Normally I don’t write about the studio where I make most of my work, but I should. It’s been my favourite place to retreat to and ponder on life, and allows my prints to develop and grow of their own accord. This year I have had the privilege to be the chair of this organisation, East London Printmakers, which is a group of around 200 artists (and 40 keyholders) who all love making prints. The studio has been based in Hackney for over 14 years, a grimy part of London (remember those riots in 2011? they happened outside our front door) until it became a hip, bespoke playground for the rich and bored. And inevitably, the rents shot up and we were forced to think about moving, or folding. So we moved.

elp-studio-warmer_eeeMoving house is like throwing everything up in the air and then trying to relax when you can’t find it any more because it landed somewhere unexpected. Anyway we’ve done it. Thousands, literally thousands of hours of plotting, planning, constructing, sanding, polishing, painting, packing, moving, organising happened. Mainly all of it was done by members and studio keyholders for free… Of course the presses were moved professionally by the very excellent Giles of AMR and Mike Kirby of Linecasting Machinery, and new walls and floor and heating and lighting had to be installed as well… And the new landlords, Acme studios, have been incredibly welcoming: contributing practically and financially to helping us move in.

img_5475

East London Printmakers is now based in a beautiful studio (42 Copperfield Road) sandwiched between the canal and the park, close to Mile End station. We reopened 1st October and are planning a party on 22nd October. This is a studio warming party, to invite people over to come see us, and find out more about printmaking, to thank everyone who has supported us, and to invite continued support for the future.

img_5441The press release is below. Please come!!

elp-studio-warmer_invite_text_e

PS> One of the rewards will be this print in pink, or the one above in blue, which you can come and print yourself and take away for a fiver!! If you can’t make it, let me know and I’ll save one for you… elp-studio-warmer_pink_e

Advertisements

I’ve been obsessed with the word Orchis (the ancient Greek word for testicle) ever since I discovered that Orchids were named after the shape of their bulbs.

orchis books line_eIt amuses me that such a lavishly feminine flower comes from such a masculine shaped object. orchis one straight_eI’ve been working on this series of prints called Orchis for the past few months. This has led me onto making these works about sexuality, touch and desire, involving orchids and chrysanthemums, amongst other symbols.

orchis two solo_eI wanted to make images that convey the feeling of closeness to another body and communication through emotion.This is not from an external view, a photographic view, a logical view, but from feeling, the sensation of being inside one’s own skin: a rendition of position, muscle memory, and distortion around a point that radiates from the inner eye.

orchis three solo_eThe landscapes are internal ones that flow and merge from bodies into plants and flowers, jungle and folded fabric, between figures that are solid and those that seem to shimmer and disappear.

orchis four_solo_eI wanted to make black and white linocut prints with a binary code that could potentially appear blurry; lines that evoke sensation rather than logic.

orchis five_solo_eIt made sense to fold the prints into a book form, rather than display them as flat images on the wall, as I wanted the viewer to touch the books and alter the shape of the sculptural space that they make, and also rearrange the timelines and view the pages in any order.

orchis six solo_eThe books have a very simple accordion fold, such that each of the three panels that make up the linocut print come out towards the viewer. The unfolded print is about 92 cm long, which fits nicely within the arm span: a book that tests the limit of the arm stretch.

orchis seven_solo_eThe accordion fold makes a syncopated rhythm to the shape of the print, which can be read in any direction. The folds can be manipulated to hide sections and join parts of the image to distant areas.orchis eight solo_eWhile the prints are related, they are each a chapter within the series rather than one continuous story. Nine was the natural number that happened. When eight books are lined up in a row, they fit the length of the ninth book on display.orchis nine solo_e

I had fun deciding the colour for each book’s cover, which is made from fabric covered book board. The title Orchis and the number of the book are printed from a laser cut block which was made to the shape of my handwriting. I used these blocks to print acrylic size, and then applied gold leaf. orchis one_lowview_e

Having made them all, I’m now thinking of ways of displaying them such that they can be viewed as a whole, but read one at a time.

Orchis Series (2016)

Handcarved and printed linocut in three panels on lambeth cartridge, laser cut block and gold leaf text, leporello. Edition 30 (1-5 will be a complete set). 295 x 157 x 5mm

Hot off the press is my motto, and here is a sneak insight into the book I am working on for a show that opens at the Westminster Library next Saturday 22nd June.

The title of the show is Unending, which is a theme that has resonated with me for the past year, ever since the proposal was made. Taken from a lyrical piece of text about an unending library from Borges, I took to thinking about an unending forest, thus the forest prints were born.

Here are two linocuts of two different forests, one in Hackney and the other in Aberystwyth. The one in Hackney was made after the surprise snow that filled Londoners’ hearts with glee one magical weekend in January. The Aberystwyth print was made towards the close of the Moon show.

unending_vpark_all_e

unending_aber_all_e

I thought it would be interesting to combine the two forests in an accordion book such that they cannot ever be viewed in their entirety without the viewer moving around. The scene only joins up when you open the book and peer at it at a certain angle, much like those anamorphic paintings from Holbein’s day. The forests too have been split so that they are back to back on the same piece of paper, so the memory of the forest on one side of the book has to be joined up mentally with the forest on the other side…

All in all, a creation of a fantasy!

Here are some pictures of the final book. The title is embossed on the front and back covers, and cryptically reversed to encourage you to view the other side. When you fold the pages out, the landscape looks confusing; it is only when you move to the right angle that the trees line up.

IMG_7148_e

IMG_7150_e

IMG_7139_e

 

IMG_7141_e

IMG_7144_e

IMG_7146_eIMG_7143_e

If you are in London- please come along! The show was extended for another two weeks so now runs until 27 July, Westminster Reference Library, 35 St Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP

 

I came to the realisation that the unending forest would be ever spookier if the trees mirrored each other. One minute you would think you’d know where you were going, the next you’d be passing by a world which you’d seen before, but in reverse…

Here are some shots of the printing process of these big prints. Because of the scale, I had to divide the image in four and screenprint them one  quarter at a time on the fabric bed, as the largest screen bed wasn’t large enough…

 

 

 

 

I’ve been printing these in East London Printmakers for my show in Wales that opens in 3 days time!!!


 

Went for a well deserved swim after all that work. I think I’m building up my shoulder muscles!

East London Printmakers have an annual summer show, and this is the 14th one. We decided to celebrate the Olympics as we can practically see the Olympic site from here, and this is particularly possible from the gallery which will host our show, which is located in the Olympic park.

There has been much laughter about how the word Printathon resembles the phrase “print a thong” and lots of knicker and nappy jokes have been flying around… I’m showing a piece I did in collaboration with photographer Paul Weaver, proposing that the Olympics include the sport of Flight, and how it should be judged.

With 65 artists, there are going to be a lot of inspired, ambitious, humorous and aspirational pieces on show, so if you are around in the next month, please come and check it out. The party is on the 7th June from 6-9pm, venue Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery, and you are all welcome, bring your friends!

In all the fluster of New Orleans, I forgot to mention I’m in quite a few shows in the UK and abroad in the next few weeks.

1) Kicking it off will be a group show called Spring at the Smokehouse, with 50 artists all responding to the theme of spring. That show opens on Thursday 5th April more details are here. I’ll be showing my new dancing dress animation, Shift, in a vertical format, with a dress flying above it on the wall. There will be many other friends and colleagues at this show so please come and check it out.

2) I’ve been invited to be a guest artist in the 8th British Miniprint show, which opens on the 12th April in London Print Studio. My print is a big one, to show off how cute and small the other prints are, I’m sure! Other guest artists include Guy Langevin, He Weimin and Ana Maria Pacheco. More details here.

3) On that same day, I have 3 books in the 6th International Artist’s Book Triennial, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2012, on the theme of Love. All my books are about love, I realise. More details here.

4) Next up will be a group Lino show, Linoleum: The Cutting Edge, in Hemingway art, Oxfordshire, opening on the 14th and a celebratory steam roller event on the 28th April, more details here.

LINOLEUM art show invitation

This is from the blurb: Artists from the UK, USA and Germany present works that push the boundaries of the seemingly simple linocut artform, through large-scale prints, installation and animated films. The artists are Victoria Browne, Steve Edwards, Bill Fick, Wuon-Gean Ho, Scott Minzy, Nick Morley, Carsten Nicolaus, Chris Pig, Peter Rapp and Mark Andrew Webber.

5) I’m in the Glasgow International Book Fair on the 28 and 29th April, with East London Printmakers, should be a fun event.

6) Finally, one month away, but counting down, I have a solo show in Ludlow, Material gallery, opening on the 6th May.

PS) Oh yes, just got mentioned in the Guardian on Friday, my book cover for the Tiger’s Wife was singled out as different from the rest, in a good way. Nice!

Wooo hoo, a whole month of August in the UK for the first time in 5 years. (Hmmmmmmmm, I’m not sure if it was worth it, as the sun failed to appear, we had major crazy riots on our doorstep, and all my jobs suddenly got a lot more demanding!)

What creativity happened this month was mainly in the form of making more frames (more dresses) for the animation that is so clear in my mind. I worked on 10 new prints, which must have been a print every 3 days or so. The parallel lines and repetitive marks are a self imposed language of restriction to see what will happen with a simply pared down undulating line. The whole month’s work culminated with an exhibition in Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery in East London- a huge exhibition space in an impressive olympic site style building- as part of a group show called “The Fishwick Papers” with 50 other members of East London Printmakers.

I was super lucky as the centre of the gallery space is divided with a huge steel framed pair of columns rising up from the factory floor where salmon are smoked, which provided a perfect setting for the dresses as an installation. I put one set of dresses facing outwards and another set facing the cylindrical pipes, which were so shiny they reflected the dresses back again. The dresses look like skins and much like the twisted fish that hang on strings downstairs.

These aren’t good photos- I realise I must go back and take some more that are more descriptive… Anyway, if you get the chance please go and have a look for yourself!  Here is the blurb

*******

Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery is proud to present “The FishWick Papers”, an exhibition of works by 50 members of the studio East London Printmakers, inspired by the liveliness and colour of the Hackney Wick area and its printmaking heritage. Artists have researched how Hackney Wick presents itself at this moment, the history and future of the area, the many lives of people we have never known and will never know, their trades and stories, and they have also taken inspiration from Fish Island and the Smokehouse itself.

The exhibition presents an extensive range of highly imaginative approaches to most traditional and modern printmaking techniques in a broad spectrum of scales and formats. It includes work by Dolores de Sade (British Institution Award 2011, J K Burt Award 2010, Ede and Ravenscroft Award 2010), Wuon-Gean Ho (Printmakers Council Price 2009 and Birgit Skiold Memorial Trust Prize 2010), Fabio Coruzzi (BBC production 2011 “Show me the Monet” 2011) and Umberto Giovannini (Premio Guidarello 2009).
The exhibition was inspired by William Chamberlain (Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery) and curated by Katja Rosenberg and Charmaine Watkiss (East London Printmakers).

http://smokehousegallery.org/

East London Printmakers (ELP) is a group of artist printmakers based in Hackney, managing a spacious and modern printmaking studio providing an open access facility for a wide range of processes. ELP also runs workshops for anyone who wants to learn printmaking and organise regular exhibitions and events for members.

www.eastlondonprintmakers.co.uk

The exhibition will be open Opening times: Thu – Fri 5-9pm and Sat – Sun 12-5pm and by appointment (07799 411 587).
Formans Restaurant will be open during the private view and at all times during the show.