Whewwww I can’t believe it’s been ten whole months since I last wrote a blog post. Life has changed, the world is upside down, and I’m still making little linocuts to soothe the soul, inject humour in the day, and explain to myself what I think is going on.

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The first few weeks of working alone, isolated in my flat in East London, were a mix of relief at stopping my commute, tinged with fear of the virus. I would spend hours looking at my phone, wading through pages of horror stories, like an unending river of disaster and dread. I couldn’t really do much but worry about my parents.

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The tree outside the bathroom window became a wall of blossom and I would open the window really wide, and stare out into the breeze, and pray that everyone I know would stay healthy.

Bracken House garden print

Likewise, the communal gardens were bursting into leaf, and it was just so nice to sit under the dappled shade, even though my thoughts were of death and destruction.

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Sometimes I’d make myself extremely sad by wishing hard for a hug. Then I’d think, that as no-one had seen my face for days and days in real life, that perhaps I didn’t have a face anymore, and that I was in effect just a paper bag ghost.

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My paper bag ghost would still be hungry. I’d think of my dream meal, inspired by mum’s mackerel with belly stuffed full of curry powder and onions, with blistered skin and sweet sticky rice. The sun was shining every day and I would set the table on the balcony and make myself a bowlful of raspberries with sweet vanilla ice cream.

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Somedays I didn’t speak out loud all day, and my train of thought would start to crumble, as if my sense of identity, without a listening ear, was optional.

I'm doing fine

Somedays I would start drinking at 4pm to see if it made anything better. Somedays I tried video conferencing parties with friends. It didn’t really help…

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There are undoubtable benefits to working from home. I can now attend zoom meetings while sitting on the floor of the bathroom, with no trousers on, if I want to.

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I can go for a jog in the neighbourhood and terrify the locals by infringing on their two metre zone.

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Facebook Live videos of exercise classes have become my favourite moment of the day. With all the isolation, inactivity, stress baking and comfort eating, my bottom is getting bigger, but at least it makes mum laugh.

home studio at night

Anyhow, this series is ongoing: I have many more prints that I would like to make. My tiny desk in the corner of the living room is a lot more than I would have had if I were living in rented accommodation in one room, as I did for the past 20 years. And the best thing about a handmade print (oh! actual ink on actual paper!) is that you can chop it down, scribble on the back, and post it to wonderful people, like an old-fashioned talisman.

I'm doing fine blue

PS.

I gave a talk on my print series a couple of weeks ago, and mentioned some of these prints towards the end. If you are interested, have a watch here (it’s 23 minutes long, and was a seminar hosted by the Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol.)

https://vimeo.com/413495704

 

 

 

 

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About nine months ago I started work on an international portfolio of prints on the theme of Distortion; today I finished the final touches on the 32 boxes. A total of 28 artists took part, and the prints measure 11″ square. There are some stunning results, and lots of quirky responses to the topic, which was defined as follows:

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The theme “Distortion” celebrates our subjective view of the world and calls for prints which require a unique vantage point, both physically as well as conceptually, in order to be read. This topic draws upon the tricks of perspective in Italian Renaissance ceilings and Dutch interiors, to the anamorphic work of Holbein and Escher, and 19C optical toys such as the magic mirror and praxinoscope. The act of human perception filters and alters vision though processes of synesthesia, color blindness, and hallucination. Technology both extends and distorts what we can see, through the use of infrared film and heat sensitive recording devices, X-Rays and other medical instrumentation, holograms, wide-angle lenses and prisms.

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The portfolio is in its glory here (apologies for the photographs, they are slightly dark at the top)

Edward Bateman

Edward Bateman

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Lynne Blackburn

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Stephanie Biesel

Stephanie Biesel

Stephanie Biesel

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Noah Breuer

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Erik Brunvand

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Erik Brunvand

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Neal Cox

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Nicholas Dowgwillo

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Steve Edwards

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Zac Fitchner

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Umberto Giovannini

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Jonathan Goebel

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Wuon-Gean Ho

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Hailey Hodge

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Guy Langevin

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Prue Macdougall

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Sarah Noreen

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Sarah Noreen

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Sarah Noreen

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Tatiana Potts

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Peter Rapp

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Meg Rahaim

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Jilly Roberts

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Grace Sippy

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Mariana Smith

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Mariana Smith

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Molly Smith

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Tracy Templeton

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Gini Wade

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Meiyi Wang

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James Albon

And here I am folding the boxes and filling them in the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The boxes were hand printed, cut and folded (like a fancy pizza box) individually. I am really pleased with the end result. Now I’m looking forward to meeting some of the artists in the next couple of days.

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Well, I thought it would be nice to make some prints that capture the feeling of a magical forest, much like parts of the glorious forest in Oregon that I’ve visited. For me these forests are always warm with dappled light; fronds and branches gently swaying; bark exuding a delicious resiny scent and crystals of sap that sparkle like diamonds.

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So for my upcoming show, Beyond the Moon, in Aberystwyth, I thought I’d make work that conveys the atmosphere of this unending forest. Seeing as the gallery is large, I thought I’d make some ginormous prints! Each print is 2metres by 1.5 metres, and silkscreened by hand in  four sections onto Fabriano paper. The trees fit together but the mirrored trees feel more enchanted… I’m planning to silkscreen these also onto window film and install it on the doors to the gallery space.

Last week I met Andrew McPherson, the magnetic resonator piano guy, who is truly a master of amazing sound. His device makes a normal grand piano sound like a cross between something like a piano, organ and flute, with cyclical reverberations, and notes that hum from deep darkness. He’s keen to come to the gallery and respond to the prints during the installation process. This will be fed into the various devices attached to the piano, to make a customised loop of sound. I’m really looking forward to hearing more.

Show opens next Friday 23rd November at 7.30 pm. We’ll give a talk about the work on the Thursday night. For more information please contact the curator, Neil Holland, on neh@aber.ac.uk

Will post more pictures and hopefully a video here soon!

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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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