One day, when they’ve made a teletransporter that doesn’t scramble you into a million pieces when you get reassembled, I’ll be able to invite everyone to visit my show, even if they live a million miles away… In the meantime, here’s some photos and a video. The weird cracking noise on the video is my knee- too much jumping around on concrete I think! I absolutely love the sound of the piano which transformed the space into a performance venue and changed the viewing of the work into a piece of drama.



 

Click on this picture below to view a video we made of the show, with the piano playing on its own.

And here’s a picture of me looking pleased!

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In Ariosto’s epic poem “Orlando Furioso” from 1516, the moon is portrayed as a place where all things wasted on earth are kept and treasured: emotions and unreclaimable objects such as misspent time and carelessly managed wealth, unanswered prayers, broken promises, and unfulfilled desires and intentions.

From 23rd November to 8th February, I’ll be having a solo show of prints and animations in the Aberystwyth School of Art Gallery called Beyond the Moon. In this show, the way to the moon is paved by sleeping figures, and the disjuncture signified by a walk through a forest of endlessly repeating trees. This moon is full of ghostly presences, dream-like narratives and unclassifiable emotions.

Three animations: Lucid MaskShift and Costanza will be playing; and on the walls the masks will float and empty dresses will dance. To add to the atmosphere there will be a sound installation by Andrew McPherson involving electromagnets acting on the grand piano which is in the centre of the gallery. His proposed Magnetic Resonator Piano (MRP) creates notes that evolve continuously in time, including tones with indefinite sustain, crescendos from silence, pitch bends, harmonics and new timbres. For this show, the MRP will play continuously without a pianist, generating ever-shifting harmonies and timbres.

The opening party is the 23rd November, and I shall try to schedule a closing event too, sometime in late January. I know it is very far away, but it will be worth a visit!

 

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My solo show is up in Material Gallery, and looks really nice! This is a cosy shop in a cute market town called Ludlow, in the heart of Shropshire, that is gaining a well-deserved reputation for fantastic books and magazines on design, as well as printed works and design led gifts.

I am showing prints, books and animations from the past few years, and in this space the different series of works seem to talk to each other…

Three Sleeper prints from 2009 hang in the main room, next to my first lithograph, Tiger Twins; both series depict dream-like interactions between sleeping girls and fictional beasts.

The Tiger Twins print was made in Aberystwyth School of Art with Tamarind Master Printer Paul Croft, and subsequently metamorphosed into the inspiration for my series of linocuts called Devour, one of which became the cover of last year’s Orange fiction prize winner,”The Tiger’s Wife.” So it seemed appropriate to order in a few copies of The Tiger’s Wife and put my autotgraph inside!

The Tiger books sit next to a wall full of fish. These prints I made in 2002 when I was fresh back from Japan and working in Kent close to a koi carp farm. I gave all of these fish completely fanciful names, like Fatso Bubbles, Dragon Baby and Record Groove, and it was my first project in a print studio in the UK.

Tucked into the bookshelf of Tigers we hid a mini projector and made a tiny screen at eye level to show my animations. This was a good solution to finding a dark spot in the shop for a movie screen without compromising the lighting elsewhere.  Shift, Costanza, Lucid Mask,and Time Slice films play on a continuous loop. You can view all of these on youtube if you click on the links on each of their names.

In the show, there are three types of mask print: the Mask prints from 2008 in glowing silkscreened colours; the Lucid Mask animation from 2010, and Fractured Masks from my residency in Liverpool’s Bluecoat in the same year. I wanted to show prints which have not been shown much since I made them.

The work from past two years on ghostly clothing takes up a good portion of the back of the shop. There are Dancing Dresses and pieces from the Shadow Dance series, which depicted clothing from Native American archives in the late 19C.

Next to these, the latest pages from the book Swallow are pinned to the wall.

Talking of books, underneath the Dancing Dress prints are a selection of 14 of my smaller hand printed and laser copied books including many flip books and books with hidden pages and unusual folds.

The whole show has more than 40 prints, and runs until the 27th May. 131 Corve Street, Ludlow. Catch it if you can!

 

The SGCI conference in New Orleans was a right bonanza.

Imagine over 1500 printmakers all partying in a town famous for its hedonism, fried food and jazz. Seriously, there are naked lap-dancers in the bars in the middle of the day!

It was amazing. The town is set on the banks of the Mississippi, a steamy grey thing.

Buildings are graceful and crumbling, and palm trees and huge spreading live oaks line the avenues, which still retain their French names.

Highlights for me were numerous. Willie Cole opened the conference with a keynote speech about his artistic practice which involves a method of mark making with a hot iron which he calls scorching, which in effect is a type of printed mark. His work was beautiful and playful, taking photographs of irons and making them into mask like faces, or using the ironed marks to make huge figure composites.

There was a great exhibition of prints by David Dreisbach, who was awarded the printmaker emeritus prize by the Southern Graphics council this year, in the Contemporary Arts Center.

I marveled at his narrative and compositional strength, all while tucking into perhaps the most delicious spread of food ever seen at a private view before. Appreciating art must be hungry work, seeing how much they’d laid out.

There were inspiring, ambitious and fantastic demonstrations especially the rubber stamp one by Sukha Worob who showed us how he cuts into foam board with a router set to 1/4″ depth and then fills the mould with a solution of silicone rubber composite called “Mold Max”

and some great silkscreen prints printed by Ernest Milsted with wallpaper paste and water soluble dyes in place of the traditional acrylics and medium, producing lovely prints all at a fraction of the cost.

There were some very impressive satellite events. I particularly liked Dirk Hagen’s broadside text speak haikus which he’d printed on letterpress and cardboard.

A lovely show of prints about New Orleans and the floods in the hippily named Healing Centre.

A nice set of prints in various portfolios were displayed in the hotel conference venue on grey pinboards and rotated daily; some of these were delicate and beautiful.

Also Midwest Pressed had a great show of silkscreen monoprints which were installed as a huge panel of floating heads of famous figures, skulls or Chewbacca.

This is my friend Brian Lane, from Seattle, who looks  a bit like Chewie.

Most notable for me was the Carnival of Ink set in an old ironworks factory to the east of the main town. This was a riot of printmaking activity.

Drive-by-press  printed T-shirts with skateboards (just inked up and jammed through the press with a foam blanket).

The main event was run by Wolfbat Press, and involved hundreds of artists who spent the week of the conference decorating box cars with collaged prints which were paraded them through the town on St Patrick’s day before setting them on fire.

Several studios ran various fun fair style games such as “Wrassle a printmaker and win a print for a dollar” which had me in fits of laughter.

I presented a paper on movement in print in the International panel which got some good feedback, if you would like to read the article then please go this page here,

then showed the animations Shift and Lucid Mask, along with a selection of prints at the open portfolio session,

which was a great time to meet other printmakers whose work I admire

Like Ben Moreau’s gorgeous etchings

Some print genius Marcus Benavides

Michael Barnes

Mark Bovey

And oh so many more…!

The beginning of January was the last chance to see the Big Ass Linocut show in London: where megalomaniac linocut makers gathered at the High Roller Society to show off their huge linocut skills. My prints Shadow Dance Together and Shadow Dance Apart were shown there, along with the animation Lucid Mask.

The show is going to evolve and expand when it moves to its next location, Hemingway Art in Oxfordshire in April this year.

Next up, I’m excited to be involved in the 6th International Artist Book Triennial which opens in Venice on the 3rd February. The theme this year is Love, and three of my books have been selected: Devour (the girl who loves and devours a beast); Embrace (the book where the man and the woman are divided by the folds of the book so that they may not be viewed at the same time together); and Bamboo Dream (where a couple are dreaming of each other on accordion folded sheets that interleave as the book folds together).

For more information please see their website here

Finally, it is full speed ahead for making the final frames for the animation. Actually I started animating the dress, then realised I needed more in between frames, so here I am back in the studio printing away still.

I’m venturing back up north again on the 8th February as a guest of the University of Lancashire Talking Prints program. I’ll be talking about this latest work … Should be interesting, though I’ve not booked to stay long as I had such a cold time in Yorkshire last year…

I think it was over a year and a half ago when we first went to the Freud Museum in NW London to discuss having a show in this beautiful house. Certainly, the theme of dreams resonated strongly with me, as I was working on the sleeper prints at the time, and was completely obsessed with sleep and sleep movements as I think I must have been sleep deprived!

Last year: in 2010, I made a print a week for the first 29 weeks, and these prints finally became the animation Lucid Mask which has been installed in the museum on the first floor landing. The animation is playing on a digital frame which is located underneath a forbidding portrait of Sigmund himself, on an antique desk with a wooden stool where you can sit and plug into the music and watch the piece.

I’m very pleased to be part of this show of work by East London Printmakers, as there are many strong and beautiful works of art that fit seamlessly into the fabric of the building. My favourite pieces include Katherine Jones’ sculptural mobile with silhouetted and abstract houses, dresses and organic shapes on the landing, and Liz Collini’s box of crumpled dreams, silvery printed text on fine paper which make billowing semi translucent shapes in a perspex case, located in the lounge with the famous couch. Katy Goutefangea made a beautiful series of books from prints off embroidered pillowcases, each displaying a line from a related dream or nightmare, and printed with ghostly grey inks on crisp tissue. Marta Claret painted over various pages of a text of Freud’s with adorably sweet depictions of savage wolf and child imagery, providing a comical diversion from the solidity and seriousness of the half obliterated words.

I am really proud of how the work in the show uses  printmaking as a vehicle  for eloquent and expressive ideas, jumping out of the two dimensional illustration in many instances where appropriate, rather than being slave to the technique and processes of the medium.

For more information, please see the Freud Museum’s website http://www.freud.org.uk/exhibitions/74033/dreams/

It’s on until 10th April 2011.

What a busy month… I started off teaching Japanese woodblock in a beautiful castle of Montefiore conca which is in Rimini in eastern Italy.

The landscape was stunning and the students extremely hardworking and enthusiastic.

Then I flew out to the US to visit friends, sit in the sunshine and be a printmaking spod with happy printmakers from all over the north west coast. I started out in Seattle with Brian Lane’s studio Print Zero which is located in Seattle.

It is a friendly welcoming place with etching silkscreen and photography facilities. I sat and made a linocut about grafitti when I was there, and was fortunate to have my photo taken by Dan Carillo who is doing a beautiful series of photos with a large format camera onto glass plates. Have a look at his beautiful photos using wet plate collodion including this amazing one of me where I look like a freckled gypsy from the 19C

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaporstew/4905761897/

http://www.daniel-carrillo.com/blog/?p=290

A couple of weeks later I went up to Vancouver BC where I gave a talk and the first screening of Lucid Mask, the animation, in a lovely gallery called Art Beatus.

The gallery was warm and welcoming and I had some good feedback on the piece as well as some much appreciated sales.

Then I was fortunate to spend a week in Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts in eastern Oregon working on developing a new series of prints.The landscape was stunning, golden yellows and lilac greys. On the way to the studio every day there were hawks whirling and floating above the fields and the light was fantastic.

I got really interested in the native american clothing as there were a few workshops going on that week focussing on beadwork of traditional buckskin dresses and horse regalia. It was a fun creative time making new work and experimenting with prints after finishing the animation.

In a week of intense printing I made 8 new prints. My favourite new press was the Ray Trales Press and my favourite inks were left overs from Wendy Red Star’s recent print project with Crow’s Shadow. I’m calling this the Shadow Dance series, but have yet to work out whether there are more to be made.

After then, I went straight from the desert to the sea and taught a class in woodblock in the beautiful Sitka Center for Arts and Ecology. The view of the Salmon river estuary as it meets the Pacific is such a glorious sight. This is from the Cascade head nature trail, about 45 minutes walk uphill from the Sitka Center itself.

Once again I had a class full of enthusiastic and talented students who really got into the process. Here are some of the prints that they made.

So all in all a very adventurous August, I am grateful to all those welcoming friends who helped me print along the way.