In Progress… 

I’m creating some sort of mechanical monster. This piece has gone from a three legged giggle to a bizarre socioeconomic statement. I’m not thinking too much as this develops and I’m just going with the flow. The addition of keys and screws from an old laptop are just adding to this strange evolution.

I’m not entirely sure how “This…” Will play out. All I know is that it is what it is, and it will be finished when it’s finished.

Alliances/Vendettas out today!

I’ve recently been involved in shooting a music video between the time I’ve spent art-making and delivering photography workshops. It’s always great to get involved with goldbringer and see how inventive they want to be with their videos.

They’re not so much music promotion videos as short art movies. The narrative and concept goes so far beyond the average music video. Goldbringer often get local artists involved and use local resources to create something worth watching again and again and again!

Goldbringer is the musical brainchild of Ben Honebone. I’ve worked closely with Ben on many projects over the years and it’s always interesting to see what his brain will come up with next. Sourcing the locations is always so much fun because almost nowhere is off limits and it’s no surprise to me that I found myself knee deep in the sea for this latest movie.

Alliances/Vendettas has been released today with an accompanying video for just the second half of the tune. This sounds odd but the length of the song (10.28) is not exactly your average radio edit. For the video Ben had to create a slightly remixed version to fit more appropriately with the film. The resulting video edit for Vendettas is a wonderful piece of art. Ben has inventively adapted the footage we found and created to bring something accessible, conceptual, downright clever and truly unique. It looks and sounds phenomenal. I just can’t get tired of hearing this!

Excuse me… I just have to go watch this again… CLICK HERE to see the video or head over to goldbringer.com to find out more about the music.

You can hear Alliances/Vendettas over on Bandcamp: CLICK HERE or over at Soundcloud: HERECapture

This weekend… Shop Art!

I’m determined that my art should be accessible for as many people as possible. I’m happy to ship it anywhere and everywhere to get it to galleries near you. I also want you to own whatever you like the look of.

I’ve had this button… … sat on the side of my website for a while now. It links directly to my ArtFinder store where you can get hold of the art that I’ve got stashed around my studio. It’s all for sale and this bank holiday weekend I’m chucking all sorts of discounts around so that you can celebrate the end of the summer holidays in style.

I’m offering free shipping to anywhere in the universe and a 10% discount off nearly everything in my store. This promotion only runs Saturday 27th August – Monday 29th August 2016 so you’d better be quick if you want to get something delicious at a discount.

So, go on, click on my SHOP ART button and see what this weekend could bag you. Nearly everything is a one of a kind so once it’s gone it really is gone!

P1020084

‘Bee’s a Crowd’ [detail]

Shop Cool Stuff

I’ve replaced the fashion section in this blog with something which is more awesome in every way.

If you click on this picture here…     … you’ll travel to a distant time and space where all sorts of goodies are available. I’m talking tee shirts, mini-skirts, leggings, hoodies, mugs, notebooks etc. Anything and everything you could imagine finding in my old ‘fashion’ shop is now expanded so that you can shop for cool stuff with my art designs on them.

Already I’m thinking about Christmas presents and birthday presents for friends and family. I’m getting really excited about phone cases, duvet covers*, and pencil cases** and experimenting with A-line dresses. I can’t wait for you to see! Click on any of the links on this page to go directly to my cool stuff. Please let me know what you think. I want you to be just as excited as me!

Capture

 

 

*Is this normal?
** Now hipsterly rebranded as a ‘studio pouch’

A Simple Complication

I’ve been stalling with my Automata artworks lately. It’s not that I’ve been lazy, but I’ve been allowing myself to be distracted to avoid having to make difficult decisions about the art I’m making. It’s never great when things aren’t going well, but usually momentum and willpower keep everything ticking along so that design compromises can be classed as comfortable changes in direction rather than major stumbling blocks.

Finally I feel ready to release Divided to the world. This machine has been a long time coming due to technical issues. The two pieces move vertically as well as rotationally as the handle turns. I deliberately set myself up for a complication with asynchronous gearing*. If I’d just stuck to them both bobbing down and round and round on the same gear ratios then I could factor in exactly what would happen where. The chaos of the gearing gives the frustration but it also brings delight now I’ve finally got it right.

The problem has been getting the two doll halves to clash just enough to make things interesting on their way round. This is precision stuff. The arm stumps have to be correct to within a millimetre else they just halt the motion of the whole machine. Noses have to retain their original dimensions and brush delicately as they go round. The central axis between has to be crossed by one doll half in a rotational and vertical synchronicity with the other half. Verticality has to be maintained at all times so that a graceful lean outwards during one half turn doesn’t become a compromising clash inwards during the second half of the turn. Too much in the way of collision and the rotation does not happen at all. Too little and it’s boring. Getting is spot on has driven me mad for so long that I’ve been avoiding it far more than I should.

Factor in the aesthetics and it’s no wonder it’s taken me so long to get this to what I feel is a good enough standard for release. The whole thing has to look smooth and delicate as well as being hard wearing enough to stand up to anyone who wants to turn the handle in perpetuity. So here’s Divided, a simple and deliciously complex little artwork. I’m hoping to have a video soon to share the full madness.

*Both dolls have a horizontally placed circular disc at the bottom of their spindles. This then moves against a vertical cog on the central shaft in the shape of offset oval cog for the left doll and a triangular cog for the right doll.

Bringing Gower Home in the Rain

Torrential rain would normally stop anyone from venturing outside but if we stopped every time it rained  here in Wales then we’d never go outdoors. The Gower gets more than its fair share of wet stuff and it doesn’t matter what the season is, the weather on this west coast of Britain can change so quickly that you might as well plan for the worst.

So today when the heavens opened out at CHAPS near Gowerton we made the most of it and found out what the Gower had to offer in the wet. Participants for today’s Bringing Gower Home workshop were affiliated to ASDES  who work at assisting those on the autistic spectrum. I’ve worked with this service before and I’m always really impressed with what participants have to offer. My workshops encourage people to think out of the box with what they’re seeing and experiencing so this can be very beneficial for those on the autistic spectrum. The social aspects of a workshop in an unfamiliar setting can be a real challenge for ASDES participants so it was great to see everybody chatting confidently about the photographs they created and the positive feelings they felt the Gower gave them.

Although the weather put off some people from turning up, those who did had a great time. CHAPS is a social enterprise providing a range of rural and equine based activities and training. They also work on an outreach basis, promoting good horse welfare, best practice and provide a range of educational and aspirational opportunities. Horses and ponies at CHAPS have been rescued from traumatic situations and now enjoy the wonderful life at a 26 acre site near Gowerton. CHAPS are a wonderful organisation who believe in working closely with the community so it’s always a pleasure to borrow the learning room for a bit and get people involved. They’re always after suitable volunteers who are interested in learning more about horse welfare and also improving their own quality of life through this amazing enterprise.

Joining up the dots when it comes to community, self-expression, and the Gower is what Bringing Gower Home is all about. The Gower is a wonderful place to bring people together and learn about nature, history, and the people who work and live here. This isn’t just somewhere to visit on holiday, it’s a thriving and welcoming peninsula which encourages anyone and everyone to get involved.

Soon we’ll be meeting up again for a celebration with the ASDES participants from today. They’ll be sharing their experience with friends and family, and also reflecting on the impact that today’s workshop has had on their well-being. It will also be great to find out if any ASDES participants have returned to CHAPS to volunteer their time and learn more about this part of Gower.

Read more about how you can get involved with CHAPS on their website HERE.
Find out more about ASDES and how they work at supporting people with autism HERE.


I am organising, delivering, and supporting this project in collaboration with Gower Landscape Partnership (GLP) which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Natural Resources Wales, City and County of Swansea, and National Trust.

Look at Yourself!

How do you know who you are when your body is changing dimensions on an almost daily basis and your hormones are playing tricks on you every 5 minutes? It must be exhausting!* Your sense of identity is in constant flux as a teenager and it’s no surprise to me that young people can find it hard to communicate. It’s not just a matter of finding out what you want to be but also how and why you want to be that way. All you know is that you don’t look the same as you did 3 years ago and you’re likely to feel like you’re someone else again in another 3 years time. The only people who seem to understand are also teenagers. How can you fit in when the people around you are in constant flux themselves? Expressing yourself when you’re going through this many changes can be difficult and intimidating. Being asked by adults to say how you feel can seem pointless when half the time you don’t know yourself. Sometimes you don’t have the words to know why you feel how you do. You just know that’s how you feel.

Luckily a picture speaks a thousand words and taking selfies is a great way to take stock of who you are, well at least who you are today. Today we asked young people in Neath to Look at Yourself! and find different ways to express themselves using the camera. We asked the question “What is a selfie?” and “How do you capture a photograph of yourself?” In just two hours the group went from believing a selfie needs to be the same as everyone else to believing that a selfie can be an awesome way to be unique. Unique isn’t something to be scared of. Embracing the positive things you have going for you through photography is the perfect way to work your way through your teenage years and show the world that you have loads of unique skills to offer.**

Well done to the young people of Neath who took the challenge today. Hope to work with you all again soon! Here’s their photographs from today.

*Pregnant women sometimes eat differently and want to sleep differently thanks to their hormones. Being a teenager isn’t all that different. But being some sort of she-demon and craving eating your own bodyweight in cheese and chips is accepted if you’re pregnant but frowned on if you’re a teenager. I’ve never quite understood that one.

**Meanwhile I reckon you should go ahead with the cheese and chips thing. Just be yourself (whatever that means) and hang on in there. You have loads to give the world, it might just take you a little while to work out what that is. Be good, be careful, be happy, and be patient with adults. They don’t always get it but they’re doing their best.