Taking a Break

After the solo show at Octavia View I felt the need to take a bit of a break. It's surprising how much admin you can fall behind with when working 60-70 hour weeks, and after producing so many paintings I was in need of time out and reflection from creating new artwork.

Not that I haven't been busy, my new job was and continues to be challenging and I've been busy working on my Sketchbook for the 2013 Sketchbook Project. This is almost finished and it might actually be the biggest artwork I've ever made. It's a bit different from the rest of my work and not very deep with concept but I was going for challenging scale rather than challenging concept. Of course the point of the Sketchbook project is to do something different from your usual work but more on that another day.

Unfortunately some things did fall by the wayside. 2012's photographic project on Flickr started to suffer from a lack of time invested into it and the results became so erratic and samey (really how many photographs of flowers and plant from ground level up could I do) that I let it die an early death. I still think it has possibilities, it just needed a bit more thought and time on a daily basis which I couldn't offer. Saying that I've not been stinting the photography, I just had to go back to basics a little, experimenting and getting accustomed to my new camera. Finally after years of saving I bought myself a DSLR and it's a revelation as to what can be done. The level of control over the image is so much greater than compact cameras.

I've also been away on a couple of trips, first to the Isle of Wight in August and then to Dublin in October which gave me lots of practice and inspiration for new paintings. Below is a selection of photos from both. Finally I'm planning on starting a weekly blog entry on a project you might have heard about a few blog entries ago.

Isle of Wight



Beautiful Fenland

Beautiful Fenland, My solo exhibition opens this Friday at 7pm at Octavia View, Wisbech.

I spent 5 days in the fens taking photographs and exploring in preparation for this exhibition. 

While my work does not depend on a particular place, I do feel that it is important for people to connect with my work through seeing places they are familiar with.

Octavia View can be found just off Somers Road opposite the entrance to the public car park.

The exhibition is open from the 3rd August to 6th September.

A Catalogue can now be purchased via Blurb. Click the link below.


Welcome to Simons Wood published

Welcome to Simons Wood is a photographic project from 2010-2011. As many of you will know it follows on from the previous years project Perambulation and attempts to explore the idea of creating a reality of a place through photography.

This year long project was subject to a number of blog posts and discussions. The idea of reflecting reality was one I explored first with Perambulation, however that while that project proved interesting I didn't feel it truly managed to find any kind of objective reality.

I continue to debate if a true and objective representation of a place is possible. However Welcome to Simons Wood I feel may have come as close as I can with photography alone. Narrow in focus, it shows the same view of the same place over the space of a year. This was controlled through a series of rules that can be found below.

 1. As from the previous project, there will be no post production editing of the photographs. With the exception of cropping and resizing for the internet.  
2. The camera will be set to scenery mode, and the only setting on it I can change will be the white balance to the appropriate weather conditions (either cloudy or sunny)  
3. I will go out when I should, no matter the weather at the time.  
4. I will go to the same place and take a photo of the same view  
5. I will go out weekly, Saturday at 12pm.  
6. I may change the day (but not the time) if life conspires to make Saturday impossible. The day should be as close to Saturday as I can make it and I should make every effort to do it on a Saturday.  
7. I will attempt to do this for a year.

After the projects completion I always intended to do something with it beyond a record of the images on Flickr. As I have previously discussed I always fancied doing a photobook.

So here I present Welcome to Simons Wood published!

It is paperback, full colour, 109 pages and 18 x 23cm. It has a large page count to allow each of the 53 images to stand entirely on their own. Plus it also does that flipbook thing so you can watch the year change at speed.

If thats enough to tempt you, you can purchase it here.
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

If not click on the image of the cover to learn more about the book.

I still fancy producing one on Perambulation I'm just unsure how I'm ever going to fit 366 images into a book that won't be huge, while doing justice to the imagery.


Exhibition update: Mis-InFormation

On Friday night I went to the Private View of this years Fringe Arts Bath the visual arts side of the Bath Fringe.

This year the Fringe has over 30 exhibitions, performances and open studios over 6-7 venues around the city.

I have 3 paintings in an exhibition in the Old Pet Shop at Pigeon Park called Mis-InFormation.
Curated by Diana Ali and featuring over 25 artists from around the globe. More information can be found here: http://www.fringeartsbath.co.uk/mis-information/

Taking the concept of hidden truths, misquotations, rumour and gossip, artists are now being selected to exhibit their work which investigates this avenue. Art works selected will give the audience the chance to be allured, intrigued, enticed and be flirtatious with its appearance and reality. Artworks will explore ideas of being out of the loop, lying, pseudoscience, factoids and conspiracy theories.

It was an interesting evening with many people enjoying the exhibition and other exhibitions within the building. The building itself was left much in the state it had been found in, which lent it an industrial and temporary air. A bold choice by the curator although a tricky space to take photographs. 

 The exhibition is on until the 10th June. 

I also saw a fabulous sunset on my way home.



It's been a month of changes for me, part time and freelance work has been replaced with an actual full time role. I've been working on a project and finding time to continue with my paintings for my upcoming solo show.

As well as that I have got into 2 new exhibitions and been busy getting paintings to places for them as well as those already booked in.

Currently I have work in Art at the Ark's Spring Open, Basingstoke

and a month long exhibition at Woodley Library.

Which I am very pleased about.

Exhibition at Woodley Library

Next up I have three paintings in Mis-In-Formation an exhibition curated by Diana Ali as part of 2012 Fringe Arts Bath. Last time I was part of the Fringe Arts Bath was in 2008 where I showed a Bath location specific for the Locus exhibition. It's really nice to see the Bath Fringe Arts expand over the years and there is more going on this year than any previous year.

Taking the concept of hidden truths, misquotations, rumour and gossip, artists are now being selected to exhibit their work which investigates this avenue. Art works selected will give the audience the chance to be allured, intrigued, enticed and be flirtatious with its appearance and reality. Artworks will explore ideas of being out of the loop, lying, pseudoscience, factoids and conspiracy theories.

Plus here's a sneak preview of one of the works going up in Wisbech in the summer.

I was also invited to show my painting “Welcome to Bracknell” at last weekend Bracknell Forest Mayors Civic Reception.
It was a nice event with many local organisations, including local arts groups, Bracknell Camera Club and Janet Curley Cannon (who has produced many works about Bracknell) from ReOrsa there. I was asked to be part of the South Hill Park stand as my work “Welcome to Bracknell” was recently exhibited at South Hill Park. 

Me and my painting at South Hill Park's stall at Mayors Civic reception

Finally I have grand plans for some online projects/versions of already completed work.

Oh and there is a book to be finished...............


Exhibition Update: Art in the Ark

Next Friday is the opening of my latest exhibition at the Ark Centre, Basingstoke. 

The Spring Open is the first of 4 seasonally themed exhibitions for 2012, celebrating the Ark's 10 year Anniversary.

The exhibition runs from 20th April to 1st June. Open Monday - Friday 7.30am - 7pm.
The PV is on the 20th from 6 - 8pm. 

Hope you can make it. 


Postcards from beyond the edge

This work was partially inspired by an article I read about sending postcards from space. Soon after I got the brief for the next ReOrsa artists project, dealing with notions around boundaries and the breaking of them. The two seemed to coalesce instantly into the beginnings of this work.

Boundaries and Beyond flyer

Thinking about the nature of boundaries and what boundaries mean from a tourist or postcard perspective, I decided that not only did I want to send postcards from space, I also wanted it to seem perfectly normal. I had also recently re-watched a episode of Horizon called The Core which talked about the interior of the Earth and how it may be the last place we ever explore due to its phenomenally inhospitable conditions.

This sounded like a challenge to me so I decided to create a series of postcards that infer that the current limits of human exploration and some of the most inhospitable and remote areas of the world are perfectly normal holidaying destinations. Creating, photographing and using free to access images I have produced 60 postcards with images from all around the globe and beyond. Jungles, Deserts, Arctic regions, Space and under the earth are all represented as well a a few other areas.

Original test postcard

Additionally many of the images are not of the places they say they are. I wanted to take to the extreme the postcard tradition of showing places in the best possible light, often to the point that they no longer look like the place they depict. I won't spoil here which ones are fake, I will leave that for you to work out.

I've always been interested with perception and the power of suggestion to produce views and ideas that are not true. This is one of the reasons that postcards interest me so. The idea that one or a few perfect images of perfect places can represent a place really fascinates me. 

Intital mocked up postmark

To accentuate this power of suggestion, I took all 60 postcards and created a universe where these cards were sent from one person to another, arranged them into series of cards from individual holidays and gave them an entire timeline and false history. The cards were written in order according to my timeline and frequently contain references to previous holidays or past unknown events much as a 11 year association via postcards would do. I created a false publishing company and a QR code, that when scanned should take you to my website. Finally I created fake stamps that referenced the general locations of the cards and 60 individual postmarks.

Final work

From my 6 years working with postcards I seem to be mainly producing works that cannot be touched and are quite traditional from a fine art aspect; paintings, drawings and prints. For a medium that is first visual but also quite tactile this can be odd. I have recently started archiving my collection so I have had a lot more tactile relationship with them in recent months which may be impacting in the scope of my work.

I liked the idea of creating actual postcards and of forming this entire new world where a weekend in space is as normal as a weekend in the south of France. The idea of looking into a future where the infrastructure to allow postcards to be sent exists everywhere seems both utopian and disturbing. Being able to go anywhere that easily seems amazing but also the idea of every wild and natural place becoming as false and uniform as most other highly touristy place goes against everything I believe.

Example of one of the finished cards (text side)

At the end of the day there are not (quite yet) shuttles to hotels on the Moon, but I am interested to what level visitors believe what they are given. And I like that they have to rifle through the postcards. I'd want to see how many people feel the need to read from start to finish and how many pick up the first one they see. I had a great time making up this character writing the postcards, who is effectively me, but me writing from a position I could only imagine rather than experience.

As to the addressee, which I really agonised over, I decided that I would have to take inspiration from a fictional explorer. Hopefully before I said that most of you didn't work out which one immediately.

Example of a finished card (image side)

Often the ReOrsa space is only accessible by looking in through the windows. I was highly aware of this when I was planning the work so I wanted my work to be at least partially readable through the windows. So far every time I have gone past the Gallery@49 windows I have seen at least one person trying to read my work. Additionally it seems every time I have gone past more and more of the postcards have escaped from their box. As well as a few originally scattered on the plinth they have seemed to explode exponentially with masses on the plinth and many now sitting on the nearby window ledge. It seems the postcards themselves want to take their own journey.

Boundaries and Beyond is on from 15th - 31st March at Gallery@49 in Bracknell Town Centre. It will be open 12 – 4 on the 31st March and I will be there from 2 – 4 pm. 

Installed work at ReOrsa Gallery@49