Thursday, 25 June 2015

New website live

This blog is no longer in use, as unfortunately I do not have the time to maintain it and post regularly. Please see my new website:

Monday, 1 December 2014

Exhibition opening this weekend

The new exhibition, celebrating the first birthday of Camden Image Gallery, opens at the weekend, and above is one of the new pieces I'll be exhibiting. It's been a few months since I last exhibited, as I've had a lot of other things to focus on, so I'm looking forward to showing work again.
Camden Image Gallery has been very significant for me over the past year. The managing director is one of my close friends, and I've made many new friends through the gallery too. I remember, over a year ago, the first time I saw it before it was open to the public, and the way that it has grown over the last year is inspiring. Elena works extraordinarily hard, and I'm very proud to be associated with this gallery.
I'm really excited about the new pieces - I was intending to keep these drawings in charcoal only until I was asked to be part of this exhibition, but I feel that using colour has also been really effective. I love how streaks of vibrant colour come through in certain places, and I love the build up of layers, as in my paintings. One thing I'm really enjoying is the freedom to make mistakes and blur them again, and being flexible with how I build up layers. I'm really thinking of this body of work as experimentation, and maybe that is aiding my process.
Something I've really picked up on in these drawings is the texture that can be developed from constantly screwing up paper and drawing more layers. In the image above in particular, the final layers of pastel look like tracings of texture, and this is something I'm very keen on. I'm now even more enthusiastic about working on paper for a while, and drawing rather than painting. I have an idea for a large and intricate piece of work, totally different to previous pieces, that I plan to work on when I get back to Sweden next month, and now plan to incorporate colour into this piece, as well as monochrome charcoal drawings. 
My recent work, as well as being pieces in their own right, has also been serving as preparatory work for the new idea, and it has really inspired me. I've learned a lot about which types of paper work best, and the different results that different papers can yield. I've now been working with the theme of weathering for just over two years, and it's amazing how the idea has grown and developed in that time. Using paper allows for lots of new possibilities, and I want to keep working with this.
This exhibition is also significant, because it is likely to be my last exhibition in London for a while. On 2nd January I am going back to Sweden, and this time should be staying for the foreseeable future. I'm looking forward to producing more work, and exhibiting in a new country.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Upcoming exhibition

I've been working on new drawings, and I'm happy to say that I'll be exhibiting some of my new work at Camden Image Gallery next month as part of the gallery's first birthday exhibition. It's really nice that my work was included in the very first exhibition at this gallery, and will now be part of a show exactly one year later.
The theme for this new show is colour, which suits my work perfectly. I'm not really keen to exhibit older work, so I'm starting some similar drawings of body parts in coloured chalk. I plan to build up layers using a variety of colours, to create rich and vibrant pieces. Using a number of colours rather than working exclusively with black charcoal will hopefully create a broad range of effects. I really love smudging and building up layers with charcoal, and I hope that this proves as effective as it has with charcoal. I'm excited to exhibit my new work as it's been a change in direction for me, and one that I find I'm really enjoying working with. 
I've been experimenting with a number of different papers, and I've enjoyed seeing the strengths and weaknesses with each. Currently I'm particularly enjoying working with a thick handmade textured paper. The pieces become textured anyway in the process of weathering, and using a surface that already has some texture adds to this effect. 
The Camden Image Gallery show is open to the public between 7th and 11th December, 12-7pm daily.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Exciting new work

After a bit of a hiatus I'm getting back into really focusing on producing work, and there's been a bit of a change of direction for me too, which is very refreshing. I've been distracted by other things in my life over the past few months, but this work feels really fresh to me, and has really helped to rejuvenate my motivation.
Recently I've become more interested in drawing than in painting, and this is what I want to concentrate on for now - to the point that I left my paint and brushes in storage in Stockholm! A few months ago I worked on some smudged and layered charcoal drawings, really enjoyed this, and felt that this was something I'd like to take further. As I'm currently between England and Sweden as well, it seems logical to make work that can be moved around more easily than large canvasses. Further to this, rather than concentrating on images of faces, I'm experimenting with drawing body parts, just to bring something new into my work.
Weathering is still of interest to me, and using paper rather than canvas allows me to explore this theme in a new way. I've been weathering the drawings using various combinations of screwing up the paper, and getting it wet, building up layers of charcoal. I particular like screwing up the paper before drawing, as the textured surface guides the drawing in some ways. I really enjoy working with charcoal and getting quite messy - I see the smudges and shadows in these drawings as a positive, something to build up texture and layering within the drawing. Fixing the images at different stages also contributes to the effect. 
I'm planning to experiment with different types of paper, and keen to also try scratching or scrubbing the image once I have some stronger paper or thin card. I'd also like to experiment with drawing and sewing whilst the paper is still a bit damp - this isn't really possible with the brown paper I'm currently using because it's very thin and fragile, especially when wet.
Embroidery is still important in the work, and I've been using embroidery as a means of repair, not using it to embellish the imagery in these pieces. To contrast with the smudged, dark charcoal, I'm intentionally using embroidery thread in bright, vibrant colours. I'm full of enthusiasm about this new body of work - it's a departure from my previous work, and feels like it's something a bit new for me. 
Although these pieces can stand up for themselves, they're also preparation for a new work I have in mind, which is very different to anything I've produced before, and which I also feel very excited about. I'm still thinking it through now, but I feel like it could be something quite special. 
I've received a really positive response to these pieces so far, and I'm really in the right frame of mind to keep working on these ideas. I think I needed something new to really grab me and make me throw myself back into my work, and this idea is really working for me now. I think this body of work has relevance to work I've produced previously, but is still bringing in a new angle.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A side project

Yesterday I moved from London to Stockholm. The first blog I wrote was during my time living in Finland, and this proved more popular than I ever expected. As a result, the obvious thing to do now is to start a new blog about my experience in Sweden - A Stray In Stockholm.
I'm really looking forward to seeing how things unfold here, and to writing about them, and hope that this new blog will be as successful as the first.

Monday, 14 July 2014

East Finchley Open

Yesterday I attended the East Finchley Open, an open house event involving lots of local artists. It's a shame I didn't know about this previously, as it's something I would have really enjoyed being involved in. Even more unfortunately as I'm planning to relocate to Sweden at the end of next month, so might not have the chance in the future either.
It was great to see so much art so close to home - one of the locations was literally around the corner from my own home!
There was quite a variety of different media and styles, which I really think was a positive. I didn't manage to visit every single house, but did go to more than half of them. Each one had quite a different atmosphere, which was interesting. What I particularly liked was that there seemed to be quite a lot of fibre art, and I did meet one artist who was a felt maker and had a really nice conversation with her about felting and her work specifically. She incorporated other materials into her felt pieces, and the results were really visually interesting. In the first house I visited there was another artist making textiles based work, which really reminded me of Natasha Kerr's work, and I found it really impressive. Seeing the work in a home environment was a great alternative to a more traditional gallery environment, and I could see how her work in particular could really work in the home.
I obviously can't speak for the houses that I didn't visit, but I would have liked to see more painting. All of the houses had a mixture of different styles and media, and there was plenty of ceramics and jewellery work too, but as painting is of particular interest to me I'd have appreciated seeing more of that. The first house I visited had some amazing paintings, and the artist was really experimental with the way paint works and what it can do.
It was really great to see the diverse range of work being made in this area, especially as Finchley probably isn't somewhere that immediately comes to mind as an artistic hub. Maybe things will start to change with events like this going on. I personally loved the fact that I could access so much art without having to really go anywhere, I managed to visit multiple locations just by walking in a big circle from my house.
The event is also on next weekend, with some slight variation in the artists involved. I strongly encourage people to visit the open houses next weekend, especially if you're in the area, as it was a really worthwhile day. I might even venture to some of the houses I missed out on. It was a really enjoyable afternoon and I met some interesting people too. I'm really pleased that something like this is going on in my area.

Monday, 23 June 2014

My European Tour

I recently got back from a trip away, where I visited Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Barcelona. It was particularly nice to go to Barcelona as it was the only place on the list that I hadn't been to previously. A lot of people told me beforehand that I'd love Barcelona because of the art and architecture, and they were absolutely right.
Whilst I was in Stockholm I visited Moderna Museet, the modern art gallery, and it was brilliant. When I go abroad I really enjoy being able to see work by artists from overseas who may not have actually reached England - this is something I really loved about visiting galleries in Finland. This was definitely the case at Moderna Museet. The show at the time was by a Swedish artist, Nils Dardel, who I understand is very well-known within Sweden, but was not someone I had heard of before. I found it really interesting, as the artist had worked in a range of styles throughout his career, but with consistent themes, and it was interesting to see how the style had changed and developed over time.
Added to that, the permanent collection was very impressive, with work by some very famous names. It took quite a while to get through the entire gallery but it was very worthwhile and I would definitely visit again. The museum is set in a lovely park area by the water, and outside the gallery there were some sculptures that were also really exciting. The area was very green, so the colours of the work outside cut straight through the environment and really stood out.

I didn't have a chance to see any exhibitions in Amsterdam, but when I got to Barcelona I was particularly excited to visit Fundacio Antoni Tapies. Antoni Tapies is one of my favourite artists, and was a significant influence for me when I worked more with collage. His work still inspires me to be bold and expressive within my work, and this feeling was renewed when I visited. Unfortunately I actually found the gallery quite disappointing, as I had expected it to be bigger and to contain more work. Perhaps part of it was shut whilst I was there, but there was only one room of Tapies' work, and another with a temporary exhibition by another artist. I enjoyed what I saw but felt quite let down by how little there was of it. I understand that the pieces by Tapies are shown on rotation, which leads me to think that it literally is just the one room. I would probably visit again to be sure, but the whole thing took about 20 minutes to get around and was a bit underwhelming.
I obviously saw a lot of Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona, and I loved how vibrant and colourful it made the place seem. I'm really keen to visit Barcelona again in the future as I really enjoyed myself and would like to see more.
Whilst I was away I took a sketchbook to document my adventure, and this has become an ongoing piece of work now that I'm back home. I always have a sketchbook with me, and working in sketchbooks is something I really enjoy doing. As I have a large number of sketchbooks, some for my own practice and notes, some more like this to document particular experiences, I'm considering exhibiting these in July. This isn't something I've done before but they do represent a significant aspect of my practice, and it presents an alternative to pieces hung on the wall that the viewer can't touch or directly interact with. Now that I'm home and settled I need to get back to the felt pieces I was working on prior to going away, as these could be an additional element to an exhibition. My holiday was absolutely amazing, and I'm glad that the actual experience has given me something to work with at home.