Last weekend I was invited to speak about my work as part of the November meeting of the South West Quilters. The audience was a lovely group of about 200 ladies at the fantastic conference centre at Exeter Racecourse. I spoke about my transition from textiles to plastic, encompassing a (very brief) history of the use of found materials in Art, starting with Picasso. Apart from receiving a very warm welcome, I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful quilts shown by the ladies in their ‘Show and Tell’ slot – such talent!
At the moment, I am working on 2 commissions, a portrait of Adele (the singer) for a lady in Australia and portrait of Frida Kahlo for a lady in the USA. The Frida is an interesting challenge – the client wants it to be the same as the first one I made – but this is so difficult! I can’t make 2 pieces exactly the same as I can’t find exactly the same materials. Each work is unique – and that is the beauty of what I do. All I can offer is to try to make it as good as the first, if not better! (Image to follow soon)
I’m off to Bath this week to take my Beethoven Diptych, Composer Decomposed to display in a piano shop there – not to sell – I’d just like him to be seen in a musical setting! If anyone is in the area , it will be at The Piano Shop, 1 & 2 Canton Place, London Road, Bath BA1 6AA from Friday 9th December.
Last week I attended the Private View of the Ffound exhibition at the Woolff Gallery in London where I have 4 works on display. The exhibition, which runs until October 28th, comprises work by 11 artists, all working in different ways with found materials.
At the Private View with Cornelia Altemuller
Sofa made from half a Mini, by George Ioannou
My Tiger and Composer Decomposed works can just be seen on the back wall
Jon by Zac Freeman, a portrait artist from USA whose work I have long admired and was delighted to see ‘in the flesh’
Joanne Tinker – Take a Seat (detail) , luxury wine tops
Jud Turner – Dandelion and Hawkbit, Welded Metal Assemblage
Matt Kemp – Deconstructed Vespa
Fox TV has asked me to write something for their social media about the source of materials used for the Last Man on Earth portrait. I found it a very interesting exercise to analyse the components of the work – something I’d not done before. So I thought I’d share the result here…
- For this project, I created a double portrait of Phil and Carol and a separate square of yellow materials to be cloned for extending the background. I estimate that there are 7550 items in the portrait and a further 3600 items in the yellow square
- I usually use a variety of found materials in my work, including plastic toys and small household items. For this work, the brief was to use only ‘bling’ and decorative items such as the character Carol would use for her bedazzling. This was quite a hard remit for me and made finding materials more difficult.
- I try to use mostly recycled materials, usually from car boot sales or from donations from friends and neighbours
- Charity shops have become quite expensive in the UK but with a tight deadline and a shortage of yellow materials, I searched many previously un-visited charity shops – with Coldplay’s song “Yellow” going around and around in my head!! Of course, now I no longer need it, I am seeing yellow things everywhere!
- While in discussion about the project, I spent a long weekend with my sister-in-law Cornelia, in Germany. She is a mosaic artist and the cream coloured ceramic triangles in the yellow background came from her studio – tiles originally from Turkey
- Also while in Germany, Cornelia and I visited a flea-market for materials for her work and mine. I found a bunch of 6 small wooden tulips – the green leaves are on Carol’s dress and 5 of the flower heads are in the portrait – yellow, blue, green, white and red. The only colour I couldn’t use was orange.
- In the same flea-market I found some flat wooden blue and white fish, shells and starfish – these make up the blue flower petals on Carol’s dress, edged with vintage diamante. The paler blue flowers are individual petals from a bunch of silk hydrangeas from a charity shop.
- Carol’s hair is made from leather suede thonging, jewellery chains, plastic and wooden beads. There are some dark brown glitter ‘criss-cross’ decorations there too, sent to me amongst antique buttons by a lady in USA who had seen my work on the internet!
- Carol and Phil’s teeth are cut from plant pot markers – they are recycled so I had to wash them thoroughly first
- There are many shells used throughout the work – very useful for flesh tones
Congratulations to my talented sister-in-law, mosaicist Cornelia Altemuller whose work Cinderella has just won the People’s Choice award in an exhibition at Finissage, Germany.
Cornelia exhibits in the Red Propeller gallery, Kingsbridge and her work can be seen on her website http://steinereien.com
Cornelia with her prize-winning work, Cinderella
On Saturday, I visited Janec van Veen’s exhibition in Teignmouth as part of Devon Open Studios. I urge anyone in the vicinity to visit if they can – a rare opportunity to see something unique and exciting in Devon. Janec’s ‘wondrous chimeric creatures’ are sometimes macabre, sometimes playful and charming, but always totally fascinating.
Janec’s work entitled Spiritus Mundi has just won this year’s artist’s prize of £500 in Teignmouth T.R.A.I.L.
With a nod to Damien Hirst, his jewel encrusted skull reveals a pulsating moth beneath a heart-shaped aperture
The Manifest Suffering in the World is Inconsistent with the existence of an Omnipotent, benevolent God
Below, Janec’s most recent work, Light Bearer (Athene Prometheus)
Delicate and beautiful, the creature holds a tiny light within a real preserved dandelion clock
Janec with his father, Lukas
Catch Janec’s show on Sept 16, 17, 18 and 23, 24, 25 at Mere Haven, 28 Dawlish Street, Teignmouth, TQ14 8TB 01626 779232
Yesterday I received the People’s Choice Award for King of the Beasts from Thelma Hulbert Open. Many thanks to everyone who voted for me!
I’m making a new Great Wave (after Hokusai) for the ‘Contemporary Classics Two’ exhibition to be held at Words and Pictures gallery in Teignmouth in November.
This will be a collaboration with Anna Grayson who makes photographic re-creations of famous works of art, often using herself and her husband Des as models. (Very funny!)
I will be showing some originals, along with prints, cards and calendars. I’m having great fun creating this Great Wave, using lots of references to impending doom. This work might be kept for my family as I sold the first very reluctantly – so I’ve given myself license to include anything for my own amusement!
Here are 3 ‘taster’ images of work in progress – all excess glue will be removed at the end…
Below – Jason Noble, owner of Words and Pictures with Anna Grayson at the gallery after our planning meeting