The For What It’s Worth group show in South Square Gallery, Thornton, Bradford continues until February 28th.

The booklet published alongside the exhibition contains some fascinating anecdotes from artists in response to the show’s theme around value and worth and are eloquently written about by Elspeth Mitchell in a recent review. From the participating artists’ individual positions on valuing and pricing their own artwork, through to the value of art in a more universal sense, her review very much captures the essence of the exhibition for me; it was written for the contemporary art and writing journal, Corridor8 and can be read here:


The Shape Open 2016 exhibition which opened on the evening of Thursday February 4th at the Guest Projects space in Hackney, was a memorable night for me. ‘Bad Head Day‘ – the piece of work I searched high and low for (finally materialising in the 119th box) was selected for the Shape Open 2016 award. It had been no small task to locate the artwork, but in the event, my persistent searching paid off. I feel honoured to receive a prize from an organisation whose work I’ve always respected and felt very positive about. Shape supported many of the students I worked with when I was a disability adviser in HE.

Bad Head Day‘ is part of a group show, featuring the work of 38 artists exploring the theme of ‘My Life.‘ The premise of the show was chosen by Shape patron Yinka Shonibare who explained in his introduction that he decided on this theme as an open brief, in order to allow artists to freely explore it. ‘In the context of an ever-changing society‘ he felt it was important to ‘… encourage reflection on the lives of disabled people and create an honest and wide-ranging discussion about the barriers we face.’

Both disabled and non-disabled artists were invited to submit work for what is Shape Art’s fourth annual open exhibition. Thank you to everyone at Shape Arts, including the curator of the Shape Open 2016, Ben Fredericks and his team. (Ben is pictured above with me, standing next to ‘Bad Head Day.’) And thanks also to the Shape and Guest Projects staff for such a warm welcome on the opening night. The show is well worth a visit and is on until February 21st. The details of opening times at the Guest Projects space are here and I’m pleased to say, is fully accessible!



Footnote on the subject of value and worth and pricing your artwork …

… in another example of perfect timing, artist Helen Dearnley posted an article on FB about pricing artwork. I’d just started this blog post when it came through. The section on cultural, emotional and monetary value is of particular relevance to me when it comes to pricing my artwork and there’s a lot that resonates. How do you put a price on work that is composed primarily of found objects?

Historians studying past cultures use several ways to come up with a theory of how a particular civilization existed. Written text, archaeological evidence, stories passed down through generations, and the artwork of that time are often indicators. Artists have, over thousands of years, provided a lasting record of events, beliefs, sights, and emotions. We continue to do so and the work you buy has cultural significance as a result. As well, when you buy an original piece of art, you are not just buying any old object like a shoe. Granted, one could argue, a shoe has a purpose – I need it to protect my foot. But once that shoe is worn out and tossed, there is nothing left – no personal connection at all. The opposite is true of original art. Before you buy a piece there is an emotional connection to it – maybe you have been to that location and had a great time there,  or you love elephants, or that bike looks like one you owned as a kid etc. Some people find emotion in simply connecting with the artist themselves and consider the work made by that persons hands a token of that connection. Hard to put a price on that. In any case, an original work of art has something that many costly items do not – lasting value. As a society we spend millions on extracurricular vehicles, electronics, computers, clothing etc. – none of which will be there when you have grandchildren. Original art increases in value over time, and especially so if the artist is successful in their career. It can be a lucrative investment if you are a collector, or simply a treasure that you wish to pass down to someone in your will.

The rest of the article can be read here:


The huge task of finding that elusive piece of art work (see last post) meant having to confront the sheer volume of what I own. Raking through each box with a fine tooth comb, cataloguing virtually every item in each one, meant having to face up to just how much I’ve collected over the years. I thought a lot about the value and worth of the assorted objects as I sifted through them.

There’s no doubt that some objects are ‘worth’ more than others, both in emotional and in monetary terms. A lot of them are also real indicators of their time, both culturally and politically, especially the magazines and books, saved from my teenage years. I’m looking forward to finding time in the future to look more closely at the various Diana and Jackie annuals – Photo Loves, Blue Jeans and various others. But for now, in terms of timing, it feels appropriate that my ‘Here Today‘ work is currently being shown as part of a group show called ‘For What It’s Worth.

The exhibition is in the South Square Gallery in Thornton, Bradford. I’m really pleased to be offered the opportunity to show work here and pleased that this particular piece was selected and has had a dusting down. Not only is it relevant to the show’s premise – an exploration into how artwork is priced and valued – it also happens to be one of my favourite pieces.

The process of gathering together the assembled pieces and preparing them for being on show again, followed by releasing them into the hands of the curator, reminded me how precious certain individual items are to me. It’s reminded me also that out of the dozens of items I’ve sorted through these past few days, some stand out as truly special. The hand mirror, the used make-up palettes, the vintage silk flower, which ‘Here Today’ is made up of, are classic examples of objects like this – they demonstrate perfectly for me the incredible power of objects, how deeply attached we can become to them and the extremely powerful emotions they can evoke.

‘Here Today’ is composed of objects that belonged to and were actually handled by my late Nana; she left her mark on them, and while they are still here, my Nana no longer is. This small assemblage of objects conjures up for me something that I write a lot about here, a theme that is at the core of my practice – a fascination with the contrast between the permanence of objects and the fragility of life.

I wrote this in response to the curator’s question about how I price my own artwork:

‘When it comes to putting a monetary value on a piece of art that is so deeply personal to me, it’s far from easy. Perhaps that’s why, when I’m asked to put a price on something like ‘Here Today‘, I often find myself taking the easy way out and responding with nfs (not for sale). Or, I suppose you could put it another way – that the assembled items in this particular piece, to me – are priceless.’

I’m looking forward to travelling to the South Square Gallery on Friday, to be at an event organised around the exhibition – to meeting Jean McEwan, a fellow blogger on this site, and the other artists in the show – to seeing their work, and hopefully speaking with them about how they approach the task of pricing it.

If you happen to be in the Bradford area, it would be lovely to see you there. Details are on the South Square Gallery website: