Independent Curator, Louise Hobson and I formalised a working relationship in the development of my exhibition ‘ A Template For Application’ at g39 gallery earlier this year. Across a series of studio visits, Louise supported the development of the show though curatorial dialogue. During this process, we found that we had many shared interests and overlaps in our research, which often place themselves under categories such as ‘use value of art’ or blur boundaries between design and living.
Through the support of the A-N Bursary, Louise and I have some dedicated time to explore where we may be able to push our common interests into a creative collaborative practice or project.
As part of the funding, we have been able to undertake an inspirational and informative trip to Grizedale Arts, to better understand the organisations practices which range from the hyper local to the international.
As an artist taking part in this years UNITe residency at g39 gallery, I have been able to feed in related conversations, thoughts and provocations into my studio time and share findings with peers taking part in the residency.
I’ll be blogging about mine and Louise’s thinkings, our trip to Grizedale and some of the threads that are feeding into my current work. Keep an eye!
Thanks to the A-N artist Bursary I have been able to have an exceptionally valuable experience in visiting Grizedale Arts and continuing creative conversation with Independent Curator, Louise Hobson. Simultaneously taking part in the G39 Unite Residency, enriched this experience, by being able to discuss and share my thoughts and research with the fellow Unite cohort and by being given the platform of a space in which to develop work.
So, where next? Do we ever really know?
I’m still reflecting on the next stages. How can I use my recent development to influence perspectives around art as part of our every day functions? In something I will make? Through developing a commissioning programme? Through my work at the refugee centre? Likely all of the above, in some form, I would imagine.
Inspired by my visit to Grizedale, I had spent some time exploring some of the more traditional crafts you can find in Cardiff Market, such as cake makers, tailors and engravers. I wouldn’t say that these tradespeople consider themselves artist but I enjoyed exploring their work and their wares as if they were.
Quite a bit of my time was spent with the local engraver, who at my request, engraved a few test pieces of text work.
You Don’t Have To Be An Artist uses found text, found in a youtube video when researching the process of engraving. The line resinated with me on a number of levels: a struggle in the pursuit to know where my work might be leading and the highs and lows of making work; the idea that artworks can encompass a wide range of practices and be applied practically to our every day settings; that you shouldn’t have to consider yourself an artist to access and experience the arts.
The work I developed from this text resulted in the making of a lightbox sign, which replaced g39’s previous gallery lightbox signage. I wanted the sign to highlight that art can be accessed by everyone – and if it was, perhaps everyone would have a pencil. I wanted the sign to have a function, relevant to the artist led space of g39. I am really pleased that the lightbox has received positive comments, with people noting that the sign had encouraged them to enter the building.
Image of lightbox taken by Anthony Shapland.
Everyone Will Have a Pencil draws upon the idea of art being a central component to our every day lives – something accessible to all and encompassing a wide breadth of practices.
The works arose from a set of Welsh ceramic plates I was studying at the National Museum of Wales. There was something about these plates, and a few others in the gallery, that brought to mind the image of the Birmingham Crest. The concept of crest, which depicts the artist and engineer working together, is one which I first came into contact with during an internship with Eastside Gallery. It is an image and a concept which has continued to inspire me ever since.
The line Everyone Will Have a Pencil comes from a comments board the the Nation Museum Wales, where an audience member had responded to the question: What if every cultural institution opened its doors?
One version of this work became an sign – the same size and shape as a circular road sign. This work is installed outside g39 gallery – a nod towards describing the artist led space is and ideas around accessibility of galleries.
I loved the signage at Grizedale Arts – both the beauty of the dying tradition of the painted sign (my Great Uncle was a signwriter) and the more contemporary uses. It was not until after the completion of some works (to follow in these blogs) that I realised the influence these signs may have had on my new works.
Thinking about the purpose of a surface continued / took a full circle, during the Unite Residency, where I revisited the idea of the painted wall having a function in society. Links were clearly developing between the work and research from my show A Template For Application at g39, (where I explored the Quaker experiment of colour washing the walls of the town of Bryn Mawr) and the research as part of the residency / A-N Bursary.
The red painting on this building at St Fagans Museum is particularly interesting, as it was thought the colour warded off evil spirits.