Painting the Town… In Melton Mowbray

I’m pleased to announce that my work Painting the Town… (2018) will be exhibited in Melton, the inspiration for the work. For one night only in Melton Library, accompanied by a brand new Film Talk – Violence in the Western”

Painting the Town explores the origin of the phrase “Painting the Town Red” which has historical roots in the town of Melton Mowbray, one night in 1837, the Marquis of Waterford and his men whilst drunk caused mayhem throughout the town, with a few of the men literally taking brushes with red paint to part of the town. Also inspired by the ending of High Plains Drifter (1973) dir. Clint Eastwood, which sees a violent ghostly figure played by Clint Eastwood manipulate a town into doing his bidding. Ultimately advising them to paint the town red. Taking this as starting point and the newspaper accounts of the violence in Melton, which by today’s standards are exaggerated. Compared with the violence found over in America’s lawless Wild West. Focusing on the violence of the frontier America as depicted in the Western.
Focusing on violent scenes from 4 films, recreating the sets in model miniatures form in 2 pairs. Emphasising the reaction of violent acts upon the victims are projected into the respective miniature sets.

Accompanied by a Film Talk the explores in more depth violence in the Western genre.

Due to the violent content this event is only open to over 18’s.

Tickets – £1, available at Melton Library


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 (14/7/19)

The end is in sight for these buttes all being completed. Once I achieved the right look, I got stuck into making and expanding them into solid objects that became more natural looking as each one was being made, pushing me to make something different each time.

Today I’ve completed the final two of those originally required, looking how playing with the space in between even more. I wanted to see how that space could work around the tubes. I made some progress with the first piece, before scaling back again to an average one. I did however allow more of the smaller tube to be seen. It may have been down to an accident in cutting out the base or a lack of confident on seeing what’s possible. I’ll try again though and see what happens.


I prepped the final two buttes for next time in the studio. Then I’ll be moving onto other pieces on the list that is getting shorter and shorter now. I can quickly make up two more gun towers and then move onto refit all the spaceships working with that language of models. I honestly had no idea how the buttes would turn out; hollow objects covered in paper or something with some weight about them.

Cowboys Invaded Update (12/7/19)

It’s been my first proper day in about a fortnight. I’m glad to be getting back into a making streak. With 3 buttes completed today I can see that each piece has been pushed to make more complicated as I progressed during the day.

I began the day by completing the piece I made a start on last time, I then made a start on the 1st full new piece of the day, considering how I could manipulate the space in between the tubes. I decided to see how it would look with 3 pieces. Essentially placing a broken triangle in the space this time. It also allowed the bases to be again even more natural looking. The change in shape also made the detailing more of a challenge in places.

The next piece of the day I expanded the space further to have a squashed diamond in between. Essentially pushing what I had before.

Each piece has seen me grow in confidence, from the tighter buttes to these wider pieces, showing that just trying something, however different or small can pay off.

Lastly I wanted to see how the buttes I have so far look in the desired scene. There’s no set layout so far, but it gave me an idea of how many pieces I need to make for this scene. I can see that I probably need 4 more, thats 2 more than I had considered, I should had enough tubes to make this happen. I know the ext few piece I want to see how the tubes would look if it were inside that space, creating a different shape to build and wrap around. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (10/7/19)

After an extended and unplanned time away from the studio I’m now slowly making a return so I hope to be getting more work done in the coming weeks instead of dribs and drabs. I only had a few hours which I made the most off, making a start on the 5th and 6th buttes.

So far they have evolved from being two cardboard tubes that had been fixed together; to slowly being pushed apart to appear more natural looking. I went a step further today and have reshaped that break between the tubes so they are at different angles, even more natural looking than before. I have also played with the shape of the base so it’s not just taking in the two tubes and being more natural againI know by the time they are all completed I will have a range, which is better than 10+ pieces all clumped together when I didn’t see what the possibilities were.

I don’t really think theres much more I can do, maybe add some dimension/form on the space in between, which I could retrofit to the other pieces, it’s more of a finishing touch really. I’m hoping once these are done to make another gold mine related piece, looking at the internal entrance from a different view. I’ve been thinking about it for a few days. Also I’ve acquired another tube for a few more gun-towers to be built. I’ll also be refitting the spaceships so they are inline with the gun towers. That should only take a few days to complete unlike the other piece I’ve just thought of.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (29/6/19)

It’s been a quiet month in the studio, partly due to a busy month of paid work and taking sometime off. This summer is turning out to be busy away from the studio, that’s not a bad thing either, I’m sure I’ll have a longer spell soon.

Along with the heat, at least 31 degree C outside, so probably higher in the studio. I was able to make some progress  today. I wanted to change the design of the buttes so that they took up more space, basically stretching out the cylinders so they were more interesting that two tubes fixed together. They would also look more natural too. I began the day by wrapping up the piece I started last week before making a start on what was the first stretched out. Simply by making a space on the base that is wide enough to piece two pieces of cardboard in between. Above this newly created space I had to cover enough up before making a start on the wrapping.

Once I finished adding the layered strips I began to wrap up the new butte. It was a more interesting to work with too. Placing it alongside the other buttes it adds more variation to the pieces, more importantly they are more natural looking. It’s something I will continue with for the next 6 piece’s. Looking at them set-up I might have to make more up, again I’ll need more tubes, or it could be careful composing for the shot. Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (22/6/19)

After a weekend away from the studio I should have come back recharged, well I was and wasn’t, after burning the candle at both ends this past evening. I did come back eager to work and have still made some decent progress on a new set of pieces.

For at least one scene (with a little help from green screen too) I’ll be combining a number of elements to create an image of spaceships parked in a desert of buttes. Viewed from my John Ford point piece. It’s going to take some work to pull it off. I’m thinking that it maybe combination of two still images when you see the shot that I have in mind.

Before I even get there I need to make those buttes that the spaceships sit amongst. Originally I had the idea of having a banner on the base of these pieces. The first piece had striped back cardboard to reveal a layer of exposed ply, really flexible too. I wanted to create a mound and wrap to create a texture. It wasn’t sitting well for me. I removed it to add some strips of cardboard and wrap up again, banner going back on and seeing how it looks.

I asked another artist in the studio for their opinion, they confirmed my suspicion, the banner had to go, which honestly wasn’t a bad thing. It just shows that your first idea isn’t always the best one to go with. You have to keep going until you get something that works.

So far I have 2 and 1 more under construction, I’m hoping that ten will be enough. Using cut up tubes of varying heights to create the basic shape I build up and out slightly before wrapping it up. I’ll probably add another tone to balance them out. Looking at what I have they look good. Part of me thinks I’ll need more, only time will tell though.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (9/6/19)

My last update before a well deserved break from the studio. After working 3 days straight and a busy week away from the studio I need to stop and reflect, recharge before returning to work on something new from the list.

I did however leave after completing all 8 gun towers, the aim of the day was to just add all the remaining detail that I wanted to add to the pieces. This was/is to suggest that there’s some bulky internal workings that allow these gun towers to operate. I think I’ve achieved that around at the rear and sides of the set of 8 pieces. I stopped with the side plates which increased the overall widths of the pieces.

Looking at them set up with the slaughter-house where they will be used primarily, they suit the function they’re built for. I can see that more are required, sadly I don’t have enough cardboard tubes to add a further 2-4 pieces that I think would complete the scene. On my return to the studio I will look at the remaining 8 pieces that still need to be made up, some will be just extras of what I already have, whilst others will completely new pieces. The end of the making seems to be insight now. I need more cardboard for a few pieces. I may even do some more revisions to the plot, so a 5th draft maybe written. Otherwise I could be painting in a few months.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (8/6/19)

Time seems to be going rather fast at the moment. I don’t whether that’s due to my work rate in the studio or away from it, it just seems to be going faster right now. It shows in the studio at least with the rate that I am working on my latest pieces, the gun towers which are nearing completion already.

The day began by making up the actual gun that sits inside the casing, which took some time to measure correctly. Ultimately they are longer in length than the prototype. It’s not a bad thing really, if anything it adds to the imposing nature of the pieces. It did however have a knock-on effect to the front of the casing which had to be redesigned to consider the new length of the gun. The height has also changed, as much as I wanted them to be as close to the prototype they have become another set of their own. They have grown from the original design and have multiplied.


A positive of the change of design, my fault entirely, they are all uniform, ready for more detail to be added next time I’m in the studio, it won’t be much, just something to make them look more bulky and too suggest that theres some mechanics under the casing that generates the laser.

Cowboys Invaded – Update (7/6/19)

Today’s focus has been on the gun towers which I made a start on last time in the studio. At that point I had only made the basic tower where the gun would be sitting. Making sure that the top rotated as well before I left them for the day. I also made up the replacement false barricades for their respective entrances.

I came into the studio knowing that I was more than likely be going into mass-production of the gun towers. Starting with what’s become the prototype piece. It looks pretty vicious once I pieced the actual gun together. I then fixed the unit in place and began to build up around it. It looks pretty simple but should be lethal when I add a laser beam in post-production.

Happy with the prototype I then moved into production, making a start on 8 new pieces, using thinner cardboard tubes (I’ll have 9 & 10 when another tube comes my way). It’s a slow process cutting multiple circles out before building them up, which took very little time in comparison.

I’ve already decided that I’m going to expand on the design that surrounds the actual gun. It’s going to be a lot of flat-pack style pre-cutting before I make them all up. I’m excited how fast they’ve come along already. Even more I can’t wait to see how the test footage looks.

Art School Confidential (2006)

Not so ironically it was at Art school I was recommended Art School Confidential (2006) by another student, not a lecturer. That was probably 7-8 years ago now, that in itself makes me feel old. I looked out for it every time I was browsing and never found a copy to bring home, yes I’m old school. It even looked good from the trailer, which sold me a suggested film that I would ultimately never find. I feel cheated and robbed, mis-sold and bored by it all. I know what Art school is and this was not it. Well it is but it’s not, it’s a collection of cliche’s and trying to be funny about it. Coming from the director of Bad Santa (2002) I thought this would be outrageous and lift the lid on what it’s really like to be an art student. Well in America at least.

Maybe the film has simply just dated, the humour, the content, the whole thing has just lost its power to entertain since it was released 13 years ago. Could it be me who has forgotten what art school is really like, a hot bed of creative talent wanting to make a name for ourselves or is the film just perpetuating the cliche. I suppose to an extent all students on any course hope that their chosen degree will lead to success and fortune, able to lead a successful life. That myth in the UK has long since been blown away. My class was told we would be a success if we even worked at Tesco, allowing us to make work, not exactly my idea of a career but I could see the lecturer’s point, some money coming into supplement the real work. But we all know that you have to keep that wolf at bay constantly.

We don’t even get to the final year of art-school when Jerome (Max Minghella) has dreams of being the best artist in the world. Taking the cliche that all artists are great painters and draftsman, truth is we’re not all painters or draftsman. Personally I don’t have the talent for painting…although I have an idea to push that further. My drawing is far better used mainly for sketches. However it’s not how accomplished you are at these traditional skills it’s what you convey with them. It’s ultimately the concepts and the method of delivery to your chosen audience. Jerome has a history of being bullied, his only outlet is his art, even that got him into trouble at times. He seems to believe that going to his chosen college/university he will meet the girl of his dreams – the model in the prospectus, that’s if she’s still there. Oh the dreams of the young.

When he arrives he free of the bullying but thrown into what is now a concentrated pool of art students who are labelled straight away, from the “militant vegan” to the “macho lesbian” etc. How fast have these terms become offensive in a society that tries to be more inclusive. Sure all sorts that come to an arts degree, yes there are characters in there that ring true but all they’ve done is give these walking cliches a bunch of one hit jokes tailored to their cliche, it’s just lazy. When they have crit group (group discussion) this is where things ring true, eve though it’s set-up rather differently from my course. Here each student hangs and drawing/painting up to be discussed, well with the hopes of being noticed. Jerome hopes they will see his talent, and yes he’s accomplished by there’s nothing that’s truly honest in his work, and arrogant in what he thinks. These sessions are a wake up call to who he is as an artist. Mine were used to discuss up to 3 students work, 3 in a 90 minute session, always constructive in a supportive environment, it was the tutorials that had the potential to be brutal. Every art student goes through this. For dramatic purposes the discussion makes more sense to show how far he has to grown both as an artist and adult.

Frustratingly the lecturers are also drawn to show they have rivalries, which is further from the truth, being part of a smaller supportive community of creatives who are engaged with both the students and fellow artists. The wider commercial world of art is nearer to the truth, there are tiers of artists who get recognition, whilst others look on. But isn’t that life?

Early on he’s followed by the cliche of the student Bardo (Joel David Moore) who changes course every year because he doesn’t know what he wants to do. Again another label, even though he’s the one doing the labelling in the film it really makes for lazy script writing, just pointing and saying you’re this type of person, here are your characteristics. He finally meets the model in the prospectus – Audrey (Sophia Myles) who is surprisingly approachable, even modelling in the second life drawing class. What a lucky guy to meet the woman of your dreams just where you hoped you’d find her, it’s just too good to be true really.

Whilst all this personal struggle is going on at campus there has been a serial killer of a the loose, who has been killing students, we already know that one student was thought to be the killer. Now that added layer is brought forward more. It becomes the source of film student and Jerome’s dorm mate Vince (Ethan Suplee) whose way too old for the role is inspired to make a film based on the events. It’s a tired idea that gets no extra laughs. With all the school shootings that have happened in the last decade it’s now just tasteless

Meanwhile Jerome has found his rival in both the classroom and in love – Jonah (Matt Keeslar) who seems to be getting all the plaudits and Audrey’s attention. Jerome the everyman who has tried hard in his short life so far does all that he can, going to his lecturers for advice and even failed artists who now live as drunks. This is where the obvious twist that brings the murder mystery and the first plot together. As soon as the first clue is revealed its too obvious what is going to happen. At this point it’s just about letting the conclusion draw up all the dots. I hardly laughed through this predictable that did little to remind me of all the fun, the friends I made the experiences I had. It’s more concerned with a few cheap laughs that never land in the first place.