Tuesday, 29 July 2014

85A at The Clyde Amphitheatre

For one night only, Glasgow Film presented a cinematic performance, where artist collective 85A – aided by musicians, circus performers, artists and filmmakers – took the audience on an adventurous voyage.

"85A are a tight-knit brood of multidisciplinary artists. With their own crossover brand of visual art, music and performance, and with 15 provocative shows since 2008, they have been establishing themselves as Glasgow's most irreverent cultural agitators. They are consolidated in their belief that work ought to reveal itself by non-conformist means: an ongoing theme being the presentation of art projects in disused buildings, forgotten spaces, and the ‘sideways’ of man’s environment…… allowing the viewer to be confronted by an alternative, hidden pathway leading through the glistening alleys of experimental-experience."

People at The Clyde Amphitheatre were invited to take part in THE HUNT FOR THE RATTUS ORLOVA, a fictionalised film shoot of an unbelievable, larger-than-life tale of an abandoned Russian cruise liner that was drifting eerily towards Scotland. Crewed only by a slew of rats and a stalwart captain, the ghost ship was the inspiration for a colossal set, docked along side Custom House Quay.

The audience was instructed to provide the sound effects (including seagulls, seals clapping and rats squeaking) throughout the fictionalised film shooting. The stage was a huge wooden ship, with an inbuilt stage to house a live band. Props were all handmade, and had a very specific, black and white DIY aesthetic.

The ‘Cargo, Camera...ACTION!’ show happened five times over the course of the day, with a different band setting the musical stage each time. 

As day turned to evening, the ship was transformed into a stunning open air cinema, with the area where the bands played becoming a projection screen. 

Four special artist commissions were screened; Games by Torsten Lauschmann consisted of archive footage with the theme of gaming and competition, Chris Leslie's film The Last of the Govan Cranes investigated Govan's shipbuilding history, Seawards the Great Ships was the first Scottish film to win an Oscar, and documents the process of creating a ship, Matter Fisher's animation told the story of a fisherman who discovered a curious ball of stuff. 

The setting for these screenings was ideal, particularly for The Last of the Govan Cranes and Seawards the Great Ships.

I had never seen the amphitheatre used for anything other than a hang-out space for scaters and Glasgow youths, so it was wonderful to experience it being used for its original function, and I really hope that more of these kind of events are scheduled.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Blue hues

In this collage I was experimenting with limiting the colour palette to green/blues, and also refraining from drawing any lines, shapes or boundaries.

On reflection, I think I prefer a mixture of drawn lines and solid colours as in some of my other works. I think the variety of mark creates depth within the image, and makes it less predictable.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Brick City: Lego Architecture

My work is often described as playful, colourful and inviting, and one of my hopes is for the work to create a sense of wonderment for the viewer, wonderment being a feeling that is mostly associated with childhood.

I believe that it is not just children who can experience a state of wonderment, but I acknowledge that as one gets older, it becomes less accepted.

Lego is a material that tends to encourage adults to be creative, playful and imaginative. Today I visited Brick City: Lego Architecture at Rheged Centre, Penrith, where I was reminded of the joy that lego can bring to both children and adults.


The exhibition featured more than 70 models of differing sizes, the largest being 4 metres wide. Lego Artist Warren Elsmore had created lego representations of famous buildings from all over the world, including London St Pancras Station, the London 2012 Olympic Park, the Pompidou Centre, Paris, a Roman amphitheater, and the La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

Hidden within the impressive St Pancras station were a number of well-known characters including Harry Potter, Father Christmas, and Buzz Lightyear.

I'm sure that after visiting this exhibition, there will be many children (and adults) hunting out their own lego, eager to see what they are able to build.

View Warren Elsmore's website at http://warrenelsmore.com

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Studio visit

I had a lovely visit to my studio, made especially pleasant by the sale of one of my recent drawings/collages.

The drawing is going in a particular location in the buyers house, and they had in mind that there would be a pair of drawings. With the initial drawing chosen, I am now going to create another collage specifically to act as a partner to the one above. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Make Works Directory is live!

Make Works is an independent design company that facilitates, celebrates and debates design, craftsmanship and manufacture. They are interested in materials, machines and digital technology. 
Their mission is to make it easier for creative professionals to work with industry and produce high quality work locally. To do this they are opening up access to Scottish suppliers, trades and manufacturing in ways that are useful, informative and inspiring. The first of these is the Make Works Directory - a digital service that makes sourcing factories, fabricators, workshops and facilities simple. 

What a genius idea!

Browsing the directory is simple, partly due to the different subgroups that have been created to enable you to narrow your search, for example, by location or by material.

The site also consists of production guides which provide information about the way materials can be used.

There are a few case studies, and some articles about specific Scottish businesses.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Visual Research - Zhangye Danxia landforms

Knowing my love of colour and pattern, a friend prompted me to look at Zhangye Danxia landforms. 

"The Danxia landform refers to various landscapes found in southeast, southwest and northwest China that "consist of a red bed characterized by steep cliffs". Danxia landform is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates of largely Cretaceous age. Similar in appearance to karst topography, danxia landforms are made up uplifted continental crust that has been faulted and eroded, exposing large scarps of layered rock, red in color.

Danxia landforms cover several provinces in southeast China.

 Taining County, Fujian Province, has very good examples of "young" danxia landforms wherein deep, narrow valleys have been formed. As the landform gets older, valleys widen and one gets isolated towers and ridges."


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Another reason I am proud of being from Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park wins the Art Fund's award for museum of the year



"The open-air Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been named the museum of the year.

The judges described it as "a truly outstanding museum with a bold artistic vision".

The park, situated in the grounds of Bretton Hall in Wakefield, was first opened to the public in 1977.

Picking up the £100,000 prize, founder Peter Murray said: "We've tried so hard to develop something which is unique not just in this country but also in Europe and beyond.

"This award makes us feel we are moving in the right direction."

The park has held exhibitions for the likes of Eduardo Paolozzi, Lynne Chadwick and Ai Weiwei. Its collection of works by Henry Moore is one of the largest open-air displays of his bronzes in Europe.

The museum of the year shortlist included the Hayward Gallery and the Tate Britain in London and the Ditchling Museum of Art in East Sussex."

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Draw-In - An exploration of contemporary drawing - opens Fri 11th July

I am exhibiting a number of drawings within this group show which opens on Friday night.

I hope to see you at St Margaret's House, Edinburgh on the 11th July, 7-9pm.

Plus there are a load of other events happening during the exhibition's duration.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Forthcoming Event - The Future for Culture in Scotland! - Friday 18th July - Glasgow

The Future for Culture in Scotland!

Reid Lecture Theatre
Glasgow School of Art

Friday, 18 July 2014 from 13:00 to 16:00

Hosted by Glasgow School of Art, this is your opportunity to hear more about Fiona Hyslop’s, (the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs), vision for the arts, screen and creative industries in an independent Scotland and to take part in discussion and debate about what this means to you.

There will be opportunities to ask questions, make statements and to share your views both with the Scottish Government and with the wider creative community.

After the presentation and Q&A there will be a chance to network over tea and coffee before the event finishes at 4pm.

For more information and to book tickets, please visit

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Collage drawings with neutral colours

As much as I love colour in its vibrant tones, I also appreciate the subtle hues of neutrals.

In these collage drawings I work with the neutrals to emphasise the vast range of colours that may otherwise be overlooked.