Latest

Summer Art Thread (2017)


I am pleased to announce that my work in progress – Painting the Town… (2017) will be included in this years Summer Art Thread in Leicester. I’ll be exhibiting at the LCB Depot. Taking place on 26th August, A jam packed with art, live music and market stalls. It would be great to see you there.

Cardboard Town – Workshop


During the Festival Art Show at Spring Bank Arts Centre throughout The Big Weekend at New Mills Festival 2017 I will be running a drop-in workshop for all ages. You can build your own section of a Wild West street with cardboard and lollipop sticks. Please come and join us and make your own contribution to the street, such as a saloon, hotel, livery stable, whatever you wish. All sections will be added to a new unique street for the weekend. It would be great to see you all there.

The Big Weekend – Festival Art Show


As part of New Mills Festival (2017) I’ll be taking part in the Big Weekend at the Spring Bank Arts Centre 23rd – 24th September. I’ll be running a drop in workshop where you can make your own Wild West street front. Please come along and check out some great work.

Un[dis]criminate


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.

Painting the Town… Update (18/8/17)


I thought I would be taking a break from posting updates, how wrong was I. Working on the 3rd coat of paint for the cardboard furniture and false walls, I saw that I was moving rather fast. I didn’t want to leave the studio just yet, having taking about 2 hours on today’s coat. I saw the main piece and knew that sooner or later the beams had to be added, the last bit of detail that was required.

Thankfully I have two piece of balsa that are long enough to run the length and width of the piece, which made measuring up the material for cutting run smoothly. The beam structure soon went up, with supporting posts against the walls going up soon after. I was limited by what I could do really once the main body had gone up. I can’t fix in four main posts that would support the beams in the middle of the space. The beams were pretty easy to install, with only the false wall stopping me from completing it. Once the final coat of paint is applied and dried I can completed and wait to paint the beams.

I’m really please with how this is all going and itching to get the text video out and seeing how it all work together. I know the beams will change how the video will fall into the space, but that’s also down to the positioning of the projector. Lastly, one thing I noticed when I was handling the model miniature, with all the beams in place, it felt more secure as an objects, more stable even. I think the beams are actually working as beams.

Painting the Town… Update (16/8/17)


Today I’ve been away from the studio, however I felt the need fill that time with the next test video that will ultimately speed up working on the next test. Taking found footage from The Hateful Eight (2015) I was able to go through the same process of editing away to find the moments when the victim is reacting to the violence. Some of those moments were too fast to really work with, that’s even when I started to slow them down.

I in the previous test I had previously chosen to slow them to 25%, which I settled with. However this time around I had to go even slower to have the same effect – 15% which allows the reactions to stay on-screen and have some effect. I left in a spectators reaction, which I was unsure about initially. I feel it’s important to keep as it shows how others perceive/experience it. Obviously there is no set rule when it comes to slowing down footage in this manner, every piece is different so I must see how footage looks when I manipulate it.

I’m hoping to add another coat of paint to the model miniature soon which is gradually becoming whiter as time goes by. Then when all the pieces are completed I can work on installing the beams that run the length of the piece, then it’s more painting, but nowhere near as much/long.

Painting the Town… Update (13/8/17)


I’ve returned to the studio to make a start on the painting of Minnie’s Haberdashery. I’ve decided to use both primer and acrylic paint this time. I know this will make the painting slightly longer. 3 coats of primer and 4-5 of acrylic.  So far the process to paint with both took less than 3 hours to complete. Of course it will vary from coat to coat.

It’s great to see colour (white) to be in this piece which is pushing me in every direction at the moment. I need to consider also working on the material that will be projected. I hope to get that together soon as possible so I can have smooth transition to the next test.

Again I won’t be posting updates as I add more coats, that would be pointless really, I’ll hold back until something happens to share again.

Remainder (2015)


I just caught Remainder (2015) purely on recommendation from Mark Kermode a film he compared with Synecdoche, New York (2006) another film that caught my imagination in terms of how realities are constructed, both within the film and the theoretical consequences of those constructions. When Tom (Tom Sturridge) suffers brain damage in an awful accident in London, his whole life becomes fragmented. Having to start over again really. Learn to walk, move, to be him again, which is something we never really see, more a version that is after the accident. After a massive payout from the accident he’s in a financial position to try to understand what happened to him. That’s before we see a guy who alienates his brother, his ex and those who just want to help him. Is this him before after the accident, an abrasive guy who just can no longer function normally in society. You would want to steer clear of this guy for a while at least, could it be the brain damage that has altered his personality? None of these questions are really answered.

Instead with a payout (around £8.5 million) he sets about reconstructing a fractured memory. With the money behind him he can start to realise what is going on in his tormented head. Turning to Naz (Arsher Ali) who is quickly hired as his PA, producer and general assistant who takes more than he really has to. A guy who is the conscience of the film – not that you’d really know as he is rather passive unless really needed, You could easily read a sexual relationship of dominator and dominated – Naz being mostly dominated throughout this odd yet rather fascinating film.

I would like to have known how the accident first occurred as we discover it acts as time-loop that would in theory allow the events to unfold infinitely which would allow for a more horrific and disturbing film than what we have. So what do we have when he’s back on his feet. A loner with financial freedom to try and reconstruct his memory, or one specific one, as the clip above begins to really move the plot forward which up until then does drag, as we like Tom are unsure of where things are going, just as much as we are. After the meeting which goes pretty well, we begin to see the perfectionist really breaking out, the control freak who through ear pieces and pure power, his memory starting to resurface. It’s rather odd to see an old lady being told at whim to move forward and then in reverse, to have the sound levels reduced, everything is at his whim. It’s not virtual reality – or is it. It’s a reality that he has constructed to allow him to explore what is or what.

I’m very much reminded of Synecdoche, New York when a theatre director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) construct and direct a whole world. Yet there’s more creative freedom in this controlled environment. He allows his actors to bring their own interpretations of the roles. It’s a collaborative construction, not one that’s dictated. He has the remote control. There’s no delegation here. The similarities lie in the loss of time, it has no meaning here, only to allow us to re-enact what is going on in and now outside of his head. Both are driven for the truth and at great cost to the men. Before long we see him paying actors to play-out a more intimate moment in his flat, is his torturing himself or wanting to understand this moment in his life. He’s deadly serious and shows no or little thought for those who are part of his recreations.

The action moves from the block of flats to a reconstruction of a bank where a robbery took place, Tom’s fascinated to understand what went on there, how it played out. But why, and how is that connected to him. Only a guy he knew – Chris (Jumayn Hunter) whose killed and believed to be linked to the crime. It’s an avenue he must explore, an instinctive urge within him to explore. He doesn’t care what lengths he goes to, he’s almost suicidal in his acts. The robbery becomes the central focus of the film as Tom begins to pay for a full-scale replica of the bank, the street it’s on and the sky above. It’s like a film set without the cameras to capture the action, no audience to witness the crime, just actors who blindly replay the scene over and over again. A time-loop which can be controlled at his whim.

I was disturbed at the lengths he goes to, the control freak nature of the character makes him very unlikable, yet we carry on watching as we want to know what is this all about. A clinically controlled set that is carrying out the same test right up until the final test where reality is the new variable, shaking up the cards, going out to the real location, the actors have been lab-rats in one giant laboratory experiment, with no real purpose more than to explain the fragments of the mind of a guy that you come to really dislike. It’s the whole process and methodology that keeps you involved in the dark film that really gives you little to work with.

Patients who suffer with amnesia would relish being to have the freedom to re-enact scenes from their fragmented or lost memories in hoping to fill in the lost parts of their long-term memory. I was drawn to the low-key initial creations, the drawings and cardboard models that allowed Tom to start to piece together his past, which turns out to be a vicious circle he is doomed to repeat, there’s no room for change here, not like in Groundhog Day (1993) which allowed weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) to relive and learn from the day and improve himself in order to finally escape this loop which first was too much to handle. Tom is nothing like Phil, who was just as unlikable to begin but finds redemption in his ability to learn and grow. This is pure sci-fi that shows sometimes are destiny can sometimes never be altered. Flawed yet deeply fascinating, with questions that are left unanswered after seeing a guy we hardly know become someone you care little about yet your hanging onto know whats going to happen

Painting the Town… Update (9/8/17)


I’ve decided to take a few days off after a period of great activity. I feel the speed I am going at is not going to be a good thing if I keep it up. I need to stop, reflect and do other things. I am hoping to return later in the month to prime/paint the work before I project.

With my decision out of the way I had a shorter day in the studio, working on firstly on the new design for the chairs, which meant less detail but taking the same form. I felt when comparing the two designs, that it would be easier to make the second one, however it started to look like a babies high-chair. I feel though that ultimately that less is more in this case. I may change my mind during my time off and create 21 new chairs.

I moved onto add the funnel to the furnace/boiler and also attempt to smooth out the main body of the model. I’m not all that happy with this piece, I think because it still out of my abilities when it comes to curved cardboard, working with tubes can be hit and miss.

Moving onto what I have the most fun at – the Balsa wood detail. Maybe it was the change of material, working with something different that made it all the better for me. I also used less than I cut, usually its underestimated. This time I decided to pay more attention to the window frames, which are thinner, so I cut strips in half. I found that more satisfying too as it was more thoughtful than the average gesture. Maybe I am developing a new model language, or my making is simply changing as I move forward with this work.

When I return to the studio I will be beginning to prime and them paint the entire model, which I think will take me through the rest of the month.

The Deep/Djúpið (2012)


Just recently I’ve been watching quite a few foreign language films that have all been very engaging, the one previous to The Deep/Djúpið (2012) was Julieta (2016) which I remember being discussed on it’s release in the UK. I must admit that I did try to write a review yesterday but failed to have the fire in me to get past a few paragraphs to really make it worth my time. I may return to it as and when. Having seen Deep/Djúpið  I was unaware of what I would really expect, knowing only that there was a ship wreck, beyond that I knew little else. I think going into a film, foreign language or not its best to know as little as possible as it can really raise your expectations. I had very few beyond the description that came with the recording. Over breakfast I was taken back to 1984, and to an Icelandic Island where a tragedy was about to unfold.

We meet a group of men on a night out, it’s cold, snowing and tempers are running high at the time. I’m already thinking how are they not wearing more layers than they are here. I’m not considering that they are used to these temperatures so its nothing new to them. Unusually for a film we are following the more unlikely of characters, a man whose more rotund, not your the kind of man you expect to see leading a film, which in itself refreshing. Gulli (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) whose an average guy enjoying himself on a night out. Away from Hollywood representation of men at least is more true to life. For now we don’t know that the focus of the film is on him, as we meet 5 other men who we get to know before they set off on another fishing trip. Ironically the only real connection to Julieta. We see a few of the men back home, Palli (Joi Johannsson) who has a wife and kids. A man whose loved by all he knows, these moments are all important as we lead up to our time at sea. We also have a young chef whose about to be pushed by his new captain. All these moments allow us to get to know the men before they set off for the North Sea.

The look of the film is semi-documentary, not really getting in the faces of the characters, allowing them to just get on with life on the fishing boat. I was reminded briefly of the visceral imagery in Leviathan (2012) that took us into the silent world of fishermen at work, given only the images and silence between conversation aboard a ship. The audience is teased very early on into the trip as a net gets caught under the surface. Thankfully the first time they are able to save themselves from capsizing. Making me wonder why they would cast their net in such an area, aren’t these experienced fisherman out on another trip. It shows how incompetent the crew might be, do they not know the waters well enough to avoid this section of the sea. It’s a flaw in the film that is not explored. We are left wondering just why did they do this in the first place.

The second time around the net is caught and it’s too late, the winch is still going out and they are slower to react. We have been waiting for this to happen really, what will they do, will they get themselves out of this incident. It’s how the react that is the direction the film leads us. We see a father and son loose each other, a chef never to cook another meal  whilst Gulli tries his best to rescue the remainder of the crew. Breaking Palli free before the real drama begins, going into survival mode. I forget this is the North Sea, becoming more about wanting these men to get back out of this cold water. 3 men soon become one – Gulli is the sole survivor of the crew, the man we weren’t expecting really in classic film terms. It’s awful seeing him all alone in the freezing water, with only a seagull to keep him company, for without the bird we would be in the world of Robert Redford‘s All is Lost (2012) and surviving at sea.

Its a different kind of survival, there are no books, no kit to work with, just pure instinct and the need to stay alive, to stay sane in the ice cold waters that has just taken his five colleagues. You could say it’s the Gull who saved him, kept him talking. Ignoring that seagulls come out to sea to die, he obviously close to land. His life does flash before his eyes in super 8 format, something you either go with or see as contrived as we return to this method a few times to allow flashbacks to happen. We are taunted with another boat that is so close yet so far away. Gulli has to swim to stay alive. Time really is drawn out before he finally spots land and faces another battle, the harsh rocky landscape and the tide that throws him about like a bit of drift wood. He finally makes it back to familiar ground, with bleeding feet and exhaustion.

He soon becomes the talk of the island, the loss of 5 men at sea and one survivor, something professionals all believe to be a miracle to survive from. You start to think about how and why he survived and it becomes glaring the obvious the more time we spend with Gulli, his extra weight acted as an insulator, not the scientific community reach that conclusion for sometime. Instead he’s invited to take part in medical research. We are wasting time here as we don’t need to see him treated like a lab-rat, the miracle is not a miracle, even to those who aren’t medically trained. It’s the weight, the fat that insulated him – they call it Seal fat, which is laughable as his parents would have to be Seals and we would have to be the world of Men & Chicken (2015). All I can think of now is puppy fat in children which is nonsense too.

Anyway flaw found I move onto see a man whose been poked, prodded and tested until he can take no more. Wanting to get on with his life. Do what he promised God he would, allowing others and himself to grieve and move on. To finally go back out there and put his life at risk once more, a fisherman a trade he cannot give up. It’s his life and the only one he knows, it’s a dangerous one which we have seen affect him far greater than we could imagine. On balance The Deep does have good intentions and have real heart. It fails to explore why the men cast their net twice is low areas, instead it focuses on the ‘miracle’ that was an overweight guy surviving in the North Sea. Common sense could have saved us a lot of time and given is a very different film. We do however really care for Gulli whose not allowed to process what’s happened and to get on with his life.

Painting the Town… Update (8/8/17)


Today was all about populating the floor space of Minnie’s haberdashery, which was starting to take shape yesterday. On the list were mainly tables and chairs to be made. First I got to work on the tables, the ones I found last time were adjusted with taller bases. I then moved onto a few of the other more angular tables, I found my making process changing today, with a flatter top before the legs were added. Previously I was sometimes having the legs flush with the top. I feel the free-standing pieces are better though, the designs will be taking onto future model miniature furniture.

I spent a lot of time working on the chairs, I made a start on the tops of four, however I found the construction of the legs to be tricky and cumbersome. Working with single-ply cardboard and the scale of the work the pieces soon became flattened, just from working with them. I had a good design when I finally had a design I was happy with. I am considering a more minimal design to try out next time. Whilst I am also looking at having none at all. Looking at the previous model miniature I made no chairs. However I feel that they may clutter up the space, there will be 21 in the space of a few different designs. Maybe I should plod on and make more if not all of them and see how they look.

Part of me is wanting to leave the cardboard making behind for a day apply the balsa detail, which in itself will be increased in some detail. Again finding the balance.

I finished the day by making the furnace/boiler which is not my best work, and did take sometime to get it to a place I was happy with. I still need to some work to it before I can happily leave it.

So I have reached a point where some decisions have to be made before I leave the making behind and start to paint the piece. It’s going really fast at this point, I know with painting it will definitely slow down I have more than doubled the loose pieces that need my attention.

 

Painting the Town… Update (7/8/17)


Today has marked a turning point in my practice, I am expanding what I can make. Pushing myself to work with interiors has forced me to make the furniture that goes with these settings. They can’t just be bear a shells of a model miniature, they need to be populated with loose pieces which I thought would be a challenge for me, which is why I left them for so long. It’s only due to the material I am working with and the concept in its current position that I am adapting my language to a whole other world of pieces and ultimately expanding what I am capable of.

I began the day by finishing off the pieces that sit against the wall, a few shelves and another tall shelf unit, which I thought was a small wall fixed pieces. Just shows the importance of referring back to your research when your making.

Moving on I made a start on two of the larger pieces – the beds. Something I decided to tackle as they are large pieces which would help determine how much space will be left in the model miniature. Beds being beds, they aren’t exactly angular. I decided to use some brown paper to wrap around a closed box that I made, to create a more believable mattress form with some weight to it. The bed frame took some time to work out. Once I reinforced the legs it could take it’s own weight. Looking at the sides the mattress does look at little high, I may alter that next time I’m working in the studio.

Moving on from the two beds, one double, another single, I turned to pieces I’d been thinking about in terms of construction. I thought that the chairs could all be made around cardboard tubes, which I could work with. So far I have only used one for an armchair, which works well for the form. The one that mirrors it is far more angular, again working from the visual research. I completed the odd set of armchairs with a mini table to sit in the middle of them, which was the easiest piece of the day. I’m find that the chairs will be the hardest to make.

I finished the day by looking forward to the rest of the chairs and furniture, it terms of how much space I have to play with when making the remaining pieces. I have already made use of two tables that I made previously for the other internal model miniature. I realised though that I needn’t worry too much as in the set there’s a collection of odd piece that don’t match so I am taking this idea forward when making to an extent, allowing me more creative freedom.

Painting the Town… Update (6/8/17)


I’ve had a busy few days so I decided today I would dedicate a good portion of the day to my work. A decision I am very happy with. The aim was to make a solid start on the furniture that sits against the walls. I feel that all but a few pieces have indeed been completed today.

Using my visual research I started on one side and began to work my way around the model miniature. Using the drawings on the walls as a basic frame for the model too, I began with a few pieces, most have 3 sides as they would be sit against the wall. It’s only in the case of shelving where I needed to reinforce a few to ensure they are as straight as possible. One of the shelves just gets by. However I like how it looks so I’m going to leave it as is.

Moving onto the kitchen section of Minnie’s haberdashery I realised early on into just considering what had to be made that they would be really hard to paint around, with shelving on the walls. it’s the only section which has proved problematic for me. So far I have made 2 false walls, which allows me during the making and painting process have everything in place and ensure even paint coverage. They will more than likely be painted with a mix of primer and acrylic paint.

I’ve made furniture as loose as I can and strongly linked to The Hateful Eight, it’s really detailed for me too, its only going to get more as I add tables and chairs, and two beds. The only issue I have is scale and representation compared to the full scale set in the film.