fencing, which I will be adding to next time. Whilst leaving the harbour structure it self for a while I started to look at the other buildings, which took more time than I had planned, also having to think about how I use my cardboard. I think I’ll be getting more before my time this week is up.

Deciding to build another hotel, based on the previous one, which I was happy with, apart from it having 2 sides and both three, limiting it to corners, instead of being more versatile. Also making a start on a bank which has to be lifted and have a roof on the front. Whilst a base is read for a storage yard is waiting to take shape from a pre-cut base.

rEvive sketch 4

rEvive Update (9/8/14)


My second day in Ilkeston, and more time since I was staying in Nottingham, I have been able to engage with the community who came and visited both mine and Neil Dixon’s work. Talking about a range of subjects, I think it was the show’s busiest day too. The most important part (apart from the work) is having that engagement with the public, if only to inspire them. I really enjoy spending time with the children who look at the work, who see the potential in it, something that is both quite detailed to them, yet something they can be inspired to make looking at the language I employ in the making of my models. All this makes my short time on-site all worth-while to see the positive impact it has on the local community.

I was able to achieve most of what I wanted to. Raising the platform and building the stairway down to loading onto a boat. I did have some trouble with the drawing of the stairs, spending what felt like an hour making sure it fitted before giving in and working around the calculating. I wasn’t helping myself to put it short.

I then moved onto the detail in-between the decking and the stone-work that would hold up the decking. This was where I finished for the day.

Next time I’ll be hoping to move away from the harbour structure after starting to work on the posts for the fencing, giving me time to look at re-arranging the models to add another hotel and a bank, maybe even a goods yard too.

rEvive Sketch 3

rEvive Update (8/8/14)


Yes I have finally made the journey to Ilkeston, I have found a good source of cardboard to start me off, kindly supplied by local business, which informs the work, having to work with what the community has to offer. After finding my feet and meeting the rEvive team I started to get the harbour under way. The harbour being the piece I have always wanted to build for this show. Now I am actually undertaking that task, which has seem the basic structure being started and the base now in place.

The next stage is to place the decking above which will be held up by balsa and cardboard hatching strips in-between them. Whilst also fleshing out the stairway which will be mainly card as my time is short during the show I have to cut some corner sadly. Nevertheless I will be making a fine Harbour addition to the Frontier Town world.

rEvive Sketch two

 

Mrs Miniver (1942)


Mrs Miniver (1942)For a few years I was struggling to know the best way of saying Mrs Miniver (1942) which is really laughable. Once I got over that stumbling block I knew this was a film not to miss, even inspiring a possible piece of future work. Made during the middle of WWII, and the start of the America’s involvement it seems emotions were running high and were channelling all that pent-up emotion and the source novel by Jan Struther. It would be a very different film if these events were moved to America who were adjusting to the fact that they;re country and men had joined the war in Europe after the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Focusing on the Miniver family, lead by an understated strong performance of Greer Garson in the title role of Mrs Miniver who holds her own amongst all the events that throws against her and her family. The status of a middle class family soon fades away once the heavy curtain of war in Europe is drawn over them. The small London borough of Belham pull together, carrying on the best they can during the early years of the war.

From the conscription of their maid’s husband, to their own son  Vin Miniver (Richard Ney) into the R.A.F. whilst beginning a relationship with the granddaughter Carol Beldon (Teresa Wright) of the local lady of the manor (Lady Beldon played appropriately by Dame May Whitty. Everyone is doing their bit, whilst life still has to carry on. It’s very much about the people, even a flower competition that sees a train station worker Mr. Ballard (Henry Travers) who enters a rose named aptly Mrs Miniver which challenges the status of the undefeated Lady Beldon, causing a mini class war. 

Once you forget that the Miniver’s have servants and can afford to buy cars and hats on a whim you see a family who really love each other. You also get passed the British accents that the main cast are putting on, We have a set of characters that are fleshed out all. Of the family you find yourself at times quite taken by the innocence of Toby Miniver (Christopher Severn) who must have been mostly improvisation, his time on-screen is so real and in the moment of the scene. By the time that we come to the bomb shelter scene we are so invested in the family we react to every bomb that falls, hoping that the family home is left un-touched. Of course its inevitable, as everyone in London, they paid the cost of war, yet with British resolve they simply carried on. With a heap of Hollywood drama thrown in to heighten the emotion, that really showed the new allies what they were fighting for by the end of the film. Whilst the majority of the mainland of America was left untouched by air attack, this film shows just what could happen to even the tightest of community’s the lengths they go to fight and carry on at the country’s time of need. You could say it’s propaganda now, and one level it is encouraging the American people to get behind the war effort in Europe, not just Japan. However it transcends that to become a story of survival. No-one in the film gets away scott-free, always remaining strong. 

1 Night Only Film Festival


1 Night Only Film Festival

I am pleased to announce that a number of my videos are being featured in a 1 night film festival thanks to Breeze Creatives who have “been granted access to Old Shire Hall in Durham for a limited time, to host four very special events that aim to showcase some of the best creativity in Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland and the surrounding areas.

As part of this series of events taking place, on Friday 15th August for one night only we are staging a free night of film, video and moving image work by a selection of filmmakers and artists from throughout the region and beyond. Over a dozen rooms throughout the Grade II listed Old Shire Hall will be turned into screen rooms to showcase a diverse range of work.

Not only is this a chance to see some exciting up and coming filmmaker’s work, but also a chance to look around the splendid Old Shire Hall, which has been inaccessible to the public for several decades. Old Shire Hall is a Grade II listed building situated in the heart of Durham City Centre. It was built in 1895 as the County Hall, and was used as such until 1963 when it was bought by the University of Durham as a home for their administration. Old Shire Hall has particular significance as this is where the first all Labour County Council was assembled in 1909.”

Artists and filmmakers showcasing their work on the night include: Ruth Siddals, Beth Ross, Tim NeathPeter McAdamPonor-JanczakKlaus Pinter, Sean Burn, Kayleigh O’Keefe, Letizia Binda-Partensky, Sheryl Jenkins, Roberta OrlandoMelanie MenardLucia SchweigertNicola Joanne CarterHuw AndrewsFin McMorranAllie LitherlandAnna FlemmingAmelia Crouch, and Stu Herring.

If you’re in the area that night please go along and see some great work.

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