Yesterday I visited Studio 102 to view its new exhibition, Uptown Junk. Studio 102 is an art gallery and shop with studios above supporting emerging artists in Plymouth and it is based on Vauxhall Street.
Uptown Junk is the current exhibition at Studio 102. The exhibition showcases “upcycled and innovative artwork from the local community” and the pieces are being auctioned to raise money for the marine conservation society. This piece by Adrian Bishop draws attention to the danger to living creatures caused by dumping plastics in the ocean.
This piece by Marcus Crandon is a slimy looking skull tangled with what seems to be real hair. It looks like the rotted remains of a pirate sentenced to death for his crimes…
I think these mutated characters by Ryan Arthurs are intended to make us consider the impact pollution has on the environment and living creatures, including ourselves.
I really like the colours and scratched away effect on these pieces, also by Ryan Arthurs.
This hat and bowtie by Mariana Lopez are upcycled from marine debris washed up in Cornwall. In 1997 a ship containing tonnes of lego pieces sank off the coast of Cornwall, pieces are still being washed up today. I visited Liskeard & District Museum earlier this year and enjoyed their Plastic Age exhibition about plastics dumped in the ocean where they have collected lots of these lego pieces and other toys.
Uptown Junk is on throughout this week (until the 26th) Monday to Friday, 12-6pm at Studio 102. If any of the artists above would like me to add more information or links please get in touch with me @midnakit on instagram.
On Friday I went to the Opening event for the Plymouth University Illustration Years One and Two Show at Victuals Cafe at Royal William Yard. The artworks are printed onto long strips of paper hung from the ceiling in double-sided rows so you can walk up and down between them like alleyways of artwork. I met several of the illustrators whose work is on display and saw a lot of different styles of work.
Isabelle Hobbs is a second year student and she says she usually works on till rolls to make long streams of art. She told me she focuses on drawing women and their faces, hair and outfits and said “subconsciously I think I draw myself a lot”. She said that for her “doodling is a natural process, like breathing”. I like how in some areas Isabelle puts in lots of detail but in other areas her drawing is really simple.
Jennie Scampton‘s piece was for a project on narrative sequence and is the first comic she has made. She said “I love anything to do with legends, myths and history” and so she chose to draw her comic about the Egyptian Gods onto a real papyrus scroll and within the shape of a sarcophagus. Jennie’s comic is really cleverly done and the story is very funny.
Seren Pascoe-Davies’ said she did her colourful piece Psychotropics on the theme of Visions. She drew the line art on A3 paper then added colour using a tablet and Photoshop. I like the colours she has chosen which work really well together and her curly line work. The piece feels very dreamlike.
Iona Desouza told me that she is interested in rural traditions and “things being lost”. I like how this illustration is quite busy with layers of pencil drawn objects on top of each other.
Keir Nicholson‘s comic focuses on a character called Steve the Robot. Keir described how in his comic Steve goes to work on a normal day but that “his day takes a turn for the worst” and that the story “is about how terrorism can strike at any time”. I like the limited colour palette Keir has chosen to use and his cute character.
Sophie Mahadevan has two pieces on display. She described the process of making this print to me, and it is a complicated process involving etching on to a copper plate then dipping the plate into acid multiple times to create layers of depth and make the print look three-dimensional. She said she had never tried this before and she really enjoyed how the first year of her course was very experimental. I think the tones of blue used in this make the piece seem melancholy.
Chloe Drage‘s piece on display is very peaceful and she told me that her goal was to “use nature to tackle depression”. She usually works in pencil and said “I don’t usually work digitally, so I stepped out of my comfort zone” when working on this piece. This was my favourite piece in the exhibition and I think this piece would be great concept art for the opening of a video game. It is calm but mysterious, I wonder if she is a tiny girl on normal sized lily pads or a normal sized girl in a world of giants.
This exhibition is on until the 22nd of May and anyone interested in illustration or what young artists are making in Plymouth should try to go along and see it themselves. I want to thank all of the artists above for speaking to me about their work. Thank you also to John Kilburn and Ashley Potter who spoke to me about the exhibition and are Plymouth University BA Hons Illustration tutors.
Some of the other pieces I enjoyed at the exhibition are pictured below but unfortunately I didn’t get to meet these artists. I would be happy to add credit for the art and a link to all of the artists in my photographs below, just contact me and I will edit my post 😀
Edited to add: The illustrations below are by Plymouth University students Daniele Caruso, Elise Arden-Trew, Sophie Evans, and Millicent Venton.
On the 30th April I visited the final part of the four Home Grown exhibitions held at Ocean Studios which was called Here And Now. The artists who took part in this exhibition are graduates from Plymouth University and hold studio residencies in Ocean Studios.
I really like the ink splatters in this piece by Kieran Walsh, they help make the piece seem alive. I think we could all see different things in this painting, as the shapes of the objects are ambiguous. I see a jug, coffee stains, a toy train track.. Because I might be the only person to see exactly these objects the piece seems really personal and as if it is telling me a secret.
This is a page from an unfinished children’s book that Fi Smart has been working on. The way the dog’s silhouette passes over the drawing of a house works really well and makes the page seem three-dimensional.
These are some of the pieces of art Fi has made for a children’s book. Fi’s paper dogs look delicate compared to her illustrations on slabs of cooked clay. I recognised some of the places on the clay because they are inspired by locations around Royal William Yard.
This charcoal drawing by Kieran Walsh is huge. In some places it has been shaded and drawn carefully but in others the lines are jagged and free. The drawing looks misty and has a mysterious feel to it.
This is a close up of Joe Allen’s painting Baby where the artist has applied paint thickly without mixing it, giving the painting a cool marbled and 3D effect.
This is the full version of Joe Allen’s painting. I could make out different objects and living beings as I studied this painting, it looks like a familiar family setting. There is something messy and chaotic I like about the painting because it makes it very real and relatable (I have a toddler sister at home!)
I really love this piece by Fi Smart. The huge fracture down the middle makes the clay illustration feel aged and broken but the vines “growing” through it are filling the gaps and binding it back together. I noticed that in several of Fi’s pieces parts of the artwork (like the vines and the paper dogs) seem to be escaping or outside of the boundaries of her background illustrations and I might try to experiment with this myself.
This glazed clay bowl by Paige Barnard reminded me of sweet sauce running over a cake. It looks like a puddle of rain or glossy icing or the top of a jellyfish.
I like the colours and shapes that Paige Barnard used for her Momento set. The pastel blues and greens felt friendly, and the splatters and uneven glazes feel alive. On the bottom right is a tall and thin vase that looks as if parts had been poked, pushed, or squeezed. The pieces feel playful.
Carly Seller’s work during her residency at Ocean Studies has led her to “an investigation of circular forms”. Her pieces on display include photographs, still images from an unfinished film, and drawings. These Ensos drawings are interesting because they are circles of so many different sizes and patterns and no two are exactly the same.
The Home Grown month of exhibitions was really interesting and introduced me to art forms that I hadn’t really seen or thought about before. I have been inspired especially by Fi Smart’s work as an illustrator (and I got to meet and talk to her at this event) and I am going to try making my own illustrations that move outside of the page or frame, and also I want to try making my own storyboxes (she has some on display in the Ocean Studios Gallery shop and I wrote about them here). I also found Alan Qualtrough’s letterpress prints really striking and inspiring and would like to try that form of art myself too.
The current exhibition at Ocean Studios is BAFA17 which is a display of work by second year Fine Art Students at Plymouth University, on until the 15th of May.