Monday, 27 April 2009

Stephen King Rules

I may have said before that I'm a bit of a Geek when it comes to Stephen King, I totally love his writing [when I was in Primary I went through a phase when I wanted to be him when I grew up] A lot of the descriptions of the locations in his books remind me of where I live, and the some of the stories concerning children remind me of events in my own childhood ['IT', 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon', and 'The Body' in particular] So I'm naturally inspired by his work, and have used it as references for my own, especially this year. It's not just his writing I've used for inspiration but the cover art on his books. I prefer the older covers [I mainly buy used books so tend to get older covers anyways] I love the illustrative painterly quality to the covers, they've been done in an almost hyper-realistic manner, making them more frightening - too me they straddle the divide between real and unreal which is quite unsettling, and its a style I've strived for in my own painting ...

Sunday, 26 April 2009

They All Float Down Here ...

I am Terrified of Clowns. Yet I have a Clown that I am not scared of - even though it has a solid head and soft floppy body - which does freak me out slightly. But I am totally shit-scared of Pennywise from Stephen King's "IT".

I saw a tiny tiny bit of the film version on TV as a kid and didn't sleep for a week after just a glimpse! So I refused to read the book for years, even though I'm a huge King fan and crave his work like a junkie. During the summer between my First and Second year I decided to stop being such a baby and just read it, after all what harm can a book possible do? A lot it would seem.

First off during the first few chapters I could hear voices outside my window [bear in mind it's One in the morning] I reluctantly looked out my window and saw that it was neighbours watching a comet - don't ask - I didn't, I was just glad it wasn't Pennywise!! [Not really the sort of thing you want to happen when you're already nervous!!] It also made me petrified of going any where near a sink [not good if you clean bathrooms for a living], And made me afraid to look out of my window at night or go near drains, and I became cautious of balloons, all at the age of 22. But I stuck with the book and it was well worth it. In hindsight I can see why the book scared me, there are descriptions of woods, children playing in woods, groups of Friends etc, all of which reminded me of my own childhood, and also the fears and guises Pennywise takes on are common fears for children, King is tapping into universal fears that we can all relate too which makes the horror seem real [we can easily project ourselves into the scenarios in the book].

The overriding theme of the book is the fact 'The Losers' [the group of children] have to return to their childhood and face their fears, and defeat them so they can carry on with their lives, its a theme I've picked up on for my own work, I want to try make sense of my childhood fears [mainly the big one - Death] but hopefully it'll be easier for me than it was for The Losers ...

Saturday, 25 April 2009

They're Here ...

It was near the end of Primary School when I first caught a glimpse of the film 'Poltergeist', and only managed to see half of it, yet the scene where Carol-Anne buries her pet bird has always stuck in my mind. It was whilst re-watching the film during my first year of the degree [when I was sat at home watching horror films to research a project] that I realized that most children learn about death when a family pet dies, and its then that they start to ask questions about their own mortality and the Afterlife. Its a very short and simple scene but it shows the three children's different attitudes towards death - Carol-Anne's sadness, Dana's disregard for the event, and Robbie's mocking [asking if he can dig the bird up]. The scene sort of inspired me to think back to my own childhood and to when I first learnt about death. The first pet I remember dying, and actually seeing and holding some kind of funeral for, where the two goldfish that died when my Mam accidental left them outside over night, I discovered them the next day dried out on the patio [having jumped from their container]. The first person I remember dying was my Aunt's Father, Mr Wynne, I naturally questioned these events, eager to know more about what had happened, where they'd gone etc, not to be nosy but to try and understand the circumstances. Its really become the foundation for my current work, an attempt to try and figure out death and my own response to the inevitability of it, from both my childhood self and adult self ...

Friday, 24 April 2009

Stairway to Heaven

Over Easter I took advantage of the fact that Uni was abandoned and tried out my "wallpaper" on the stairs in the main reception. I have actually requested the stairs as part of my allocated space for the Degree Show, so I thought it best to at least try it before its too late to change the plans.
I basically cut up one of the giant pieces I used in the Project Space and used masking tape to secure it to the backs of the steps, so that you'd only be able to see the pattern it creates when your stood at the bottom, about to make your journey up the stairs - which will mirror the transition from childhood to adulthood that the "wallpaper" represents - you physically have to make that transition as you walk up the stairs.
If I get the space for the Degree Show I'll need to re-work the divide between the colouring books and the neon photocopies, the blend between them needs adapting for the stairs, but if I use these stairs there's two flights so I could stretch it over both sets.
I did however encounter one problem whilst sat happily playing on the stairs - an overly zealous Caretaker, who demanded to know what I was doing and who'd given me permission to to something so dangerous?? Apparently sticking paper on the bits of steps people can't physically walk on is a health and safety hazard, especially when absolutely no-one is in Uni or using the stairs. He ordered me to remove the dangerous artwork immediately in case someone fell, but I of course made him wait until I'd finished and taken photos, I wasn't wasting all that hard work.
So I'm pretty doubtful I'll be allowed to do this for the Degree Show, I'll have to wait and see ...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Return of the Project Space

Whilst taking the "wallpaper" down in the Project Space I hit upon the idea of using it as carpet! Last time I was in the space I covered the floor with just colouring books, I never thought to try having the colouring books by the entrance progressing to neon photocopies as you moved into the space [something you have walk through/over like the green mile corridor to the electric chair]. I only had the big sheet I'd used on the wall to try out the idea, its the wrong way round but gives the impression of how the colours would work with the paintings.
I'm much happier with this idea and think I might of finally found the solution to my problem of how to combine the two contrasting elements [paintings and "wallpaper"] it even makes the space seem brighter, its like the floor is glowing, which works nicely with the glow coming off some off the spraypaint in the paintings.
Just have to keep my fingers crossed that the space I'm allocated for the degree show is suitable for this idea ...

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Project Space Strikes Back

In Galaxy Far Far Away Over Easter I did this...

[apologizing in advance for the "stunning" photography you are about to see]

I re-booked the project and recycled the "wallpaper" I made last time from colouring books and neon photocopies, to try out different layouts, set ups and ideas for the degree show.
The first day was spent trying out just the paintings in the space, and then bringing in the "wallpaper" on the opposite wall, before covering the wall between the two as well.
I have to confess that the Project Space is a darn good idea [not that I'll admit that out loud in Uni] it's been most helpful getting in there and being able to see my ideas in an actual space, and this Project Space is by far my favourite, you can go into the far corner and curl up for a nap and no-one disturbs you. But back to the work [see how focused I am] again I'm doubting whether the "wallpaper" and the paintings work together? I think they clash too much [I can't believe I just wrote that, I'm normally excited by things that clash] it could be because the two pieces create two entirely different atmospheres. The paintings are quite menacing, while the "wallpaper" is loud and quite overwhelming, I think I just need to find a happy balance between the two ...

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Quick Life Drawings

My sketches from the first Alternative Life Drawing, I didn't get much chance to draw [the only bad thing about running it] so only managed to get these scribbled down quickly

Saturday, 18 April 2009


Since the First Session was such a success and in my humble opinion Fun [planning it was actually a whole heap of the total fun] I'm going to do it all over again, with the help of my trusty co-organizer Wendy, and Photographer Ewart, Sarah will also back giving Naomi Campbell a run for her money [but thankfully no phone throwing so far!]. But this time we will be having a Western Theme, so Cacti and Cowgirls all round! YeeHa!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Open Studio

Went to see my old tutor Colin Williams' studio space tonight, with some friends from College, its a really great space, and they still have studios to rent, there's a massive unit available in the downstairs of the building [which is a giant garden furniture warehouse] which we'd really really like to rent, but its a case of us all sorting out what we need from a studio so that it works for us all, it would be so awesome to carry on working with the people I've been with now for 3 years, so fingers crossed it all happens!

And here's a bit about the Studio Project from Wendy Couling's website [She's one of the artists in the studio]

"C.A.S.C. (Central Art Studios Cymru) is an artist-run organisation which was founded on St David’s Day 2009 by Colin Williams, Noel Brown and Wendy Couling a group of artists seeking an appropriate space in which to make their develop their practice. Our mission is to support and promote emerging and established contemporary visual artists from North Wales and beyond, through affordable artist-run studios, to sustain and develop local, regional and international initiatives and to promote research and community outreach projects."

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Through out the night we ran drawing games and competitions. Both models picked their favourite drawings during the competition poses and the lucky artists went home with Easter Eggs! The competition poses all had a theme which the artists had to incorporate into their drawing in order to be in with a chance to win an egg!

The First Theme was "The Sound of Music" - inspired by the singing goat that the models where posing with.

Sarah presenting Mary with her Prize

Tory presenting Chris with her Prize

The Second Theme was "Jeremy Kyle" - since the models where fighting over a basket of eggs

Tory presenting Vicky with her Prize

Sarah presenting Gwenan with her Prize

And the Final Theme was "The Best Incorporation of an Egg" - in honour of Easter of course!

Sarah presenting Sharon with her Prize

Tory presenting Tracy with her Prize

Well done to all those who walked off with an Easter Egg!

Photography by Ewart Hulse.


More pictures from the first Alternative Life Drawing Class. Photography by Ewart Hulse.


More photos from the First Alternative Life Drawing Class. Photography by Ewart Hulse.


More photos from the First Alternative Life Drawing. Photograpy by Ewart Hulse.


Photo's from the first Alternative Life Drawing Class. All Photographers taken by Ewart Hulse.