Events and Exhibitions

Plymouth Art Weekender Day 2, Part 3!

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For the last part of Saturday I went to Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard.  We started upstairs at Emerge which is “a communal workspace for artists and creative businesses.”  I looked at Esin Forster’s ocean inspired clay pieces and paintings, and I really liked her character design and marker work.  I looked through one of her sketchbooks and found comic style drawings of adventurous characters and they were full of energy.  I met Gabriella Van Der Stelt who was working on vivid and warm feeling acrylic paintings of fruit in bowls and buildings.  Gabriella was very friendly and I looked her up online afterwards, she also does manga and videogame influenced painting and drawing.  I really liked the open space of Emerge studios and can imagine how peaceful it must be to have an area like that to work in.

We went into Lisa Stokes‘ studio and talked to her daughter.  Lisa paints large oil paintings which are dark and ominous.  Along the corridor, Mary Hick does linocut printing of animals and insects.  Her work is intricate and she patiently carves out every blade of grass and hair.  Sarah Smalldon (instagram)and Shayne House share a studio where she works on her illustration work and he works on his photography.  Sarah showed us her brightly coloured and cheery pictures of houses and buildings, and her hand-decorated plates and furniture.  She primes the surface and then draws on them with Uni Posca pens.  I am going to try this on some of my own things and for cosplay.  Shayne has been working with pin prick photography and talked us through the process.  He takes photos and vintage postcards and pricks them with an awl to highlight certain parts, then places the photo on a lightbox and photographs them again.  He said he has been inspired by Amy Friend.  Pin prick photography gives a really beautiful effect and I recommend you visit his site and see his work, you can also read the backs of the vintage postcards he has collected to work on.  I also met Stella in their studio who is a young artist with similar tastes to me, and who I would like to meet again and maybe collaborate with.

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Items I collected on my visit, showing (clockwise from top left): Ocean Studios flyer; oil paintings by Lisa Stokes; mixed media on canvas by Teresa Pemberton; wire sculpture by Nikki Taylor; business cards from Martyn Cross, Annette Daly and Melanie Cassidy; jewellery by Rachel Darbourne; glass and concrete sculpture by Matt Tomas; and linocut print by Mary Hick.

There are so many other artists at Ocean Studios and many of them were happy to talk to us.  Matt Tomas works on contemporary sculpture, mixing concrete and glass.  He showed us the moulds he uses to create glass spikes.  Rachel Darbourne makes jewellery from colourful plastic sheets, similar to that used in plastic bags.  She folds and bends lots of tiny pieces to make shapes that look like carnations or coral, or Chinese dragon costumes.  She also makes art from dismantling teddy bears!   Teresa Pemberton is a mixed media artist whose work is inspired by Devon and Cornwall.  We looked at her canvases which included oil paints, wire, bits of metal and other found objects.  We didn’t meet her unfortunately but the two ladies in her studio were very welcoming, and her artwork has a sense of being welcoming and natural.

The last studio on the top floor we went to belonged to Martyn Cross.  Martyn works with unusual materials in experimental ways, and he has ironed plastic bags and shaped them into the shape of  a hat and a shoe.  He collects old knitting patterns, cuts parts of them away and rearranges them to create strange images.  I really liked his simple character drawings that were framed at the side of the studio.  Downstairs  Annette Daly and Melanie Cassidy share a glasswork studio where they make jewellery and decorations.  We quickly looked into a couple of other studios and glimpsed some acrylic paintings we liked by Mike Hanny, but the Studios were closing and so it was time to leave.  Looking online afterwards I found out that the paintings I liked are part of a series called ‘The Architects Glittering Plan’, and involve lots of patterned coloured ‘worms’ on a black background.  I would love a poster of one of these on my wall.

 

Outside me and my brother took part in a ‘sketch-a-thon’ and spoke to Nikki Taylor about her wire mesh sculptures.  Nikki uses sketches, photos and exact measurements to create life-size sculptures of human bodies in motion.  There was so much more I didn’t have time to see in the few hours I was there, as Ocean Studios is filled with all sorts of artists and craftspeople.  The Royal William Yard is a very peaceful place to be and I’d like to spend more time there.

In my next post I will write about the Union Street Party, the exhibitions at Devonport Guildhall, and the fine art exhibition also at Royal William Yard.

Links to previous posts on this years Weekender:

Day 1

Day 2, Part 1

Day 2, Part 2

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Events and Exhibitions

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 Day 2, Part 2

Click here for my post on Weekender Day 1

Click here for my post on Weekender Day 2, Part 1

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The menu at Prime Cafe Bar

After a quick look around PCA we went to Prime Cafe Bar to see the Nomads exhibition  by Patrick Strode and Viktor Toth.  Patrick’s surreal illustrations felt lonely and I like how he uses colour.  In his comic page he mixed pinky-purple-orange watercolours for the background, in his other pictures on display he used just one colour for the background or made two spots of light, but everything else he left untouched.  I’d like to try this in my own drawings because his work is really striking.  I loved Viktor’s illustration of a woman in a dress wearing a headdress which looked like it was done with ballpen.  His pictures are dark and dramatic and seemed like they might be concept art for video games.  He also uses colour in confined areas, surrounded by shades of grey and black.

I had Rose Lemonade which tasted a bit like turkish delight, and a slice of banana toffee cake which was soft, squishy and delicious.  My mum had an iced mocha in a pretty glass and she says it is the best iced coffee she has had all year.  Prime Cafe Bar is a really nice space, it is comfy and there are shelves of books and games you can read and play.  We looked at a book about Japan and a Far Side book of cartoons.

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A photo showing the texture of Rebecca Williams Altschmerz (work in progress)

 

We moved on to the Fine Art Building of PCA to the exhibition Nothing Bad Will Happen.  We were greeted by Bethany Smiles who was showing her acrylic painting set Icons.  The objects on display were really diverse but seemed very personal to the artists.  For example,  Angela Hilton gathers discarded personal materials for her work, and I’ve Measured Out My Life In Coffee Spoons is a collection of 2 years worth of her own disposable contact lenses, stacked and hung from the ceiling on a piece of invisible thread.  My favourite pieces here were two acrylic paintings (one is a work in progress) by Rebecca Williams which were so filled with texture I wanted to stroke the canvas.  I also really liked Steve Brown’s political posters which I stopped at for a long time to try and examine every detail, and Sam Turner’s installation Form Of A Cyclical Construct which uses found containers and zip ties and made me think of a huge plastic dragon.

It was time for us to travel across town to Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard, and I will write about that in Part 3..

Events and Exhibitions

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 Day 2, Part 1

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Chrissy Vale’s character designs at Masters 2016 (Plymouth College Of Art) – chrissyvale.co.uk

This morning I went to my second week of NA&DSC and we went on a trip to see the exhibitions at the Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth University.

First we visited the Masters 2016 room and it was full of intriguing work.  The highlights for me as a young artist interested in illustration were Chrissy Vale’s colourful comic characters which have a clean and simple style and Ashley Turner’s Onnen Design prints of animals and plants in pen, pencil, watercolour and gouache.  I also liked Tim Gundry’s drone photography photos, which give an unusual view on ordinary buildings so that they look like they came out of a videogame.

Before we went to Plymouth University, we stopped by PCA’s This Is Now exhibition which had retro TVs showing videos from the 1980’s.  Some of them were catchy music videos which I really enjoyed.

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Clare Thornton’s sculptures at Edge Of Collapse (Plymouth University) – clarethornton.com

Our group then headed to the University’s Peninsula Gallery which had an exhibit called Searching for Genius by Douglas Gordon.  Most of the art was quite creepy, especially the photographs of people with the eyes and mouths burnt away.  Upstairs there was another exhibit called Edge of Collapse which featured art by Clare Thornton, Victoria Walters (her page was unfortunately offline when I checked) and Jamie House, who was my film tutor for my art group last year.  Victoria was there when we visited so she talked to us about the different pieces and explained how her sculpture was inspired by ground swells in the ocean.  Clare’s work only used only a few different colours in clay and leather but they looked beautiful.  My favourite piece of hers was made using jelly moulds!  Jamie’s piece was made using an electrical drawing machine, and the result was a unique pattern scorched into paper.

We went back to the pre-degree centre where I met up with my mum and the two of us headed straight back out to more Weekender events, which I will cover in my next post as I have seen so much today I can’t fit it all in here!

If you haven’t read it yet, here is my post on Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 Day 1.

Events and Exhibitions

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 Day 1

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This weekend is Plymouth Art Weekender, an annual event lasting three days and celebrating visual arts in Plymouth.

 

This afternoon I started by meeting some friends in the Radiant Gallery’s exhibition called Dog Show.  The first thing we saw when we entered the gallery were three enormous dog sculptures.  Snoopy dog is a scaled-up model of a Fisher Price toy from the 1960’s by Liam Ainscough.  I had never seen the toy before but it is a cute design and has a fun springy tail.  The other two sculptures were made from paper mache and had wheels on the bottoms and leads attached around their necks so that visitors can take them for walks around the gallery.

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We walked to the back of the room and found a display of bowls holding dog biscuits.  This section was an interesting way of gathering information about visitors, as we had to answer the questions on the wall by putting a biscuit into one of the bowls.  We had to work out how old we were in dog years, and I found out that 1 dog year is worth 7 human years.

There was a dressing up corner containing a coat rack of costumes and creepy dog masks.  I dressed up in different outfits and posed to have my pictures taken.  It was really funny coming up with bizarre combinations and my favourite was a shiny gold jacket, a pug mask and a top hat.  I looked at the photos by Emma Saffy Wilson of people with their dogs or groups of friends playing with costumes, and it felt good to see the happy relationships in them.

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We stayed at Rumpus Cosy afterwards and I had a strawberry and vanilla cordial fizz and a slice of blueberry cake.  The cafe is pretty and the cake was tasty.  If you would like to visit yourself, Dog Show will be at the Radiant Gallery until the 30th of September.

We moved on to the Barbican and stopped at 40RTY5IVE Southside, a shop which sells lots of different things by local designer-makers.  We saw two of Piers Edsall’s Krakens and pottery by Christina Peters.  I really liked some of the prints that I saw here by Jan Brewerton (twitter) which have a unique style.  We went into Only Originals and it was filled with tons and tons of Sue Wills’s paintings, some still in progress.  I spoke to her daughter Christie Wills (instagram) who is an illustrator studying at Plymouth University and who had some of her own work on display.  Her artwork is inspired by animals and uses unusual techniques.  She made one print using an extremely carefully cut out paper elephant, and she has dripped and layered watercolours to make colourful paintings.

Lastly we went to Barbican New Street Artists.  Their studio is on the top floor of the building up lots of steep winding stairs.  Here we talked to Glyn White who does extremely personal paintings, some with shocking stories behind them.  The painting of a shore he was working on was inspired by an accident he had where he broke his foot and wasn’t able to go surfing for many months.  Glyn is really friendly and I recommend a visit to his studio to hear his stories.  I also looked at paintings of pubs by another artist in the studio, Dave Crocker, and he told us about his plein air painting at weddings.

I had a good day and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

College Work, Events and Exhibitions

Young Arts Club at Plymouth College of Art

From 2015-2016 I was a member of the Saturday Young Arts Club at the Plymouth College of Art.  The course was 25 weeks long, split into five chunks with a different subject each time.  My student ambassador was metalsmith Luke Axworthy who has a studio at Flameworks.

The first section was Fashion with Sharon Morgan, fashion tutor and milliner (twitter).  The students made patterned fabric using screen printing ink freehand on cotton, and I chose to do a zig zag design.  I used a sewing machine to create a pencil case and a phone case with my colourful fabric.

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Cases made from zig zag fabric by midnakit

Sharon also asked us to come up with fashion label ideas.  I used KitBIT because at the time it was my username for videogames.  I took it further by actually designing items for the label in my sketchbook.

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KitBIT designs

The designs I created were videogame influenced because I enjoy gaming but I can rarely find clothing and accessories to express that.

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More KitBIT Designs

The next section was Animation with Jamie House.  We watched the shorts Dots by Norman McLaren and Black Dots by Luana Veloso.  We used DSLR cameras on tripods to take photos of our own drawings as we added to them.  Our next project was to draw shapes and objects then cut them out and make an animation by rearranging them on a background.  I chose to use coloured dots and I made them interact and glide around.  Then we moved on to working in teams, and I worked with a few of the other students who I had made friends with.  We made an animation using the same technique as our last project, but instead of on a paper background we were allowed to animate with blue tack on a wall.  In our animation we had Homer Simpson open his mouth and eat doughnuts flying towards him. He then closed his mouth again and because he ate so many he blew up!  Part of our project was to use a person, so we talked about which one of our group would wipe the doughnut remains off the wall, pull a disgusted face and walk away (I was nominated..) After we finished animating we used iMovie to add music.

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Finally, for our last project all of my team starred in the animation.  It was about a girl who travelled through time using a ‘Chairlorean’ (Flux Capacitor included) and had to run away from freaky future people.  She manages to get back to the Chairlorean and ended up getting stuck in the past. For the futuristic people we just wore our clothes oddly and to show the time travelling girl was in the past I drew an old newspaper as a prop.  Again, we edited on titles and music after.  I’m not sure where my films from this part of the course are unfortunately but if I find them I will try and upload them.

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Plaster sculpture and wire sculpture

The third section of the course was Experimental Drawing, Printmaking and Sculpture with Janine Rook.  This section was very interesting because I tried out some new techniques for the first time and really enjoyed them.  We drew on pieces of different kinds of paper and stuck them onto a large sheet of thick paper in a collage, made sculptures by twisting long wires, and created odd and slightly creepy sculptures by taking three plaster moulds of parts of our hands then sticking them together with more plaster, using glue and paper to decorate them.

 

The fourth section of the course was Graphic Design with Terry Maughan.  We entered a competition to come up with t-shirt designs for The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.  The winning designs would be printed and put on sale to raise money for the Community Seagrass Initiative (CSI) which helps preserve seagrass which is the seahorses habitat.  We were advised to research surf fashion and tattoos because they have a popular and contemporary style.  I did that and I also researched seahorses and seagrass.

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My hat with a fabric flower and a feather

Finally, for the last section of the Saturday Arts Club course, we did fashion again with Sharon Morgan and this time we made hats. We started by soaking bamboo millinery net in water then moulding it into the shape we wanted on a hatblock.  We had to pin the corners down, and I used glue to bond three layers of net together for strength, then left it to set.  Next I trimmed the sides to create a semi-spherical shape then stitched on a piece of elastic to hold the hat on a head.  I cut out pieces of fabric and layered them to make a flower and sewed them to the hat with beads in the centre.  I arranged a piece of floral lace around the hat edge and glued it on and added a feather.  I used black net and chose different patterned fabrics in shades that matched with the feather.

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My little sister looking fabulous in my hat!

Our hats were displayed at the Graduate Show at the College in the Young Arts Club room.  It was the first time I had my work displayed at an exhibition and it felt amazing.  I visited the room twice on different days and I was impressed by all the other young people’s work.  There were some great mural designs on large sheets of paper and I also really liked a section of printed tote bags.  We were all given a Certificate for having attended for the year.

Over the summer I thought a lot about the course and I wanted to join in again this year 2016-2017.  I found out about a scheme called the National Art and Design Saturday Club with only twenty places locally for 14-16 year olds who “demonstrate commitment and passion for art and design”.  I applied and I had to have a reference and fill in a personal statement, which I had never done before and so I was very nervous about it.

I am really pleased to say that I got a place in NA&DSC and I had my first session last week!  First we looked around the new Pre-degree center of the Plymouth College of Art, then we met our tutor and drew self-portraits from pictures and mirrors.  I used a mirror because I felt it was more challenging for me.  I have tried to draw realistic self-portraits in the past but didn’t really like doing it, but this time it was more enjoyable because I had more support and I was working in a room with other artists.  I am really looking forward to next week’s session!

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Self-Portrait by midnakit, September 2016

 

 

Personal Work

Comic strips and my zine

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Character sketches of myself and my brother.

I have been coming up with ideas for comics recently.  The first one is a fan comic about Monster Hunter and features me and my brother.  The sketch above are characters based on us with neutral faces.  I’m going to draw them from different angles with different expressions this week.

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Monster Hunter fan comic ideas.

This is a page of my initial idea.  I like to read manga (One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, Monster Hunter Flash Hunter, Gon, Fairy Tail..) and comics and comic strips like Peanuts, Garfield, Bone, and Calvin and Hobbes.  I started writing my own comic strips a few years ago.

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Journey fan comic sketch.

A lot of my comics are based on video games I like.  This one is based on Journey which I played last week (free via Playstation Plus!).

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Back in 2014 me and my brother created the first issue of our zine MACS (Magazine of Awesome Cool Stuff..)

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The Misadventures of Link by midnakit (KitBIT), 2014

The zine included several of my comic strips at the time including ‘The Misadventures of Link’ which followed Link from the Zelda games.

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More from The Misadventures of Link by midnakit (KitBIT), 2014

It also featured my comic strip The Odd Days which was inspired by the asdf movies on Youtube by Tom Ska .  My versions really didn’t make a lot of sense.

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The Odd Days by midnakit (KitBIT), 2014

Me and J have plans to FINALLY get round to our second issue very soon.. until then you can enjoy this page from issue 1 by Jenson!

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MACS issue 1 page 11, 2014 – Jenson reviews Fruit and Doctor Who.