Visual Artist



I am pleased to announce that part 6 of my animation Playing with Plastic (2016) will be exhibited online as part of a new archive UN[dis]CRIMINATE with the Unstitute online gallery.

Located in courtyards of the Unstitute – in between spaces, between other structures, temporary or otherwise – is a network of diverse encampments serving any number of uses; political or otherwise. In these digital encampments you can see the building of a new archive: UN[dis]CRIMINATE.

The outlying buildings of The Unstitute are not guarded by anyone in particular, and often entrances sit wide open for anyone to see. But mainly the nomadic eruptions in disused or otherwise vague areas of The Unstitute appear of their own determination, and deterritorialize as long as they please.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (4/6/20)

Things are now moving rather fast as the finish line is now very much in sight for this work. The remaining pieces of audio are in place now. Having worked my way through the final 11 scenes, out of which about 4 scenes needed some attention.

Now I’m looking at the soundtrack, listening to a selection of pieces that I feel will suit the work, bringing the piece itself to a close. Then I need to look at the final presentation of the work, a brief run of a serialisation or release in parts online. Before I get there I need to fine tune my choices and also work out the opening titles and the credits.

Next time I’ll be doing more listening before making a final choice of music, so far I’ve got some great pieces in mind, this may change as the day progresses before I start laying them down. I really can’t believe how fast things really are moving now. It’s very exciting to see it all come together yet I have to admit it’s also coming as a relief. My mind is starting to wander to my next piece away from the studio, considering new materials and ideas to work with. A new challenge awaits.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (3/6/20)

I’m getting to grips with a new working week now. Having 3 days off from working, having worked Saturday before breaking for 3 before returning to the studio. I must admit I snook in a brief shoot of the ruined town yesterday to finale of the animation.

Today I’ve been focusing on the remaining sound effects that I just couldn’t find from the software I’m editing with. It looks like 80 – 90% of the audio’s actually in place now so it’s just little bits and pieces that I’m now finding to add which in most cases completed actions that were a little bare. Whilst some sections are coming to life now. I’ve been able to work on scenes 1 – 16 today, which is far more than I expected to. I’ve even taken off another few seconds as I found it redundant, things are constantly changing during this stage of the work.

So I might be working on the soundtrack before I finish for the next break. It’s scary how fast it’s going now. I’m even starting to consider an introduction that’s than my standard titles that I could quickly animated one day. I’m even considering the best way to present the work now, do I release it as a series of serialised shorts that can also be seen as a feature length film (as it now nears the magic 60min mark), even how it would be presented in a gallery setting too. Nothing is fixed until it’s finished. It should be an even shorter day next time as I work on the remaining 11 scenes of this work, what will go, what will change, all will be revealed soon to me.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (30/5/20)

Another short day in the studio. I’m staggering my work as I don’t want to rush it and also my time in the studio is limited each day for safety reasons for the foreseeable. I can’t access the studio on Monday – Tuesday to allow another studio holder to use the bay I share with them safely. I’m more than happy to give them the space as it allows me time to rest. For now I need to adjust to the new working week.

Today I set out to reshoot two sequences with the gold mine cross-section. It was the first and probably only time I’ve been able to use the studio for the animation. I’ve been lucky that I was able to get my work out of the studio before the lockdown was imposed. Also I’ve had a commission that has allowed me to work at home with the correct equipment. I know I’m lucky and don’t take that for granted. It’s allowed me to create and also stay sane whilst in lockdown.

It took a little while to set-up with a few teething problems before I could crack on with the shots. It was pretty fast work as I knew what I was looking for. They are better shots, if only to see the edge of the cross-section, a little tweaking in the edit to bring into the animation. Again I’ve not looked at the changes to running time, but I know and feel better that the cross-section has been included more in the final piece. I also found that I was able to fit more horses and riders at an angle into the cross-section than before which will give stronger suggestion of the piece being inhabited.

Moving forward I’ll be taking a few days break before working with the 1:72 scale ruined town for a number of establishing shots that I want to add in at least two scenes, that I should hope bring the animation to a final close before the next round of sound effects are found and mixed into the animation.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (29/5/20)

I didn’t think I’d be breaking out the cardboard this late in the day for the work. When you have an idea that can save your work and make it better why not explore it. Spending a few hours in the studio today working on this idea, finding a good sheet of cardboard.

I had to carefully consider how I could achieve the effect, fixing a sheet of cardboard is harder than it looks and ensure it’s supported. I began by drawing around the basic profile of the cross-section before finding away to temporarily hold it in place. It was tricky going until I found a way forward. Then I could fix it from the front, which felt secure on the one side, however I wanted to be sure it was secure at the rear, which is more exposed allowing me to work with it far easier.

Now I have replicated the cardboard backdrop that is in all of the scenes, which before would have been achieved through green screen. Now for this piece it’s was more difficult until my spark of an idea. It looks far better. I just have to keep the camera in the frame of the cardboard. I’ll be shooting this next time I’m in the studio now, then I can see how well it works when it’s incorporated into the animation, how will it effect it visually and to a lesser extent it’s duration.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (28/5/20)

Today has been the most normal day of work in a long time. My studio’s have opened up to studio holders this week under a more restricted system to allow us all to work safely. I’m happy just to be back there making and able to concentrate without the distractions of home. I find it very important to have a separate space to work in, keeping both apart allows me to switch off mentally too.

Whilst there I’ve been able to complete the first round of audio to the animation which was more challenging than I had anticipated. The first two scenes were pretty straightforward to tackle. It was the final scene that on the face of it is pretty sparse in terms of requirements. However a lot of it had to be retimed to make sure image and the audio matches up. Increasing the running time by 75 seconds as of today. I’m not counting the overall running time now as I have a two more small sequences to film.

The first came as an idea last night that will allow me to shoot the entirety of the cross-section. This would entail adding a trim of cardboard around the edges to allow the camera to shoot to the edges. I’ll only do this in sections for camera purposes. This will still use a lot of cardboard as I have to make sure it holds up too. The second is a 1:72 establishing shot of the ruined town that was overlooked at the beginning. I really just got stuck in and forgot about this. It will be used in the final scene, extending it even further. These should only take a few days to make a shoot and introducing into the main body of the work. Then I can look at the additional audio, again working groups of scenes at a time.

Now I’m in the process of gradually moving back all of my work and equipment to the studio my working week will be different too as I find a new way forward whilst the workplace restrictions are in place. It’s a relief to be able to know that everything is slowly getting back to normal. I know I made the right decision to decamp when I did and continue working. The hard work of animating is at a close with a few small additions that I feel are either necessary or would benefit the work.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (27/5/20)

It’s been a weird day trying to stay focused with my attention being interrupted by other matters outside of my work, but still essential. I’ve just been able to complete work on scenes 21 – 24 today. The grand finale is almost upon me once more as audio again has been laid down to build up the world of my animation. This time instead of getting longer this section of animation has gotten smaller, having removed a few sections that just slowed it down or made no sense as I was revisiting those sections. Not what I wanted to do but its whats best for the work.

I’ve only got 3 more scenes left to work on before I got back to the beginning to seek out the remaining audio. Scenes 25 – 27 is much shorter in length than today’s scenes. They will naturally throw up their own challenges, with less scenes doesn’t always mean less work as I have to still manipulate the audio, moulding the basic sounds to fit the moving image. I feel that this animation in terms of sounds has come along way since Playing with Plastic, shorter and less complicated in requirements. This piece asks for more because I’ve gone further adding the alien elements, the sounds are more complicated to achieve. I feel I’m getting there, when I revisit each section I’ll know if things are really working for sure.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (26/5/20)

I’m back to work after the bank holiday weekend, which honestly felt longer than 3 days. I’m back in the swing with a slightly shorter chunk of the animation today. Scenes 17 – 20 have been the focus. I’ve been bringing in a few more sound effects to reflect what’s going on. A lot of retiming has gone on too, mainly the refrigerated wagons to match the speed of the audio. Whilst some stills have been extended for pacing too. I feel like I’m into a rhythm now with this process.

Even during this first round of audio before I source more elsewhere I feel there’s a 70 of audio added already, it’s more obscure sounds that will require extra time to ensure I have them in place. Only 7 scenes to go now before it all starts over again. I really can see an end to all this work in the next month or so now. Also I feel that a narration track isn’t required as the audio is speaking for me, and I’m uncomfortable with hearing myself in the edit, so a lucky escape. Next up I’ll be tacking scenes 21 – 24, a slightly longer chunk of footage to go over again too.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (22/5/20)

I’m looking forward to the last Bank holiday weekend of the month. Allowing me to relax after a long week of adding audio to my animation. I’ve just got over the halfway mark too, working on the longest section too. What’s been laid down has been patchy in places, having to rely more on the soundtrack for more effect. There have been some challenging moments as I bring to life the gold mine. Still I’ve persevered to have something I’m happy with.

I did however find a gaping error that has to be fixed, a scene needs to be partially reshot. I noticed during this as I was beginning to add audio to that section. I’ve decided that to reshoot shouldn’t take too long and might even extend the piece as I’ve thought more about how the scene unfolds. It will be the first thing I do after the bank holiday is over. For now it’s time to relax once more for the long weekend.

Cowboys Invaded – (21/5/20)

Another 4 scenes have just received the first round of sound effects being added. It’s only slightly longer in length after taking a few pieces out. It was out of respect for the audio that has nudged up the time by 15 seconds. There are large sections of these scenes that rely more on soundtrack rather than sound effects. One exciting development is an additional jet sound effect that I’ve added to further improve the spaceships. I’m really happy about that as it adds another dimension to them beyond what was already laid down. I’ve even added more fire VFX to one section, which I end up spending a lot of time on too.

Next up I’ve got a collection of scenes that run to just under 10 minutes so I’m not sure I’ll be able to complete all of that in a day; the pace I’m currently working at. I’ll just have to see how I go as I make a start on the middle section of this piece and considering how the goldmine will sound after spending so long considering how it looks. Again adding another dimension to the work and the environments that I’ve been building.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (20/5/20)

I’m really getting stuck into the audio now as I plunged head first into scenes 5 – 8, which have seen me found extra sound effects already. The sci-fi fan in me just couldn’t wait to bring them to life. Throughout the day the collection of scenes have been pulled and pushed into shape as I make sense of how the audio is effecting the work. Coming with the experience of yesterday I have moved faster in terms of audio itself.

A good few seconds has been removed from one scene as it was just too jarring to me. I have also added some fire now to one scene, which took a good hour or so to carefully lay in place of each building. The audio has the effect of pushing me to complete more, correct issues as I go instead of waiting for another look. It’s always good to see changes happening or the work is not developing and ultimately improving to the point that it will be in it’s best form soon. I can take all of today’s experience and apply it to scenes 9 – 12, they should run even smoother as I make my way through this piece.