Old Weathered Photographs

I found some photographs over summer in my grandad’s shed on his allotment of me and my bro performing circus tricks. They were in a soggy box with a load of other stuff that had been kept there for years soaking up damp. All the stuff had sort of merged together to create one soggy clump of my grandads or random memories.

I’d never seen these photos before and it was quite nice to find them because they reminded me of a forgotten part of my childhood.

The one inside the circus tent where I am walking the tight rope I’m probably around the age of 8 or 9. During the Easter of 2005 (or 2006) I attended a kids circus course for a week in the South East of England. I remember that they were also a performing circus, and I think we went to see them.

The second photo is of me and my brother unicycling in the Isle of White. My mums best friend from Scotland – where she grew up – lives there with her family. We would occasionally go visit them and I think they had a couple unicycles in their house, and whenever we were there we’d ride them outside and up and down the corridor.

Offsite Show; SurFace. ft Bertie Dean, Elana Barber, Emmy Yoneda, Zuza Mitobędzka, Calypso Keane.

I have an increasing frustration with myself and my generation. People are completely obsessed, and ultimately absorbed by, the digitally simulated world that exists behind the glass screen on our phones. I understand that this is the direction our society is moving, however I think it is important to occasionally remove oneself from the digital world in order to appreciate one’s situation and place in the physical world.

This year I moved to Berlin and I wanted to explore the city.

It is now commonplace for a person to follow a small moving dot on their phone, with an expressionless mask of light over their face, when navigating physical space (particularly when exploring a new city). In doing so, you miss out on many beautiful things.

In an attempt to avoid this, I’d go on walks in Berlin with only a vague destination, and if something caught my eye then I’d allow my route to change. This encouraged me to be aware of my surroundings, which has been something I have found calming and has given me a mindful sense of being. I found myself acutely sensitised to colour, light and shape. And also my relationship to the physical space around me has become intensified. Climbing onto things, walking along walls or tree trunks, touching surfaces or stopping to watch and appreciate has all become integral to daily activity. It does require not having too many responsibilities for the rest of the day, but I think it is important to give yourself this time to be aware of yourself in the space you inhabit.

When I arrived in Berlin it was autumn, and I was living next to the public wood, Tiergarten, where many of my walks began. I was in awe of the natural beauty of the trees, and the colour of the leaves. I felt stunned that this natural colour change is something that occurs every year, and how lucky I am to have two retinas that can perceive this. I had this feeling of absolute satisfaction derived from what exists around me and my experience of it.

My artwork is a reflection of that feeling, using saturated colours to describe these glittering moments of intensity. The colours are carefully thought through and mixed so that they lie together harmoniously, yet also excite the eye so that it resonates in a pool of vibrant colour. The physical activity required by these materials is an important part of the process. They include collecting and lifting wood and rusty metal objects (related to my work from last year), pulling out nails, lots of loud hammering, sculpting paint with a knife, and mixing bowls of thick colour. Also walking through the Tiergarten, running back and forth from the skip collecting objects (rubbish), and even intervals of dancing in the studio are activities I consider part of this process.DSCF2347DSCF2341

Emmy Yoneda (below to the right)DSCF2339DSCF2335DSCF2331

Brought some metal frames that I ended up not using because I put my work in the middle of the room. We collectively decided to leave them where they’d been randomly placed to be an artwork of its own. (Painters leaving their frames behind…)DSCF2328Berty Dean (below)DSCF2333

Elana Barber (below)unnamed

Zuza MitobędzkaDSCF2330

Overall I think the show went well (people got drunk and enjoyed some art).

We worked very well together setting up the show, and helping one another. Everyone was happy with where their work was displayed etc..

I think the white blocks were distracting from my work and I could have arranged them more thoughtfully. However they were already in the space so I just used them. The work is meant to be rearranged for different spaces so I guess this is just how it worked out in this space. Also because drunk people at a private view aren’t always that careful about where they are stepping I didn’t want to have the works on the floor as some of them are rather fragile.

In reflection of all the photos I’ve recently posted of my work, you can see that the artworks come in pieces, but they also come together as a whole.

From the walks through the Tiergarten and my interactions with physical space, I’ve created a body of work that can be rearranged to create different spaces. From collected rusty metal and colourfully painted rubbish, the artwork attempts to portray specific experiences I’ve had in physical space; things I notice, such as texture, light and colours, in moments of being present and hyper aware of my surroundings. I wanted to create an installation that translates how I view the world.

The physical aspect of moving and rearranging the objects within the body of work resonates with how I have been exploring  physical space around me in everyday life. Whilst making this work I was taking walks where I would climb, jump, collect, notice and touch. Whilst making the work I would run back and forth from the skip to the studio gathering rubbish, hammering and pulling out nails, mixing bowls of colour, and dancing around the studio, (and when it was sunny, I’d go to the court yard and do stretches outside). These physical activities further increased my spacial awareness, and encouraged me to be present.

Only a select few of the paintings I am satisfied with: come to think of it, the ones I did in one sitting. These paintings much better portray the glittering moments of satisfaction I felt at times whilst in the Tiergarten. The more spontaneously and ‘in the moment’ I work, the more instinctive and intuitive the decision making when it comes to composition and colour.The paintings are an interpretation of what I see and feel.

I’ve tried to be inventive and explore painting on different surfaces and objects. The surface of what I paint on helps guide where I lay the paint as I navigate the surface and construct a composition. I would argue that I sculpt with paint rather than paint with paint. Maybe this is a bad thing because I’m not using the oil paint to the best of its ability and in doing so restricting my paintings. But the sculpting also adds another physical aspect; standing over the wood, feet spread apart and balancing, I carefully spread the paint across the surface.

I began painting on wood that I found because I felt more at ease beginning a painting that wasn’t on expensive white canvas that I’d spent time preparing and stretching etc. This was good because it began my flow into creating lots of work. However it also meant that I valued each painting less and gave up on some to begin another rather than persisting to make that one great, and potentially improving my painting skills.

I’ve been painting on objects because space is so important in art and yet is often forgotten when viewing a two dimensional painting. I would be interested in painting the interior of a room; to describe and reflect the space using thick lovely colour.