Bow Arts Open Studio at E3 2012

Giclee prints made for Bow Arts Open Studio
Mantis Warrior and Lift Off prints
Take down
Some quick photo’s from the Bow Arts Open Studio Event held over the last month. For some this is a time to sell work for me it was more a report card and reflection on where my new portfolio is and an opportunity to show some of the work I’ve completed so far.

If I’m still at the Bow studio next year I’ll definitely get some helpers as I didn’t get to see nearly enough of the work on show.

It’s a lot more work than you think and really pushed my practice forward and made me stop and think about where I’m at. A useful point of reflection.

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Our MA Degree Show

2010 MA Illustration degree show invite

This definitely counts as shameless self promotion but nervous as we all are I think that we all have something to be proud of.

I have not only been working on more work for the final show but also our 2010 MA Illustration blog and promoting the show through the Twitter account I set up.

Lucky me Illustration has 45 graduating students on show and so the blog was a bit of a mammoth to pull together. Sadly WordPress has no easy way to bulk populate pages. Regardless of the difficulties it has been a satisfying process and the results are a showcase of the diverse illustrative styles on the course.

The show starts with a private view on July 13th and finishes on Saturday July 17th. Please come down and have a look.

I’ll be showcasing some of the students work using the MA illustration Twitter account so why not follow us.

Exhibitions and private views

Table For Living by Emily Rohrer

Table For Living by Emily Rohrer

Designer Makers MA interim show

The interim show for designer maker strand of the Camberwell College MA (south London) had it’s private view on Wednesday night. It is part of my intention to try and engage in the time left with other MA pathways and turning up to their interim show was a good way to do that.

Designer Makers are a small group but they successfully filled the Wilson Road ground floor with work. Although I’ve my favourites the standard of all the work on display was high which bodes well for the end of year show!

I really liked Emily Rohrer’s furniture models (seen above). There is something intrinsically engaging about miniatures especially ones with moving parts. Displayed with the plans they were very much like architectural models.

Ceramic work by Jessica Zoller

Ceramic work by Jessica Zoller

Jessica Zollers ceramic work also caught my eye, and for me had a link to Sara Willets gouged acrylic that was on show last year at Wilson road. The forms have an organic coral like feeling swarming up the wall as they did.

Lu Hakozaki had some interesting furniture models in a very different mode to Emily’s work. Photo’s of which are on her blog. I really liked the rounded skeletal forms and was intrigued with how these were made.

Spidering it’s way up the wall was a wirey meandering piece that I think is Ashley Hemingway’s (maybe someone can confirm this). My impression of this  wirey piece was that it felt like a journey on the underground mirroring the point to point feeling that one gets from not seeing the landscape travelled only the landmarks. The wire and enamel also felt like the steel and tiles that make up so much of the essence of a tube trip.

I’m someone who can stand a look at work I enjoy for ages, both admiring the craft and skill of the maker and trying to divine both the artists intent and what it means for me personally.

Designer Makers from this years MA can feel proud, I was impressed by the skill and ideas driving the work.

For the curious you can find out more about the artists via the Designer Makers MA wiki:

http://madm.wikispaces.com/

Version at Medcalf, Exmouth Market

Version invitation and map

This week also saw the private view for the Version exhibition at the Medcalf in Exmouth Market, featuring ex-MA Camberwell students.

The concept was an interesting idea with the artists pairing up and creating works inspired by elements of each others practice. The Medcalf has regular small exhibitions with a great little space paired with a restaurant bar.

This exhibition is definitely worth having a look at and is on till the end of April.

Jane Henricks has some photo’s on her blog of the night.

You can also see some of the artists work at the Medcalf blog:

http://medcalf.wordpress.com/

Ronald Searle at the Cartoon Museum

Ronald Searle - Graphic Master catalogue

The Cartoon Museum in central London is currently hosting a retrospective of Ronald Searle’s work.

The exhibition successfully covers his life’s work featuring not only his early noteworthy pieces like the St Trinian’s series but much of the editorial work  that he became known for. Searle is 90 now so I can only imagine how tricky it must have been to pick out what to keep in and what to leave.

It’s interesting to see his transition, from the rough drawings of his prison camp life during the second world war to the success that St Trinian’s brought and the development of his line and colour work in the decades since. I highly recommend dropping by, it’s on till July.

Matt Jones on his blog has done a great job of writing about Searle for those who want a bit more background.

End note

I have been busy on my project work and hope to have some posts featuring more of my works in progress shortly.

Digital Painting Research

Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad in action, the first computer based drawing system.

Ivan Sutherlands Sketchpad in action, the first computer based drawing system.

I finally completed my research paper on digital painting last month and it was a revelation.

I now have a much clearer idea of what I need to do to meet my goals. Not for the faint hearted I have to learn to paint using traditional methods – either in a digital or physical environment, or both – sharpen my drawing skills and find time to produce work for my MA as well as keep working to pay the bills!

The day after handing my paper in I went to see Ray Caesar’s work in the flesh at the Art London exhibition in Chelsea and had another revelation. Digital (giclée) printing seems to have advanced quite dramatically and some of the work had a textured lacquer that made the work look more painterly.

Regardless seeing these prints was impressive and cemented the real art of his work. The detail and compositions were superb and are pretty jaw dropping in person.

Interestingly Caesar’s work was, for me, among the most cutting edge work on show. His choice of content and technique are challenging and made much of the traditional painted work on display look tired. No matter how much talent is poured into traditional style oil paintings they seemed to lack the vibrancy and inventiveness of Caesar.

There were some other interesting piece’s at the exhibition and next time I vow to allow more time to get round the whole show.

Sutherlands vision of a computer based drawing system is realised by the likes of Wacoms Cintiq drawing screen.

Sutherland's vision of a computer based drawing system is realised by the likes of Wacom's Cintiq drawing screen.

Also as part of my research paper I brought Don Seegmillers ‘Advanced Painter Techniques‘. Seegmiller is very popular with the concept art crowd and this book has extremely practical advice on using Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop to make images. His techniques are strongly rooted in traditional painting being built up in a similar way and he uses the language of traditional oil and acrylic painting throughout the book.

One of the other key concepts that I encountered from traditional UK painter Will Rochfort was the idea that it’s completely acceptable to abandon images that aren’t working. I’ve been working on a couple of pieces that seemed like a good idea in sketch form but whose composition hasn’t worked as painted pieces. The question is do you trash the working files or archive them? A traditional painter might reuse the canvas but in digital this is not necessary.

Hockney was considering destroying the original files of his recent digital work – this would certainly affect the value of the first runs of his digital prints and raises all sorts of interesting questions.

I’ve also joined Wikipedia so I can edit the ‘digital painting‘ entry which is missing much of what my research revealed about the subject.

Lastly in the words of my mate Phoebe (and Camberwell Arts MA graduate) talking about the research paper ‘you can see why they make you do it’. Yes absolutely it has been key to pushing my practice forward.

I found it incredibly challenging not being an academic writer, I still don’t know if it made it over the line, maybe no news is good news!

Mapplethrope Polaroids exhibition Oxford 2009

Polaroid Mapplethorpe Oxford 09

While in Oxford a few weeks ago we dropped into the Oxford Museum of Modern Art which we literally stumbled upon while walking round the back streets.

The Mapplethorpe exhibition had 92 of a potential 1500 polaroids that Mapplethorpe took during his career. They featured his favoured topics, celebrity, sexuality and the classical nude and to my surprise present a much higher quality Polaroid than I’ve seen before. The black and white Polaroids are more like small high quality framed images than the happy snaps that had been so popular.

Even in these small fast images you can see why he became so revered, the composition, lighting and tonality are amazing.