La Lanterna restaurant is not only one of the best examples of Italian cuisine in the region but also one of the finest in the country; Italian daily newspaper La Stampa even dared to label it ‘the English temple of Italian cuisine’. So, I was honoured when owner and head chef, Giorgio Alessio, and his interior designer Jan Bee Brown (also a distinguished artist and theatre designer) asked me to help play a part in the refurbishing of his restaurant by designing some glass panels. With La Lanterna now back in full swing—I wanted to see how the new designs had acclimatised to their surroundings—and was greeted by Giorgio clutching handfuls of fresh mint.
The brief was to create artwork that reflected Georgio’s home town of Piedmont, Italy, and his now adopted home of Scarborough. The panels form part of the partition between the restaurant’s two dining areas, the theme of one which focussed on Piedmont, and the other Scarborough. I designed imagery based on Scarborough’s seascapes, and Piedmont’s Mulberry trees, and in particular the pollarded trees represented so beautifully by the artist Mario Pavese, a friend of Georgio’s. The glass panels are installed back to back, and one can be seen through the other, so I designed them to complement each other. The lines of the receding Piedmont landscape echo the horizontal lines of Scarborough’s receding sands, and the merging of the two sets of imagery symbolises the emotional merging of Georgio’s two home towns.
Great to have a natter too about seasonal fayre and inspired after hearing about his early morning schlepps to the fish markets.
Above is a selection of images which illustrate how the glass panels look in situ.
Now that the City of York County Council team, are well and truly settled in their new West Offices HQ, I want to share with you a little more about the big screen I was commissioned to create for their new handsome old railway station dwelling.
The site-specific artwork, which is a blend of sandblasted and mirrored glass, was designed to act as a screen which can help separate the customer services area and private offices. To create the design, hand drawn tracings were made from contemporary and historic OS maps of York.
Three overlapped tracings, at differing scales, when turned into mirror and frosted glass layers make the task of navigating the city into an intriguing puzzle.
All information within the map is discarded and only the buildings are traced, turning the city into a lace-like pattern.
I’m enjoying the blossoming trend of the ‘Open Studios’ which have been sweeping the nation over the last few years; and particularly admire the opportunities each provide for artists to reach a wider and alternative audience. Not only do we get a rare glimpse into the creative environment—we often get to view some of the artwork lovingly placed in a home setting—as opposed to gallery walls. So, with that logic and a desire to have a wee seasonal celebration ..I’ve decided to host an open house weekend during the early winter, and have invited some of my dear and talented friends & family to exhibit with me.
For further information please see the poster below and keep an eye on the blog for future updates about the artists exhibiting:
I’m currently working on the creation of wall panels and glass balustrade for the Headworks pumping station on Bridlington’s South Promenade. Yorkshire Water are undertaking a major programme of work to improve bathing water in Bridlington, and this commission is to be sited on a new extension to the Headworks building.
The 1st of May 2013 was the first day of the bathing season, and so it seemed appropriate to choose this date as the one on which to take a ‘snapshot’ of contemporary seafront life. This ‘snapshot’ is the starting point for the commission. The artwork will feature ‘found text’ extracted from photographs of the seafront and harbour, along with drawings based on an old sailing cobble, The Three Brothers, which was being restored at the time.
I’m a proper fan of collaborations, and for this project I’m working with Adrian Riley of Electric Angel Design, a typography whizz and an artist/designer I’ve collaborated with many a time previously. I’m also working with artist Jojo Holmes, who was brought on board as a result of his interest in collecting narratives through photographic images.
The Headworks project has it’s very own blog, so if you fancy following developments in more detail go to www.bridlingtonheadworks.com
The images below show (from top down): a sketch of the Headworks, new extension and beach huts; a photograph of the Headworks pumping station as it is now; an abstract detail of the concrete surface, shadows and railings; the Three Brothers being restored; and images of found text from the harbour.
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.