Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Cardiff Hilton

Last month I submitted the painting of Paris Hilton - "That's Hot!" into the 'Young Welsh Artist of the Year" exhibition, which will take place in Cardiff. I filled the form in the night before the day it was due in and didn't really think too deeply about what I was going to submit. I picked the Paris painting because it's one I'm really pleased with and I worked damn hard on it, it wasn't until after I'd sent the form that I thought to check and see what the past winners work was like. Well it's very "traditional", which is why I instantly knew Paris didn't have a hope of getting in.
I'd like to say this story has a happy ending where my painting gets in and hangs amongst all the paintings of landscapes and castles, a sort of modern day David and Goliath, but alas I received my rejection letter today, but I'm to resubmit next year according to the letter and not give up.
I'm not disappointed [it can all go in my Professional Practice folder] I admit its not really a pleasant painting and if you don't know that its Paris Hilton you might start to question my sanity [of course you might do that even if you know who it is] but it's not like the rest of my work is "pretty" or "nice", I'll just have to hope that one day they'll be someone twisted like me on the judging panel ...

Let Them Eat Cake!!!

Team Cupcake - Sam and Megan - I'm part of the team as well but its me taking the photo so just imagine I'm there!

Mmmmm Cakes

Today Me, Sam Girl and Megan sold delicious cakes that our Mam's made for us to raise money towards our degree show [well the girls made some cakes - a court order prevents me from cooking] we did an awesome job as we raised £71.59p! However selling cakes is alot harder than it looks, but we pulled out all the stops [well we reduced them and hounded people to buy them] it was a heck of lot of fun though, it was just like playing 'The Apprentice'! GO TEAM CUPCAKE!

Monday, 30 March 2009


That's Hot!

That's Hot! [Detail]
Acrylic on Board

I have a bit of an obsession with Paris Hilton, well actually I'm more transfixed by her than obsessed, she's kind of like a car crash, you know you should turn away and not look but you can't help yourself. Love or hate her you have to admire the fact she can fall in shit and come up smelling of roses - I mean she's turned a sex scandal and prison sentence into money making schemes! My 'obsession' reached it peek during the two gap years i took between Foundation and my Degree, I worked in our village shop and stood reading trashy celebrity magazines devouring reports of Paris' latest exploits instead of doing actual work. My favourite Paris related story was the way the movie "House of Wax" was marketed in the press, they gave it the tag line: "SEE PARIS HILTON DIE!", once she saw how much people loved that concept, she claimed it was all her own idea! Clever girl! I actually believe a large chuck of people who went to see the film only went to see her die, i certainly did, i mean that in the nicest possible way. I do think its a damn good film, and think Paris been killed in it overshadowed the film, However I was waiting excitedly throughout the film for Paris' big scene, which makes me sound pretty evil, but I had spent months reading about her and this film, so I think I'd hyped it up in my head and got over-excited trying to imagine it my head before I saw it. When the scene came it didn't disappoint, I highly recommend the film just for Paris' death scene, it's actually quite sad, they sort of pause on her face, I know looking vacant isn't really a drain on her "acting talents" but I certainly believed her in that scene, which is why I painted a picture of it, I thought it was quite a beautiful composition, its filled with a definite sense of pathos, almost like some kind of postmodern/secular crucifixion. I do however reckon the producers where taking the piss a bit and making a sly reference to her infamous "other movie", considering the phallic imagery of the pole skewering her head...

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Project Space

Main Views of the Room

Close Up of the Floor

Details of the Colouring Book Characters "playing" in the "real world"

In Uni we have certain spaces set aside for us to book out so we can try out ideas, stage mini exhibitions, play in etc, they are known as "Project Spaces", last week I hired out one of these spaces so I could try transform it into the inside of my head [actually trying to recreate my thought processes is more accurate]. I've talked before about me learning about death and how I see it as a milestone of my childhood [the end of innocence and entrance into the real world etc], and I've posted photos of the wall in my space where I'd tried all this out by making my own wallpaper. In the Project Space I wanted to expand the idea to cover a whole room [I was initially going to cover the ceiling as well but abandoned the idea when I realized how little time I had to complete the room - I could only book it for a week].
I wanted people to actually have to walk into my idea and confront the transition from childhood [the colouring books] to the real world [the neon pages]. It worked really well [I am biased though] people tended to have similar reactions when they first walked into the room, they immediately wanted to start colouring in the blank colouring book pages, and after they started to adjust to the surroundings [it was quite overwhelming colour wise when you first entered] they began to look closely at the neon pages - which contained pictures of a mushroom cloud, the aftermath of spontaneous combustion, and articles about napalm, Chernobyl and cannibalism [all things I was fascinated by and used to research in encyclopedias as a child] Peoples reactions started to change from happily reminiscing about colouring, to either sadness or pondering my sanity, as they realized that there is a conflict between the two sides of the childhood I'm presenting. After viewing the neon pages people started to realize that some of the colouring books contain pretty questionable imagery themselves and their perceptions of innocence and the horrors of the real world started to change and the boundaries between the two merge. They also began to understand my connections between the colouring books and the content of the neon pages, I was extremely pleased that the majority of people understood the work perfectly without too much explanation, and during a group crit I managed to get some people to talk about their own experiences of learning about death. A common question during the crit was why I'd used bright colours to represent the real world, and blank colouring books for childhood, as most people associate them the other way round [the real world all blank and dull, and childhood as colourful], for me I saw the real world as exciting, and I had a morbid curiosity with things I really shouldn't of known about as an 8 year old, so looking back it makes sense to have the real world colourful and appealing [I'm instantly drawn towards colourful things] and I wanted the childhood element to be 'pure' and innocent, so uncoloured coloured books seemed apt. Another question that was raised was why I'd arranged the pages in a certain order? Well the neon pages follow a pattern to represent the humdrum aspect of the real world [repetition and routine] while the contents represent the harsh reality of the horrors that occur in the world. The colouring books where pasted without following any order to symbolize the random nature of childhood, I wanted to emphasize the conflict between the two stages, and also to try illustrate the way my mind works, when I think or have ideas I tend to start with something, for example a boat trip, then I'll connect that with something else, and before you know it, it's set off a chain reaction and I'm at a completely different thought, death for example, but still have a connection between the two things. Not sure if that makes much sense, the easiest way I can describe my thinking is its like a "domino effect", so I partly wanted the wallpaper to follow a similar pattern to try show this.
Whilst pasting the pages on the floor, I had an Epiphany! I came up with the idea of covering stairs within the uni with the colouring books and neon pages, so that people physically have to make the transition from childhood to the real world as they walk up the stairs. I'm quite excited about trying this idea out but have to wait until uni is empty over the Easter Holidays [so I don't get trampled while I'm gluing]

Thursday, 26 March 2009


"Emotion is Irrelevant" [Blue Eyes]
Spraypaint on Paper

"You're Gonna Die Up There" [White]
Spraypaint on Sugar Paper

"Chairman Meow"
Spraypaint on Card

Apparently there's been a bit of interest in my spraypaintings in the Silent Auction, especially in "The Blinding", and not just from my friends. And rumour has it I even have bids [yes, plural] so I took some more spraypaintings in for the Stall that's running along side the auction, where we're trying to flog things the good old fashioned way [with price stickers and a smile] so I've posted some examples of some of the stuff I took in. None of which sold. However whilst I was manning the stall [well sitting behind the sale table twirling on a swivel chair, drinking a Ribena] a lad got his girlfriend to ask if I was Badge, which I am, he then told me he really liked my work, especially "The Blinding", not sure I could class him as a fan but it's a start. This to me was better than actually selling anything, plus one of my tutors said encouraging things about the Barbies, so a good day all round! Who actually needs money anyways? [OK I do - I'm developing quite a worrying Ribena habit, I'm not at the stage where I sell my Mam's T.V set but it's only a matter of time...]

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

I Stood Beneath an Orange Sky [well ok its more pinkish]

I know it's not very professional to tell people your crap at doing something - it apparently will colour people's opinions, but I have to point out my photography "skills" [it feels wrong to call them skills] aren't very good, even with auto-focus on and a tripod I can still somehow take blurry wonky photos [I suppose its a skill after all - or maybe a "special" talent?] however I took these photos of the sunsetting the other week on my 2 mile walk home from the train from uni, and they turned out alright [well I think so]. The colours where awesome, everywhere was pink and glowing, its a similar look to the effect I've tried to create in my painting of the boat trip, only mine is more neon...

Monday, 23 March 2009

Slient Auction Ssshhh!!

View of the Silent Auction Exhibition in the Foyer of the Art block in Uni

The Second part of the Exhibition in the Lift Room of the Foyer


'The Blinding'
Spraypaint on Paper

'Elliott - Sketch'
Spraypaint on Paper

'I am Doll Parts'
Mixed Media

'Life in Plastic, It's Fantastic'
Acrylic, Marker Pen and Barbie

'I'm a Barbie Girl'
Acrylic, Marker Pen and Barbie

'He Came Home'
Woodcut on Fabric with Thread

'Keep Fishin'
Acrylic on Photocopy

'I Have Confidence in My Chainsaw'
Acrylic, Fabric and Machine Embroidery on Board

We're having a Silent Auction in Uni to try raise money for the Degree Show, Katy from my year has organized it, and I helped her and Jude hang the work for the Exhibition, where the work will be displayed so people can have a good look at what their bidding on, I'm told it's all just like ebay - people enter their bid and at the end we can chose to accept the highest bid, simple.
The work I submitted for the auction came up against the usual barrage of 'moral outrage' - some of it is apparently too "creepy" to go in the main foyer so I had to put half up in the Lift Room - out of sight, but I suppose its a fair point, God forbid someone actually does something different. Another point raised about my work is the fact I'm catering to a 'niche market', only a "certain type of person" [a nice way of saying "sick and twisted"] will want to buy my work, I was given no clues as to what these people would look like or where to find them? Someone else asked me who would possibly want to buy the Barbie's I'd altered? and where on earth would they put them if they did buy them? Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, I should however point out that I don't really think about who'll buy my work or where it sits in the art world whilst I'm making it, I just make it for myself and hope someone will like it enough to either plonk it in a gallery or buy it, which if I've understood correctly is wrong, but what the heck it's too late to do anything bout it now!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

A Colourful Joke

I'm universally crap at both remembering jokes, telling them, and also understanding them, apparently my brain thinks too logically to process jokes, however my friend Carys told me this joke a few weeks ago and through some fluke i managed to a) understand it b) remember it, and c) hopefully have retold right.
So here goes...

[imaginary drum roll please]

What's Blue and taste's like Yellow paint?

[give in?]

It's Blue paint!

[imaginary tumbleweed please]

Now when I first heard that I was suitably impressed, I do however think its far too sophisticated for a joke, its more like those classy brain teasers you get in broadsheets. I'm comparing it to them to perhaps make me feel better about my initail response to the joke, in the gap between joke and punchline I answered "something green?".

Saturday, 21 March 2009

We Like BirdLand

Photo's From My Second Year Show of My Installation 'We Like Birdland'

Thought I'd put up some photo's of 'Elliott' with the flock of birds, since I always saw 'Elliott' as an installation. I based it mainly on Patti Smith's song 'Birdland'. The song tells the story of a boy whose Father has just died, after the funeral he mistakes a flock of birds for a spaceship, that he believes is bringing his dad back to him.
The song reminded me of the experience of losing my Nain and Aunty, after their deaths I saw two swallows perched on the telephone line outside my bedroom window, its the only time I've ever seen swallows, I'm not saying I believe the swallows were spaceships or the reincarnation of my Nain and Aunt, but seeing the birds helped me deal with the loss. I wanted to try capture those feelings and the experinece, whilst watching 'Heroes' I learnt of the Japanese tradition of folding origami cranes, there's a legend that states if you fold a thousand cranes you are granted a wish, which I think is a really beautiful idea, so i started to make my flock of origami cranes [with the idea that the wish would be to have my Nain and Aunty back] once I'd hung them from the ceiling flying out from the back of the studio all the way down to the door, I placed the painting of 'Elliott' looking up at the birds. I used Elliott from E.T because i could see a parallel between him and the boy in the song, and also because I could relate to Elliott when i was a kid, and used to get really upset when he had to say goodbye to E.T [i still do actually, it's literally the only thing that can make me cry]. I was really happy with the end result, and for ages thought the painting didn't work without the birds, but i guess it kind of does, he still looks sad and is still looking up, so its almost like he's now straining to see the birds or spaceship, and of course people who realize I've infringed copyrights and used the little boy from E.T will get the reference and hopefully connect it with the experience of losing someone close to them...

Didn't We Have A Lovely Time, The Day We Went To Bangor

Spraypaint, Wax, Fabric, Ink, Glitter

'I Must Think Of A Brick Wall'

My Plaques

I don't wanna boast but i got two paintings into the Bangor Open Exhibition, and they got a little plaque [if i call it a plaque it makes up for the fact it's made of foamboard] which made me feel pretty darn good about myself, however I cannot take all the credit, my friend Wendy did nag me to submit the painting of Elliott from E.T, i intially said 'no', because it's a big-ish piece and I was too lazy to drag it all the way to Bangor, and to me it doesn't make any sense without the flock of paper birds above him, but she insisted it worked and kept nagging. Eventually I just gave in, she even predicted it would get in and sell [it hasn't sold but it did get a special mention - which i consider to be proof she's a witch]. having seen the painting of 'Elliott' in the gallery today I can sort of see why Wendy nagged so much, he did look alright in there, the light was catching the glitter and making the background all twinkley so i was pretty chuffed [but then i am biased]. The other painting is a stencilled spraypainting of the head boy from 'Village of the Damned', it was part of the project I did about horror films in my second year, when i first started getting into the idea of dream and reality mixing [which is now a major theme in my work].

[bit annoyed that i couldn't get a decent picture of the framed piece - no matter where i stood i kept getting dodgy reflections]

Friday, 20 March 2009

Home Sweet Home

Apparently my studio space is "too neat". I can't help been tidy, I'm very precise when I'm painting so I don't really make any mess. I like my space it has all the pictures of other peoples work I like up on one wall, and I also have shelves! However no space of mine is complete without the most vital ingredient needed for me to work - Diet Coke! [its there check the first picture]

Wednesday, 18 March 2009


The work I'm doing at the moment deals with the idea of children learning about death and how it's a milestone in every one's life, it's kind of an "apocalypse of childhood" [the revelation of death]. I've been working with imagery from my own childhood that I relate to the time when I first learnt about death, and the realization that I could also die, all the paintings are of objects/experiences that reminds me of the fear of death and nightmares I had due to these fears, painted with apocalyptic-esque skies [to suggest "the end" - death].
Along side this I've been putting together a kind of wallpaper to act as a background for the paintings, based on the same idea. It starts at the bottom of the wall with uncoloured colouring book pages - to symbolize childhood innocence, working the way up the wall to neon photocopies of pages from encyclopedias - to represent the harshness of the "real world", showing how children grow up from childhood into the 'real world' by learning about death - the neon pages are things i used to read about when I was a kid [cannibalism, napalm, atomic bombs, spontaneous combustion and Chernobyl] things I shouldn't of read about but did anyway used to represent death. I used neon paper to make the real world look more appealing [like the forbidden fruit] and also to disguise the horrific subject matter, and left the colouring books plain to symbolize the innocence of childhood - untainted by death. Ive cut out characters from the colouring books and placed them in the 'real world' interacting with environment, to show the progression between the two ages. I've so far only done this in my studio space, trying my paintings against the 'wallpaper', I really need to get into a project space and try it out on a larger scale...

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Today's Post Is Brought To You By The Letter "B"

I learnt a new word today; Blendy, it literally means things that have been blended, as in "how do you get your paintings so blendy?" which is exactly the context in which i first heard it, when the question was posed to me by a guy from the second year in uni today. The answer to his question was spraypaint and acrylic in case your wondering.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Saatchi Profile

Here's a link to my Saatchi Profile its got pictures of my work from my First and Second year of my degree