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

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Deliverance, a work in progress. The finished piece.

I had already named the exhibition at the Albert Dock Deliverance, and I'd been giving thought as to what I could do for a signature piece. In some respects, I'd wanted the piece to symbolise my own deliverance, as it was my first solo exhibition.
On Wednesday Sept 12th, I had followed the days news quite closely, it was the day the Independent Panel had released its evidential findings. It was an emotional day for most people from Liverpool, 23 years of being denied something that was rightful, covered up and buried by the wrongful, and that day marked the start of the new chapter , justice. A campaign driven by the love of their lost, fought for 23 years with dignity, had finally paid off. Unerring in their goal, the families of the taken had won the first step of their battle.
Many tears were shed that day, including mine, and the events just kept playing on my mind. On the Friday, I found myself a quiet hour when everyone was asleep, and I took out my little notebook. I wanted to jot some ideas for a signature piece, and as I opened the book, I thought of some words and wrote them down......
One proud voice, a son of your city, rejoices the dignified campaign
then I thought for a minute, and added the rest of the poem as you read it today. Well almost, the re-read in the cold light of morning, showed my wifes opinion, that it read stronger without the swearing, was correct.  Other than that, its what came out that Friday evening. I knew straight away that the poem was my Signature piece, and decided the Liverbird I'd painted in 2008 should be the conveyor of the message. 

I combined the two, as you see pictured above. The Liverpool Echo printed a great photo on the Long Night, and I was honoured to be one of their two selections for it. The work was received really well. About a dozen people read individual lines out to me and commented on them. They told me how THEY felt, and we chatted about it. Quite a few people asked to be photographed with it too. My wife is always asking me to put my art somewhere else, its scattered everywhere, but she asked me if we can put this at the top of the stairs!  A hit with both the public, and the wife? Now that doesn't happen every day!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Sweet Melissa

I've been looking for ways to help my art pay, so a few months ago, I decided to make something that would commemorate the Womens Golf, being held locally at The Royal Liverpool in Hoylake. I'd decided to depict  a golfer, which one though was the uncertainty. I did a typically male google of a ladies golf swing, and I must admit, there were a few pictures out there that tempted me! But after reading further, I came across the story of Melissa Reid, you can read about it  here.

 Once I'd read that, I knew I wanted her to represent not just the spirit of the Ladies game, but that of life itself. To overcome something so hugely tragic like that takes a special kind of person.
I was completely isometrically ellipsed out after carving the ball from a block, and I realised, to get the look I wanted would take two separate castings. It took a few days, but I was happy with the finished piece. I've done a generic backing of Hoylake, so if anything else is happening, I've still got the mould, and I can just make a new centre-piece. Theres not as many hanging on walls as I'd like though, the Gallery in Hoylake that was selling them Seagrass, suffered less visitors during the golf than normal. All the traffic and visitors were guided away from the shops, and over a muddy field to access the golf course that way. It was in the local papers, all the shop keepers were up in arms, restauraunts had bought extra food and hired extra staff. You can read about it on this link. A bit like the Olympics in a way! Theres still a couple at Seagrass. I must go photograph it in the window before all the Xmas decorations go up!

I displayed the Sweet Melissa at my recent exhibition, Deliverance, at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. It was really well received. One couple who came in on the final day started asking me about it. I told them, and it turns out the guy plays golf with her dad every once in a while, and he took my card, and said he would tell her dad about it. I never did contact Melissa about it, so I do hope she gets in touch. Be a fitting end to the piece to truly home the most important one!