Monday, 18 March 2019

Mark Bradford - Los Moscos

Mark Bradford
Los Moscos 2004
Mixed media on canvas

I am blown away by the intensity of this work, and am attracted to the complexity of the surface. There is so much depth and detail, and I could look at it for hours. I am paying particular attention to the composition and the colours, and am considering such things in relation to the experiments that marginendeavour have been doing with our collage work.

This large-scale collage includes materials found by the artist on the streets around his studio in Los Angeles, USA. Visually suggestive of aerial maps of sprawling, urban areas, the collage is constructed entirely from paper fragments which, the artist believes, 'act as memory of things pasted and things past. You can peel away the layers of paper and it's like reading the the streets through the signs'. The work takes its title from a derogatory slang term for migrant day labourers in the San Francisco Bay Area, reflecting the artist's long-standing interest in the sub-cultures of the inner city.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Art of listening

Listening is central to projects such as Great and Tiny War and My quest to find a shaddock, and it is a skill that I have been made aware of more recently. It seems that it is a difficult skill to develop and one that perhaps is becoming less so as we become more reliant on technology.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Boustrophedon style writing

Just came across an article about boustrophedon style writing, and think it will be interesting in relation to the work I am doing for an exhibition in a barn on the outskirts of Hexham.  

'Boustrophedon means something like "as the ox turns."  Today we write in stoichedon style, in which all the letters face the same direction, like soldiers standing in formation.  Boustrophedon is based on an agricultural, not a military ideal:the writer writes as a farmer plows.  Write to the end of the line, and then, rather than returning to the left side of the page, turn the letters to face the opposite direction and write from right to left.  When you read boustrophedon, your eye follows a zig-zag across the page -- or the stone.

Have a look at this close-up of the engraving at Gortys and look at the way letters like "E," "K," and "S" face in adjacent lines:

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Penelope by Anthony Howell

I have been listening to the Heroine episode of Words and Music on BBC Radio 3, 

and the following poem grabbed my attention

To do what you undid
The night before
To undo what you did
The day before
To undo what you undid
Again the next night
To do what you did
As you do the next day
Only to undo it again
Just as you did
The night before
In order to do it again
Just as you did
The day before
The day before
Just as you did
In order to do it again
The night before
Just as you did
Only to undo it again
As you do the next day
To do what you did
Again the next night
To undo what you undid

Anthony Howell

It will take me some time to get my head around this poem, but it is reminding me of the act of compensation; how one may do something one day in order to compensate for the day before. For instance, "I needed to have a lie in this morning because yesterday I did not get a good night's sleep." This act of compensation could then lead to other compensatory behaviour being necessary. And so the cycle continues in a perpetual manner.

Friday, 1 March 2019

marginendeavour work in progress

The background of this artwork is made up of a collage of different samples of white that have been cut out from magazines. It is when the samples are displayed close together in such a manner that one recognises the variations in tones.

Ongoing studio experiments

Inverted lined paper

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Ongoing studio experiments - month to view

I have been experimenting with using pre-existing patterns and structures to provide me with a basic framework to work with.

I used a sheet from my month to view calendar as the basis for this watercolour. 

Monday, 25 February 2019

Ongoing studio experiments - dotted paper

I have been experimenting with using pre-existing patterns and structures to provide me with a basic framework to work with.

I used a sheet of dotted paper to as the basis for this watercolour. 

Ongoing studio experiments

I have been experimenting with using pre-existing patterns and structures to provide me with a basic framework to work with.

I used a sheet of gridded paper to as the basis for this watercolour. I left the gridded lines unpainted.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Silence - Episode 2 - BBC Radio 4

“We live in the age of noise. Silence is almost extinct.”

Philosopher and adventurer Erling Kagge, the first person to reach the ‘three poles’ of North, South and the summit of Everest, explores the power of silence. Struck by a vague angst about his constant need for distraction and reluctance to hold still for a single moment, the explorer asks how we lost silence and where we might go to find it again. 

Some of the main points of discussion in this second episode were the following.

Silence can be boring, uncomfortable, scary, a sign of loneliness or sorrow

We experience silence when we keep quiet when there is something that one does not want to talk about

Silence can also be a friend and comfort, reassuring

It can be daunting, one may rather do anything else as opposed to filling the silence with oneself

The problems faced by humanity stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone

One searches for fresh purposes that draw our attention outwards, away from ourselves

Such opportunities for interruption have increased dramatically over the last century

We live in the age of noise

Noise comes in the form of distracting sounds and images and as ones own fleeting thoughts

The more we are inundated with noise, the more we seek to be distracted

A chemical in the brain called opioid is meant to create the feelings of happiness that one gets when one has completed ones goals.

Dopamine is a chemical that helps regulate movement, attention, learning, and emotional responses. It also enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.Dopamine is stronger than opioid, and is the reason why one is never content that they have fulfilled their desires.

It is more fulfilling to anticipate and seek rather than to value and appreciate the fact that you have fulfilled your desires

This form of noise engenders anxiety and negative feelings.

The basic business model of social networks such as twitter is to create a need for you to use an app, which the same app should then fill, but only temporarily

FOMO - Fear of Missing Out or fear of missing a special moment

Silence is the opposite of all of this. It is about experiencing rather than overthinking, allowing each moment to be big enough, shutting out the world and creating your own silence

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Bodies publication available from Etsy

My text, Here I Am, was included in the Bodies publication. Bodies explores the fragile relationship between body and mind. How our bodies work and look can affect our mental well-being and how our minds operate often has a direct effect on our physical appearance. Bodies was a collaborative creation looking at how people view their bodies; the subtle differences and similarities that make us who we are.

The texts are a collection of prose and poetry from various practitioners that were edited together by Ragna Amling, who conceptualised the zine. Design and Illustrations by Steven Affleck.

The publication can be bought for £6.50 + delivery from Etsy.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

RSA Winter Newsletter 2019

I feel very honored to be included in the RSA Winter Newsletter 2019, alongside friends, former tutors and colleagues such as Stuart Mackenzie and Ross Sinclair.

Having just graduated from The Glasgow School of Art in 2008, it was a huge confidence boost
to be selected to exhibit in New Contemporaries 2019 at the RSA. I used the opportunity to
make new work which proved more challenging than anticipated as I no longer had access to the facilities and space at Art School. At the time I was doing a full-time, voluntary internship at Glasgow Sculpture Studios and, in order to be able to afford food and rent, I had an evening and weekend job, meaning that I had very little time to make artwork. It was a great introduction to the realities of being a Fine Artist, and ten years on, I am as busy as ever, juggling employment and self-employment with valuable studio time.

Following the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition, I secured myself a studio in Glasgow, and
spent five more years making artwork, exhibiting, leading workshops and doing residencies. In 2014 I moved to Newcastle to pursue a Master of Fine Art Postgraduate Degree at Newcastle University. In 2016 I graduated with a Distinction, was the recipient of the Hatton Award and was awarded with a Graduate Studio at The NewBridge Project, Newcastle, where I continue to have a studio.

I really benefitted from exhibiting in the prestigious location of the RSA and believe the support from the curatorial team has contributed to my further successes. In 2017 I was awarded an Arts Council England Grant for the Arts for a new body of work investigating the experience of auditory and visual hallucinations. One of the highlights was participating in a Spoken Word residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada where new work was created and presented.

I share the development of my work via my blog ( and website ( I continue to work in a multidisciplinary manner, through installation, performance, sound, video, writing and sculpture. Over time I have
become more confident about making work that is rooted in contemporary experience in both an emotional (feelings and thoughts) and physical (materials and situations) sense. My work addresses the complex struggle to achieve equilibrium and balance in society today. My research examines how it can immerse an audience in multi-layered psychological and physical situations. Recently, language, in all its forms, has become more central to my practice and I am excited about how my work will continue to evolve.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Silence - episode 1 - BBC Radio 4

“We live in the age of noise. Silence is almost extinct.”

Philosopher and adventurer Erling Kagge, the first person to reach the ‘three poles’ of North, South and the summit of Everest, explores the power of silence.

In this insightful analysis he asks

- why do we we need silence?
- how did we lose silence? 
- Where we might go to find silence again?

Thursday, 7 February 2019

RSA Winter Newsletter 2019

I am delighted to have been asked to reflect on my artistic development since exhibiting at RSA New Contemporaries in 2009 for inclusion in the RSA Winter newsletter.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman

A week ago my friend gave me Art Matters by Neil Gaiman. 

It was the perfect antidote to being bedridden and in great pain. The fact that it only took me 2 days to read it from cover to cover is a testament to how good it is.

"A creative call to arms from the mind of Neil Gaiman, combining his extraordinary words with deft and striking illustrations by Chris Riddell. Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art. "

Be bold. Be rebellious. Choose art. It matters.

"Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, poems and creative manifestos, Art Matters explores how reading, imagining and creating can change the world, and will be inspirational to young and old."

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

How drawing improves memory

Claudia Hammond talks to Professor of Psychology at the University of Leeds, Daryl O'Connor, about results from a new study on how drawing can improve your memory.

Over a number of years psychologists tested the memory of people in three different conditions. The challenge for all conditions was to remember a number of objects on a list.

Memorise by writing the list of objects down

Memorise by tracing drawings of pictures of the objects on the list

Memorise by drawing pictures of the objects on the list.

The group with the best memory was Condition C; those who had drawn a picture of the objects from the list. It is thought that this is because drawing requires a deeper level of observation and attention in order to identify the object

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Happy memories and project reflections with the Great and Tiny War team

Spent a wonderful afternoon with the Great and Tiny War team reflecting on our experience hosting Bobby Baker's Great and Tiny War. Was lovely to share memories and talk about what is next for this unique group of individuals who worked so well together.

Shame not to have some crucial members of the team with us, but was a treat to catch up briefly with Bobby as she prepares for her Madrid exhibition which opens in February. The work looks really exciting.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Photos of Zing installed

Last year I was approached by the Sculpture Placement Group (SPG) who asked whether I would like to contribute any of my sculptural works in long-term storage to the Sculpture Adoption Scheme, an adoption service for sculptures, seeking to match works of art with new guardians.

"The Sculpture Adoption Scheme will bring sculptural joy into people’s daily lives and will test a new model for circulating artworks, increasing access to art ownership and alleviating artists of the pressures of storage and space. Let’s give work hidden in storage a new life!"

It was launched as part of the exhibition Sculpture Showroom which ran from the 20th April – 7th May during Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2018

I was delighted to hear that my sculptures Zing are being enjoyed by the independent organisation North Lanarkshire Advocacy who adopted my artwork last year. They sent me some photos of the work installed.