Friday, 27 December 2013

Pictures from our Blinc 2013 performance

It's been over a month since I updated this. I've been a bit slack on the old writing front! But the past few weeks have been productive and creative so I'll try to sum them up in a few posts.

As mentioned in an earlier post, end of October took me and Alys over to Conwy to perform at Blinc Digital Arts festival. It was a great experience this year despite the torrential weather. Well done Alys for dancing in a rainstorm, which added to the atmosphere of the piece!

Alys performing in stormy conditions

I managed to get a few pictures from some friends (thank you Gwyn and Johnny). Note to self - nominate someone next time to photograph and film the show, as along with Neil I spent most of the time setting up the space and practical side of the performance and neglected the documenting side of things!

Setting up the projection / performance space - we had to anchor
the screen to the platform to stop it from blowing away!

Unfortunately we didn't manage to get a film of the performance either, but we are hoping to perform it again sometime in 2014. I am currently updating my website so I'll put up the animation on there. We will also be devising another project for Blinc 2014 and are investigating other potential platforms for a dance / animation piece!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Curious Books

This week the Curious Books exhibition, curated by Jane Millar, opened at Studio 73 in Brixton Village. I've got three books on display in amongst an eclectic library of hand-made and limited edition lovelies, including work from Okido magazine, Sophie Herxheimer and Tony Hayward.

Jane Millar outside Studio 73 (photograph by Sophie Hexheimer)

The private view is on Friday night. There'll be some poetry readings by Sophie and I think I'm going to be reading aloud a short story I wrote on the MA! Ooh-la-la. I might need a swift shot of rum to see me through. Come on down and show your support, and see some interesting and beautiful work (and provide a hip flask).

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Magical Blinc

I am currently getting together a film and images from this year's Blinc performance. Thank you to everyone who helped to make it so fantastic this year; Alys Hughes, Casi Wyn, Afal Drwg Efa, Kevin Jones, Neil Mayston, and the whole Blinc crew. It was even better than last time and we are incredibly proud of how it went. I'm still floating!

In the mean time, here is a still from this year's performance (copyright Michal Repec).

Alys and Casi performing 'Action / Reaction' (photo copyright Michal Repec)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Blinc, curiously..

Let's hurtle towards the weekend in a wheel of light and magic; here are not one, but two helpings of stuff occurring in the very near future.

First off is Blinc festival, kicking off on Friday in Conwy with the Bridge of Light, the largest laser display in the U.K.

Preview still from the performance

(I was chatting to one of the Blinc crew the other day, asking him how everything was going. He said; 'Ah, it's getting there, it's getting there...and then it's here, you know what I mean'. I couldn't have put it better.)

Alys and I will be showing our Action / Reaction performance the same evening, with live vocals from Casi Wyn (times TBC). We will be performing on Saturday as well, so if you miss it on Friday all is not lost. There will also be a display of last year's project, 'Hiraeth'. Times and locations TBC.

Next on the agenda is Curious Books, an exhibition of handmade books at Studio 73 in Brixton Village, from 4th - 10th November, with a private view on the 8th (Friday); here's the press release from curator Jane Millar....

 Printed, hand-written, folded, collaged, constructed, informative, chaotic, poetic, photographic...many artists use a book form to express themselves....come and browse a collection of works, explore this unusual art form...and enjoy a piece of cake! You will find an inventory of rat-traps, books made from fruit, book sculpture, nail tip art, culinary poetry, kids’ magazines and cloth books.  Curious Books is a selling exhibition of artists’ books, limited editions, poetry, hand-made sketchbooks, object multiples, and more...this is the place to buy that totally original and collectable Christmas present! (Prices start from £2.50) Curated by Jane Millar for Studio 73, located in Brixton Village, among the lively bars, shops and restaurants.  Studio 73 showcases local artists with rolling exhibitions of original paintings, drawings, photography and prints; and also offers bespoke picture framing. 

I'm showing three handmade books alongside treasures from a range of artists, some of them Brixton natives, some from further afield. In addition to this, as part of Studio 73's showcase in their space next door, I'll be screening some animation and exhibiting some prints, so come on down. It should be a melting pot, but without any pots or anything melting.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Blinc Artists of the Day

...that'll be us, then!

Alys Hughes and I are Blinc Festival's Artists of the Day today. It's adding to my excitement! Take a look at their website for more info...the festival takes place on the 25th-26th October 2013.

Preview still from this year's animation

We will be doing a live performance incorporating dance, projected animation and sound on the Friday and Saturday around the town of Conwy (exact locations to be confirmed).

Keep an eye on the blog as I will update with more info as it emerges....

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sensoria Festival: Now Will You Listen

Just wanted to show you a photo of Furry People being read aloud by Juliet Ellis this Sunday gone at the Lantern Theatre, Sheffield, as part of Sensoria Festival's Now Will You Listen event. That's my animation in the background! Looks like it was a great event - I'm sorry to have missed it, but hopefully there'll be a repeat performance in London soon.

Photograph by Netty Boo

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Blinc 2013

I'm collaborating with dancer Alys Hughes again for this year's Blinc Digital Arts festival, which takes place on the 25th - 26th of October. The theme this year is Action / Reaction and we are devising a dance, sound and animation piece which aims to highlight Welsh culture, language and freedom of expression.

For this project we are also enlisting the talented input of Afal Drwg Efa, Casi Wyn (TBC) and ironworks / crychddwr studios. 

We were so proud of last year's performance and felt it had the potential to go further, so being part of Blinc 2013 is a great chance for this to happen. Watch for more updates! 

Monday, 23 September 2013

A new term begins!

I'm excited to say I'll be trundling back off to Cambridge tomorrow, to run another term of the Illustration for Picture Books course at Hills Road Sixth Form College. There are ten splendid weeks in store, of drawing,  picture-making, dreaming up ideas and stories, and making books. I'm looking forward to meeting the new students and seeing what wonderful ideas they come up with!  

Flyer illustration by Sally Walker 2013

Now Will You Listen: Furry People - this Sunday!

This Sunday an eerie collection of stories will be read aloud at the Lantern Theatre in Sheffield, as part of Sensoria Festival. It looks like a fantastically spooky line-up, narrators including the likes of Richard Hawley, Reese Shearsmith and many more.

I've made an animation as a backdrop to 'Furry People', written by Michael Ward and read by Julie Ellis. It's a story about a pet shop, where the owner has a bit of a peculiar secret...and that's all I can tell you. You'll have to see it to find out!

For more information find the Facebook page here.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Nick Edward Harris - The Flood

A couple of months back I had the great pleasure of making a music video for one Nick Edward Harris, and his beautiful song 'The Flood'. Here is the finished film. It is out now and available to download as a single / video / b-side; find it, along with other treasures, on his website.

Nick Edward Harris - The Flood from Nick Edward Harris on Vimeo.

Friday, 30 August 2013

The Floating Shed

'The Floating Shed is curious. So curious that one day, because he couldn't see over his garden wall, he floated up up and away...'

Last month my friend Sara and I collaborated to make a children's installation, The Floating Shed, for Womad festival. We invented a story of a curious garden shed who decided to see what was beyond his garden, and brought it to life by building the shed, complete with cardboard windows, and asking the children at Womad festival to help us imagine everything he had seen on his travels. We got them to create cut-out silhouettes of these things and hang them in his windows.


It took a lot of dreaming, nattering, tea-drinking and practical research to work out what we wanted our shed to look like. We even visited some allotments in Brighton and were hugely inspired by some beautiful sheds we saw there.

This shed wall is made entirely from plastic water bottles...not so clear here, but they reflected beautifully in the sunlight. 

We spent weeks talking through ideas, making mini-shed mock-ups, and playing around in Sara's studio with the structure of the shed.

An initial shed doodle by Sara

Making baby sheds

We wanted our shed to be 'flat-pack', so it could be assembled, disassembled, packed away and transported as easily as possible. This took a bit of experimenting to get the shed itself roughly how we wanted it, though we both agreed that this could be treated as a bit of an experiment (albeit a safe one, as it was a public installation), and that we'd learn on site what might need tweaking in future.

After working out the structure, we devised a labelling system so that we could take it apart and put it back together again as easily as possible.

Armed with a drill, a spotlight and a good dose of stamina, we reassembled the shed on site on Thursday night, and from Friday it was all systems go. We ran the workshops as drop-ins and kept the instructions fairly specific. We really liked Womad's description of the shed in the programme, which simply said 'Be part of the interactive Floating Shed', and sounded inviting and intriguing.

It was a great success - the children loved exploring the shed, imagining what he'd seen and choosing how to display their silhouettes. They loved the hands-on experience of being able to actively contribute to the shed and wander through it (we devised a simple series of entrances so they could go inside), and some of them really seemed to engage with the storytelling aspect of the project, which was what we hoped for. If they'd done a silhouette already, we asked them to develop the story by writing a few words about the shed and how he carried on his journey or what happened on his way to Womad...some of the children practically wrote novels!

We also had a fantastic floating shed team to help us - our wonderful workshop assistants Claudia and Tais (pictured with us in the shed), Sara and Claudia's respective partners Daimien and Paul, and of course their boys Robin and Tom.

We think the shed has got further to go and more stories to tell. Who knows where he'll end up next?

Now Will You Listen!

On September 29th I've got some animation work screening at the Lantern Theatre, as part of Sensoria Festival in Sheffield. Now Will You Listen is a live performance of music, visuals and animation to accompany a collection of short stories, narrated by an array of actors and musicians, from Bat For Lashes to Michael Fielding to Gavin Friday. Click here to see an online trailer.

The story I've animated / illustrated, Furry People by Michael Ward, is about a Pet Shop where everything is not quite as it seems...

A still from the animation

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Jam / Floods published!

Hooray! The short story collection Jam, featuring my short story Floods, is out now, and for sale on amazon...please read and / or share...and enjoy!

Jam is described by Mardibooks as 'An anthology of modern short fiction recounting the quirkiness of the everyday'. It features 16 stories from a range of writers; you can read full bios / synopses here.

They've also released an anthology called Toast; 'An anthology of contemporary shorts reflecting the malaise of the modern psyche'.

Exciting stuff all round. I can't stop saying 'hooray' - I'll have to find a new word to celebrate. Or maybe I'll invent one.

The picture is a kind of'll have to read to find out!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Winning Flood!

A couple of months ago I entered my short story 'Floods' into a competition set by the brilliant Mardi Books, (through the also brilliant IdeasTap).

I just found out that it's a winner!

I wrote 'Floods' as part of my MA project; it's about a child who overfills the bath at home, then blames herself for a major flood in her Granddad's town. 

Here are some of the illustrations, also see the August 2012 post for more detail. 

It will published as part of a collection called 'Jam', which will be available to buy as an e-book on Amazon in August. Watch this space for more info as it arises in the next month or so.

Thank you to both Mardi Books and Ideas Tap! I'm so excited by this! 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Hills and Stomping

It's been another busy month so I haven't updated this for a while, I'm sorry! I'm currently in Wales getting a much needed injection of fresh air. I've been plotting an exciting workshop scheme for WOMAD festival with my friend Sara (more on that in the coming weeks...), editing the student films for the RCA in Conwy, creating a proper new workspace at home, and finishing the logo design for Stomping Ground theatre company.

I'm also starting work on an animated music video for Nick E Harris, and have been busy gathering ideas, so there'll be more on that soon...

Last month saw the end of my second term teaching the Illustration for Picture Books course at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge. We weren't able to hold the 10th and final session at the college, so one of the students on the course very kindly offered the use of her studio at home. We held a mini-exhibition, with the students displaying their work and discussing it. 

Setting up the work in Rosina's studio

To make it a bit more involving, students were asked to choose a few key words in response to the pieces which they felt particularly struck a chord. These were written on post-its and stuck next to the artworks. They were asked to avoid certain 'non' words...

Some of the students' work...

Anna Shelton
Penny Speirs

Lily Cobbold

Rosina Dorelli

Denis Marchant

Rosina Dorelli

Sally Walker

After a two week break this was a good opportunity for everyone to share their ideas, discuss what they wanted to go on to do and to give each other some constructive feedback.

I've enjoyed running this course and working with these students so much. Unfortunately the course is not going ahead for the Summer term, however, I'll be running a summer school at the college from the 22nd- 25th of July. It'll be a slightly more intense version of the 10-week course. Details on how to enrol can be found here.