With The City of York Council almost ready to move into York’s original railway station, my ‘Maps’ artwork has now been installed. The large screen and manifestation lines (anti-bumping into clear glass ‘thingumajigs’) will be viewable in the customer services area by the end of March. Above shows a small selection of the 72 discs created – which were designed to chart the history of the West Offices and the development of the city. Whilst researching the commission I was really struck by the graphics found on an old 1851 OS map; and wanted to adapt some of the lines, shapes and building structures seen within and around the original railway tracks. Discovering Seebohm Rountree’s map graffiti was also a revelation and something I wanted to incorporate. His studies of poverty in York led him to write notes and make drawings directly on to maps during the turn of the 19th century.
More on West Offices and the big screen to follow >
On a very crisp and beautiful January morning I visited the lovely Runswick Bay to help with the delivery and installation of a ‘seascape’ themed screen. With large sea-facing windows streaming light into a very special house overlooking the spectacular views of the east coast – I wanted the design to maximise all of this potential – and project an ever-changing story by using the cast shadows. Along with the seagulls and water ripples it features Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The Sea And The Hills’ and this part of the design was eased by collaborating, once again, with typography whizz Adrian Riley from Electric Angel.
The screen which was commissioned as a dividing wall to an en-suite bathroom was fabricated using sandblasted and silvered glass by the Wiltshire outfit Proto Studios.
* Hoping to bring you more images of the screen once the house has been fully completed and the builder’s dust has settled.
Work has begun on a new commission to help revamp Giorgio Alessio’s award winning restaurant ‘La Lanterna‘ – described by the influential Italian daily newspaper La Stampa as ‘the English temple of Italian cuisine’. I have been in cahoots with the very talented theatre designer Jan Bee Brown, who has been assigned the task of interior design and our mission is to create a newly spruced home suitable for some of the most highly commended gastronomical cucina in the country.
As Giorgio is looking to blend a little of his native roots of Piedmont with his adopted town of Scarborough, we are currently exploring the possibilities of fusing the famous Piedmont ‘Mulberry’ tree and foggy landscapes with our very own east coast horizon lines as a possible backdrop to Giorgio’s signature dishes of Tartufi Bianchi (white truffles); Osso Buco; or Velvet crabs. With the refit due to be complete by the end of April, I hope to update you with more progress very soon.
What a rare treat it was to hang out at Scarborough’s Sea Swim hut on the south bay as part of their summer residency spots; and finally get round to doing some freeform drawing.
Funded by the innovative program Imove, Sea Swim believes that swimming can invigorate both the mind and the body – and collaborates with regional artists to explore the creatively liberating effects of being so close to the North Sea.
As part of my weekend in and around the beach hut I wanted to return to my studies on ‘horizon lines’, a personal drawing project which has been on hold for some time. I had fun running an experimental drawing workshop – Light and Line, but the real luxury was to reconnect with the constantly changing quality of light over the sea and to spend time on open ended research drawing. I produced initial sketches, which I intend to develop into a new body of work using black pigment and graphite. For the time being I envisage sticking with drawing, but who knows, maybe there’ll be some glass work too eventually.
One of the highlights of 2012 was being shortlisted for the Garfield Weston Foundation Canterbury Cathedral Competition run by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. Simply being considered for the role of creating a one-off designed window in Canterbury Cathedral, where many of the original windows are still going strong some 800 years after they were crafted, was a huge privilege. And with a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site the whole experience was a wonderful adventure.
My ideas for the design in the cloister centred around the daily lives of the Benedictine monastic community and their coming together to eat. I used contemporary photographic images of parsley, rosemary, chives and mint, layering them to suggest a ‘living garden’, as the cloisters area would once have been. By combining traditional lead work and contemporary photographic imagery I aimed to bridge the historical and present day.
Today I’m packing a bathroom window ready for shipping to Houston, Texas! It’s my first international commission so I’m pretty excited about it. The client came to my studio this weekend to see it for the first time and was suitably pleased. Phew!
These photos of the window panel propped up in my studio show how it changes under different lighting conditions. This is a quality that is central to my work. I strive to create artworks that are constantly changing with the varying lighting conditions, whether that be natural sunlight or artificial.
The window is made from a single sheet of mirror with sandblasting front and back to create the tree silhouette imagery.
Areas of clear glass glint and reflect the light from the studio window.
back-lit by daylight the silver mirror branches appear silhouetted. Sandblasted branches on the front glass surface create a layer of subtle grey tone.
front sandblasting over the silhouetted mirror branch creates a soft blurry image. Crisp sections are visible through branch shapes left as clear shiny glass.
the glass against a dark wall simulates a night-time view. The piece does a light to dark reversal. The silver mirror branch now reflects internal light and appears white on a dark background.
thanks to Jason from Sign Experience, Scarborough, for help with the vinyl sandblasting masks.
This weekend my studio is open to the public as part of North Yorkshire Open Studios. I have small wall panels, tiles, prints and drawings for sale and you can also see commissions in progress and samples showing the techniques I use in my larger pieces. Past projects and commissions are documented in my portfolio of images.
Please do come along for a chat, a nosey at what I’m up to artistically and a cuppa with biscuits – it would be great to see you!
I’ll be there 10.30am – 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday. Call to arrange an appointment if you’d like to come at a diferent time.
I’m frantically designing artworks for a fab public art project in York. The City of York Council are moving offices – to a great building on the site of the original ‘old’ railway station, just inside the city walls from the current ‘new’ station. The new West Offices development is part renovation of the original station buildings and part new build including a canopy over where the railway lines were. The plans look great, it’s going to be a stunning building. I’m making a large glass screen which will be part of a wall in the main customer services area. I’m also making a whole series smaller glass artworks which will be bonded to the main entrance doors to function as ‘manifestation lines’ – the things that stop people bumping into glass walls and doors.
My artworks are all based round maps of the area, linking to the history of the site. I’ve been researching the area and finding old maps which are fascinating. I’ll be adding bits and bobs about my research, but thought I’d start by sharing some of the images I’m finding and hoping to use in the artworks. Here’s a few images extracted from the 1851 OS map of the area at the whopping scale of 5ft : 1 mile which I’m now so familiar with I think I could draw it freehand with my eyes closed! I think this map is fantastic looked at from a visual rather than an information focus, although the information on there is fascinating too.
This one was part of Seebohm Rowntree’s survey of poverty in York. His first survey was conducted in 1899. Thanks to the Rowntree Society for their assistance!
I’m really pleased to be ‘Featured Artist’ for October on the We Like Artists website. It’s a site containing really useful professional advice for artists and creatives on such things as promotion, funding and other financial matters. Well worth a look! Click here.
I recently exhibited in ‘Mothers and Daughters’ alongside Jan Bee Brown (who also curated the show), Stef Mitchell and Franka Wurzer. The exhibition, one of several in private houses opened for the duration of the festival, included work from the ‘Woodend’ series of window hangings, and glass wall panels. An exchange/collaboration with Coastival (Scarborough) and the Goedereede Arts Week festival is being researched for 2013, so watch this space for further details!