Sunday, 23 December 2012

colours, on a wet wetland day

One of the many delights washed up on the Crosby shoreline. As blue as the grey blue day.
Colourful over-wintering, as pink as my daughters wellies.
Dead-Head yellows
Found treasures, from former greens.
Witnessed on the type of day you can leave your mark, for others to follow.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

McRings, 2012

This was a personal statement, on this, an olympic year, and what it meant financially.

'' ‘McRings’ invites the viewer to explore the interactions between publicly and privately funded events such as the Olympics, and asks them to examine the eventual economic returns and consequences, and who they favour.
Constructed from cooked and dehydrated french fries, and resin bonded into 5 hoops measuring 4 feet across in total, the golden ‘olympic rings’  sit atop a suitably scaled  ‘french fry’ holder.''

This is what I said about the piece when I first advertised my exhibition at The Albert Dock earlier in the year. I exhibited as an Independent, and I posted it here.
Two local papers ran it, getting a mention in the Liverpool Echo, where I was honoured to be on of their two picks for the Long Night of the Biennail. The Wirral Globe ran a photo, and gave me a little write-up. 
It was certainly talked about at my Exhibition, and I felt it went down really well, with a lot of positive responses to it.
I made it in response to stories in the press of independent bakeries, sweet shops, even a wool shop, being threatened with legal action, as they had formed hoops with their own goods in their shop windows. I bookmarked one at the time, you can read about it here. I made the rings from real french fries, which quite ironically, were the official food of the games. Four months on, and with their resin treatment, they still look same and are still free of mould!


Nature as I have tried to intimate,
 is never quite where we see it.
It is a becoming as well as a passing,
 but the becoming is both within
 and without our power.''

 Loren Eisley Sept 1907-July 1977.

And that quote summed the piece up for me.
The original inspiration came from a run down early 19thC house near mine, which had gradually fallen deeper into disrepair. A neighbour opposite told me the old guy was an eccentric, and he lived in one room only. The house was overtaken with nature quite unbelievably. I photographed it when there were trees growing from the roof, and will present those pictures one day, together with Propagate, and represent the whole story with a sculpture. This will be the first of four sculptures in a series Bluette, and its form will be a starting point of explanation.

We used to call it the blackberry house, we'd go to pick the fruit, and ferret right through the overgrowth . It's been completely restored to original lately. I really miss the jam!
I took some litter from the New Ferry Butterfly Park, among which was a can I crushed into a cube. I grew a seedling from there, and tried to immortalise it 'growing' on the can, representing how nature will always take over anything man-made. Frozen in time within a resin cube, it looks as fresh today, as the day it was cast. Set within a railway sleeper, (the butterfly park is on the site of a former rail-goods yard), the piece is finished with the quote you see above, printed on a found chip wrapper, and clear cast into the form of a found paper plate. Its been happily nestling in, and product of its environment for the last 18 months, and I'm happy its still conveying its message as clearly today as then.

Monday, 3 December 2012

looking through windows at whats important

I was living in America when I got my first computer. I remember it was late 1994, was the very first pentium, and it ran Windows 3.1! It had a 9.6 modem, and gave me the opportunity to sample the delights of the web, totally different to todays experience. I had a day off mid-week, and I was listening to some Christy Moore. I'd come across a website set up by some ex-pats, (following a search on the then mighty search engine Altavista), and it provided lots of links to 'home', so I was browsing, when I saw a link to a site devoted to Liverpool. I was downloading a picture of the Albert Dock (line by line), when one of my favourite tracks, Nancy Spain, started to play. It's always been an emotive song for me, but this time, overcome by the emotion of seeing my home town, the emotions spilled over into tears. I'd been living in the States for almost 7 years by that time, and not once had I ever experienced homesickness that induced this response. I phoned people, had lots of visitors, got sent soz-mix, Marigold stock and malt loaf regularly, and had too many  English and Irish friends out there to make me miss home. But that day, miss home I did. I must have played Nancy Spain 5 or 6 times,  all the while stirring at a place that was home, a picture, on a screen, an image so powerful that I cried for what must have been 10-15 minutes.
The photo above was taken through the velux I put in the old roof section of my workshop. Being an old roof, I decided to strip the whole thing off, and start again, and I wondered at the time if I'd done the right thing! Same with the rear wall of the old brick section of the workshop, that too had a hole knocked in it, a lintel installed, and a window that looks out on the most fantasic of views. There's a picture of that in a previous blog. The workshop is still not fully complete.....well they never are, are they.....but the hard work  has been done, (at the cost of finishing the house, and much to the annoyance of the wife I may add) and it's going to be a nice little home for my future as an artist. I've planned the extension already, and I'll break the news if and when I get my first 5 figure Commission!  I figure I can get the Cathedral view in the velux I put in that section.
This picture I took of the Dock on my birthday 7 years ago, a reflection in the Pan Am bars window, is not  too dis-similar to the photo I viewed online when I was in the States, Liverbirds aloft the Dock, though that was a straightforward shot. I used it recently for my publicity pics for the Exhibition I had at the Albert Dock, and I've made some business cards for my art from it. Funnily enough, I'm listening to Christy Moore once again, and the track I've played a few times this evening is 'The Voyage'. Sums up really what we've been through, and both reminds and excites me of the Journey I'm undertaking with my Art.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

up for (semi) retirement

I made that toolbox nearly 30 years ago now. Its been everywhere with me. On and off movie sets, in and out the van on countless occasions, and it still functions perfectly well. There's been times that I've thought it was too old and past it, so I've had 'new' tool boxes. Several months later, when the plastic handles have fallen off, I've gone back to using the old faithful!
I'm at a stage in my life where I'm looking to phase out the Interiors, they've served me well and paid all the bills, and, most importantly, funded things while my wife spent 5 years at uni. Now she's fully qualified and working as a teacher, I'm taking a brave leap into my art, and I'm keeping the toolbox. Its been my faithful companion for too long.....and it's well up for carrying my kit when I do installations and exhibitions.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Happy Birthday Tommy

I never got to say so-long. Its not that I didnt want too, I had heard about your health, and was hoping to see you in Southport. The best laid plans and all of that. I havent forgotten about the artwork I wanted to produce after you inspired me after we met when I took your photo at the Studio tour just over a year ago, its just that the time wasn't right. Its still there, and I will do it. I got a call just after you left here from the Observer Magazine, they wanted to use an image for their magazine, I told them use what they like, and donate any money in lieu of publication fees to the brain anurism charity. I never heard back, and they didnt publish them. I saw some pictures recently of your art. They seem so sterile without your tattoed hand and bent pointing finger there to explain it, covered in copyright symbols and devoid of you. I looked again through mine, and saw what they were missing. So just to let you know, that wherever you are,  I never have and will never forget. When the time is right it WILL happen. So-long for now, have a great birthday wherever you are.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

if you go down to the woods today...

Where would we be without signs huh! I'm going to be making some trail signs, there's a project happening next year that I'm really pleased to be part of, details are still a bit vague, but that just adds creatively to the process. I'm going to do some pointy-hand markers saying 'this way'. Since I spoke to the organiser, its occurred to me I'll need two carvings for the casting, a left AND a right! Cant have them all walking in a straight line....that would be too boring! I'll be doing a sculptural mural for the project too, but I'll wait for the brief before I decide how I'm going to approach that.
I made this Penny Lane cast last year, I've sold a few, but I don't promote it right. One of the shopkeepers at the Albert Dock wants to buy them, but its a few quid short of what I want for it. Sounds trivial, but there's a lot of work gone into the entire production, and even though they want 10, I'm not budging on the price, so I'll pass. I've had work doing signs from people who've seen this, and I made one last year for the opening of The Bridewell pub in Liverpool. If you ever go in for a drink, you'll know who made the sign behind the bar.

Deliverance, the poem