Visual Artist

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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.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (10/8/20)


I feel like this week I might be returning to the studio, however I can’t do that until Wednesday due to the Covid guidelines to ensure everyone is safe. Until then I’m continuing to work at home at the same pace, something I hope to replicate at the studio on my return. Today despite the heat – 29 degrees I’ve been able to do more than I expected. Last Friday I called it a day not long after lunch. I think part of why I carried on today was because I got myself into a rhythm with the work.

I began the day by replacing the strips of balsa for the musician’s apartment with thinner pieces that I’ve been using on the majority of the apartment complex. Looking at it now I’m much happier with it, more balanced and in keeping with the look of the environment. I feel that it may need to be reinforced at the top and bottom with a horizontal strip that will run in between each vertical strip, this will make a difference to the look of the building. I then added balsa to the remaining door frames.

Moving on I went over to the opposite side of the complex to work on the remaining building that hadn’t been touched since it’s construction. I had an idea a few days before about how I could approach the sash windows. Constructing a frame that would be mostly hidden from view I could position and fix panes at different positions. With room at the top for another strip to cover the arch that appears above the majority of the windows. It’s worked really well, allowing them to get made in a two batches (two different sizes) before being fixed into place.

I ended the day by switching back to the opposite side to added two more details, a door and a pair of windows that appear below the concrete apartment block. They are slightly different, allowing for possible refits/renovations that could have taken place over the years. I’m dealing with prospectives, not certainties as I guess how things would look today.

Looking ahead I need to add a few more cardboard details, maybe a few more bits of balsa to the apartments. Open windows I’m still considering when they should be inserts into the piece to avoid possible difficulties during painting. I also need to consider how I’m going to construct the fire escape, ladders and balconies, could they be made from plastic or go back to cardboard, more research is required.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (7/8/20


It’s supposed to be the hottest day of the year in the UK, so I was in two minds about even doing any work. I decided after not really feeling the heat the past few days to see how I went. I was able to carry on until about 3pm today before feeling it was too much to really enjoy or have the energy to keep going. Even in a well ventilated room it’s been enough to say…let’s read a book instead.

In all honesty though I’ve done more than I even set out to do. I think in part due to the fact I have developed a technique with the windows and now door frames. I began by moving around to the right to the concrete covered apartments, where I fixed far less windows than previously, allowing me to move faster. I was also working with the same dimensions throughout the first set of windows before breaking for lunch. At least one had to be remade but I felt much calmer today as I knew what I was doing.

After lunch I moved onto the musicians apartment, a section of the apartment block I wasn’t looking forward to. The top floor was far easier, making up a grid that I have fitted to the space above the angled ground floor. I’ve added a trim to neaten up the section too. Looking back at that the angled section I’m strongly considering ripped out the pieces I’ve fitted in favour of the thinner strips of balsa to be in are in place for the rest of the windows. Now to make things more complicated I do actually want to add panes – plastic sheets, which I still need to consider. It’s a complex construction, even before any paints been applied to it.

To finish the day I moved onto the home of Miss Torso and the artist, which so far I’ve just added window and door frames, the first to receive that treatment. In terms of modernising I’m restricted to the shape of the windows. I’ve got some ideas when it comes to adding the casement windows that will all be open to some degree.

 

Looking ahead I’ll be tackling the rest of the doorways and a few more windows before looking at the apartments where the newlyweds lived, which require a sash windows and a header piece above them. So I need to consider how this will work. I’ve ordered some more material for this, with hopes of putting a working idea into practice, adapting what I’ve learned from the large sash windows to this scale. Things are getting more complicated and I’m rising to the challenge.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (5-6/8/2020)


Again I’m sharing the past few days as yesterday I had to basically down tools as I hadn’t yet received my new materials to allow this work to progress. I had however still tried to make something of the day when it came to the windows. I had a few plastic CD wallets to hand, which I wanted to make use of again for the windows. Not that I use them a lot in my model making, they are still my go to for window panes.

My initial ideas was to just fix cut pieces on one side of the windows in the bay of the L.B. Jeffries apartment that I could do. I honestly thought I’d cracked it, after being apprehensive in the plastic fixing to the balsa I packed that part of the work away. Later on I took another look to see how it was holding, unfortunately it was not really doing the job when I started to touch it more. After a little more research I realised that the plastic had to be sandwiched in between the balsa to work, also reflecting how actual window are made. In reality a groove is made within the piece that make up the frame of a window. There was no way at this scale I could do that, sandwiching and bringing multiple pieces together was only way forward. I tried it out that evening after carefully removing one frame from the side of the bay. Making up the window only took about 20 – 30 minutes to complete and fix back into place. Thankfully it work immediately. I was really happy to have achieved this, probably the first milestone of this work that has to be celebrated.

I came back to my work the next morning, having received the material I needed to get started with the work on the windows. First up staying with the bay windows I constructed opposite window, before focusing on the 6 windows that make up the sash windows. Some were easier than others, with their own set of measurements for each frame. Even then I had to trim them down to fit, it wasn’t an easy job. It’s only after fitting them that I now realise that I need to paint these pieces, a problem that I’ll have to approach with some consideration.

Moving on I’ve added the first set of window frames to the apartment block that’s home to The Thorwald’s and Miss Lonely Hearts the window frames have gone in today. Using a thin cut of balsa that is almost equal to matchsticks, which became very cumbersome at times. At the time of writing they frames have held in place of the cardboard holes that were cut for them. The next stage will be to add the casement windows to some of them. I’m thinking that adding plastic window panes will be incredibly fiddly at this scale as I’d have to ensure that panes fix and stay on permanently with less surface area to work with. Also the effect could only be achieved on the windows that aren’t open. This could be done by fixing a piece of plastic to the cardboard that reaches over the sides of each window, a similar method to yesterday that ultimately failed.

Moving forward I won’t be adding open windows for now as I need to get all of the windows covered. I know the hardest section to do will be the musicians apartment, that might be a whole days work. For now I can look back at the last two days work with a sense of pride, another important moment in my practice has been reached.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (4/8/20)


It’s been a quiet day today. I started after lunch as I was running an errand. I was hoping for some material to arrive to allow me to get stuck into the making of the window after making a good start on them last time. That wasn’t to be the case. Hopefully they will arrive tomorrow now. Today then became a day to busy myself with what material I had to hand, which I discovered was just enough.

The first job of the day was adding a frame to the kitchen window, which began life as just a cardboard frame being added around the outside of the piece. It’s now covered in balsa waiting to fix. Staying with the windows I added a small bars to break up the side windows in the bay window. I’m not intended to make them sash windows as they are far too narrow to really do much with them.

I then had to really think what did I really want to do, without making busy work. So I’ve made more fencing that continues the fencing that was made last time, for what could be a small park. I’ve still not decided yet. I’ve also added fencing to divide off the ground and better reflect the original plan. I’m thinking things have changed out in the open as much as internally to the apartments. So more fencing could go up too. Part of updating the environment is guessing how much things have changed whilst still not completely changing things beyond recognition.

My fingers are crossed that the postman brings me some goodies tomorrow to allow me to continue or I’ll have to down tools are thinks what else I can do.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (3/8/20)


A new week, a new month and things are really chilled right now. My recovery is going well as I’m building up to a days work with a few breaks. It’s going well. I feel I could be back at the studio for sure before the end of the month.

Today I’ve pretty much left behind the cardboard for balsa now…finally I can get on with the detailing that cardboard just can’t really achieve. Making use of Gorilla glue that I was recommended to use when I was working for Saad Qureshi last year. It really sped up the construction process. Allowing me to get more done, not relying so much on PVA, instead having a contact adhesive that within seconds fixes two pieces together. Even working from off-cuts of balsa I’ve accumulated over the years I’ve been able to make 4 pieces today for both the apartment block and L.B. Jeffries apartment.

I began with making up a gated fence that leads into the private gardens of the apartment block. It may have to be remade partially as the entrance is a little on the narrow side. We’ll see when the other apartment building is brought in, how that affects the work.

Moving on I turned to Miss Torso’s apartment, adding the rail of the balcony, leading down with the stairs to the ground. I found the balcony an easy upgrade after some research. It was the stairs which I always find the hardest, even with the basic frame in place it allowed me to make something up that I’m happy with.

I then moved onto a chimney that sits outside the musicians apartment. I had two attempts, first working into a long strip of balsa, before settling on a hollow piece that I had more control in making. This piece marked a switch from contact adhesive to PVA, as it combined the two glues.

Staying with PVA I switched over to L.B. Jeffries apartment, setting up the window frames for the sash windows to be added in place of the casement windows in the bay. I noticed at the end of the day a side window near the kitchen. I’ll add some cardboard at the side to allow an extra frame to be added.

I’ve got some fresh material coming very soon that should allow me to continue and make a start on the windows for the rest of the apartment. Seeing balsa being added to the work, it’s taking on its own form. I’m considering what to modernise all the time. Things should start to move a lot faster now that I’m using two types of glue, considering how I can best utilise them.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (29 – 30/7/20)


Today’s studio update will cover the past two days as I didn’t post yesterday, which was a pretty brief time of making, spending most of the day working on something top secret (all will be revealed soon). I’ve been far more productive today as I leave behind the cardboard detailing and prepare for the balsa to begin.

Yesterday I made two additional pieces for the updated apartment, a long desk for the bay window, before moving onto make a ladder shelf. I took inspiration from IKEA for the remaining pieces as I wanted to make it really contemporary, drawing from what’s really available now.

Today I began with the last few pieces for L.B. Jeffries updated apartment, it’s completely unrecognizable right now, it’s open plan and spacious compared to the 1954 design. I added an flat screen TV and a small cabinet piece that sits below the screen. I feel lazy for adding a screen, but that’s the reality of modern life, something that 1950’s films stayed away from depicting, unless they were making a point. TV was then perceived as the enemy.

With all the new furniture in place I wanted to get the balsa out straight away, I nearly missed a step completely – gum tape that is needed in places to cover up any unwanted gaps or joins that I want to hide and smooth out. I began with what I had in front of me – the apartment. This was more straightforward as I was simply covering larger sections and some joins. However I as I moved onto the apartment complex, things became more problematic. The covering of joins and sides became more subtle as I worked on the buildings. Yet I feel and fear that some of these joins interventions that maybe visible still. At this scale and detail I am concerned. There are other sections such as the balcony to Miss Torso’s is covered at the sides nicely, the ventilation is covered smoothly where in view. Some sections have been nicely blended together now, whilst others I fear are now more visible. On a positive note I found my technique improving – cutting lengths of gum tape to varying widths to cover pieces really well.

It’s a mixed time for me today, hopefully when I start on the balsa detail next time my confident should improve. I’m considering having sash windows for L.B. Jeffries apartment instead of the twin casement. I want to show that it’s a different space to the one outside that should be more familiar.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (28/7/20)


It’s been a good day today, I’m starting to feel better with this staggered return where I’ve got breaks during the day, not just for lunch, they are allowing me carry on for longer. I began the day working on the apartment block and ending it onto L.B. Jeffries apartment.

I began by making some widescreen TV’s for three of the apartments; Miss Torso, Thorwald’s and Miss Lonely Hearts. I felt that they needed something extra to finish them off. They may just become large frames pictures hanging on the wall. I also gave Miss Lonely Hearts a smaller table below the new TV. I then moved onto reduce the width of the kitchen elements, and remake the one on the top floor (of what I’m including). I also added one set of shelving to the fire-escape sleepers apartment, as I picked out a detail that would otherwise be overlooked. Finally I did some last minute structural work to allow for a door to be fitted. It sounds extreme but way I have built the doorway left me with little choice but to rip the top floor out at the rear to rebuild, allowing for a false door to be added on one side.

After that work was completed I felt I had done all I could do in terms of cardboard work on the apartment block/complex, I moved back to rework L.B. Jeffries apartment. Beginning to modernise the apartment. So far I’ve taken out the bookcase and hospital bed. I’ve built on the once hidden kitchen to extend and fill-out that side of the apartment. I’ve reworked the sink to be a whole and covered unit with drawers and cupboards below and at the sides. Above I’ve got more cupboards. Moving into the apartment more I’ve got a kitchen island, where my first stools are sitting around. They took a little while to figure out the basic construction, the height was the main issue. I think I’ve done a good job though.

Next time I’ll be working my way around the piece adding a desk and more pieces that may potentially be fixed to the walls when I’ve painted the piece. The fireplace will remain as it shows history to the place. Once all cardboard work is complete on this piece I’ll be getting out the balsa to start work on the finer details, that is where I feel the fun will really begin.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (27/7/20)


It’s been well over a fortnight since my last update. I needed the break really after working almost flat out since Lockdown in late March. It was a well deserved break that I really enjoyed. The return to work is slow and tentative right now so I could stop for a few more days if I feel I need to. Tonight I feel I made the right decisions to ease myself back into things.

Today I actually felt anxious about my work, just where do I start working on. A lot of the apartments need some attention. I started by ripping out the floor of the insert for the artists apartment as it created a raised level that really didn’t work. I carried out a few more repairs before getting onto Miss Torso’s apartment, which I’ve modernised to have a sofa-bed instead of a bed that is found in the film. The furniture so far is quite minimal. However I’ve added two more walls to section off the bathroom, which on the other side has a worktop for the kitchen which looks out of the front window. I’m happy without how it’s looking. I’m struggling to think of what else to add at this stage. I’ve inadvertently blocked off one corner of the space with the walls now, which limits what I can do too.

I finished the day by reducing the size of the display cabinet for the musicians apartment. Removing the protective doors that were on the piece, this piece looks a little more contemporary, having the shelves exposed.

Looking ahead I need to work on the two apartments above the Thorwald’s. The top one needs a new wall where the door is, which I’ll replace with a false door. Whilst the one below will have some furniture made up. They both also need the kitchens remaking as they aren’t to scale, this needs to be rectified to fit visually with the apartment. Then I can take a step back to consider what else I can do. I feel the other apartments need in terms of cardboard. I might return to L.B. Jeffries to modernise, where I’ve got plans to really change the space completely.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (10/7/20)


My last studio update of the week allows me to look back at how far the work has progressed. I’m also still very much on the mend. The apartment block has lost a lot of light as I’ve removed a lot of light with pieces I’ve constructed to block out the light in turn creating the rooms that are the apartments. I also produced some of the finer cardboard details during the middle of the week before finally turning to the furniture that populate these spaces, turning them into homes.

After making a confident start with the musicians studio apartment I made a start on the main apartment block where the majority of the action caught by L.B. Jeffries perspective. Starting from the ground floor I’ve begun to furnish, that being Miss Lonelyhearts apartment, I worked from visual research to build up the layout of the space. I found that I was taking a detour to make the kitchens that I believe appear in all of the apartments in the same position. The piece that I made was varied in height for each piece to make sure it fits perfectly.

 

Once these kitchen pieces were in place I finally made a start on very loose miniature furniture, this is hopefully more contemporary and simple in design. Again I don’t the piece to be stuck in 1954, the environment should be enough of a signifier. The same was applied to the Thorwalds apartment, where I had made some slight alterations, first I had to loose a window, which in turn means losing space. I’ve also had to add the first door to create the corridor.

So I end the week with 3 furnished apartments, with at least 4 still to go. I’m considering constructing some miniature  blinds to cover the windows of the apartments we don’t get to look into; bringing a new challenge to overcome. I’ll be leaving the kitchen space visible for continuity. I’m looking forward to working on Miss Torso’s and the artists homes. Once all the furnishings complete I’ll turn to the larger piece and redecorate, removing the bed, some new shelving and a desk space. I’m even going to add more of a kitchen to the piece. I’m bringing it all up to-date.

Lockdown with Hitchcock – Update (9/7/20)


Work with the apartment has today finished on the exterior as I now turn to a few interiors now. Getting there was a fun journey. The intention of the day was to work on the details that I could achieve from just using cardboard, pushing that later to a little bit of paper. I began with the windows again, adding window ledges to the majority of the windows – ignoring the studio apartment. This was a pretty quick addition that really adds more definition to the environment that already had the windows height extended.

Staying with the windows I made up a few canopy’s that I’ve been waiting patiently to make a start on. I’ve had some nice paper that I found in a previous job that I was saving for the right piece. That finally came today when I began work on these little pieces that sit in front of 3 windows. For now they aren’t being fixed as I need to still add the windows behind them; I don’t want to make the making process harder for myself. I have them and I’m very happy with them.

Looking at what I could achieve with cardboard for the exterior I’ve turned my attention to what I can do with the interiors. With only enough visual research for the musicians studio apartment I dived into make 4 miniature pieces – a fireplace, shelf, cabinet and the all important piano. I don’t want to make this pieces too complicated for a few reasons, first I’ve never made such small pieces of furniture. I don’t want the attention going to the work, focusing more on just populating and suggesting rather than illustrating. I’ve got more visual research to allow me to continue with the other main apartments and enough information to flesh out a further one that is not seen.

I’ve also decided that I want the piece to be more contemporary, not stuck in the mid 50’s. This means that I’ll be doing a little redecorating of the apartment. After watching Disturbia earlier this week I feel that it needs happen, removing the bed, replacing it with a desk, maybe a computer too. All that will come after I’ve finished furnishing the 4 remaining apartments. Some details are the same such as the kitchens at the front. I’ll also be added a wall where the apartments meet the corridor. I’ll need to decide what is fixed to the blocks that I’ve made earlier this week. I’m happy to have a new challenge as I enter a new world of miniature furniture. I’ve also decided to not have the twin beds on the Thorwald’s bedroom, replacing it with a double.