The Clipper is a new cafe and marketplace with a creative focus, renovated from a notorious pub on Union Street. This was their debut as a Plymouth Art Weekender venue and inside were several spaces holding different artists, including textile artists, printmakers, jewellery makers, a pyrographic artist, and even artisan pizza.
Since The Clipper opened earlier in the summer The Truth Wall by Alan Qualtrough of Kiss & Bite Press has been a feature. Alan regularly updates the Wall with new letterpress posters, influenced by current events and requests from local people.
More pictures of The Truth Wall:
This year Sue Lewry, a highly regarded and friendly local artist, was providing screenprinting workshops with her son Will, who is a young artist himself, using a small portable unit in their shop Colossal. I was able to have a go with Will’s help, and created a greetings card. The design of their shop is beautiful with colourful geometric prints that really stand out.
More photos from Colossal:
Next door were the Two Steves and their Butcher’s Shop (Steve Clement Large and Stephen Beer). I really like their painted and glazed slate fridge magnets and caricature paintings.
More photos from The Butcher’s Shop, including their piece The Crucifiction of Communication:
The portable coal and wood fired pizza oven was right at the back of the building and Just Dough were running a simple make your own pizza workshop. My dad made us a delicious caramelised onion and salami pizza with mozzarella and parmesan.
Nudge Community who run The Clipper have been really supportive of me this summer, giving me space to work and try new things with my art, and also supporting YEA ’18 with a space to meet young artists for work on the project as well as help managing our funding. Laura Kelly from Nudge even made it over to our exhibition despite having a thousand things to manage herself, and I got this picture of us together.
More posts about other venues I visited over the Weekender will follow soon!
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.
Today I went to see a pop-up exhibition at Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard. The exhibition is The Art of Truth in the Digital Age and the artists are Oona Wagstaff and Alan Qualtrough. The work on display “explores the cosequences of digital communications technology on our society such as the spectacle and the changing nature of truth and reality.”
Alan leads workshops on letterpress printing and explained to us how it was done. It sounded similar to using stamps but instead using big wooden blocks with letters carved into them. I’ve seen one of the prints in the PCA Pre-degree Centre, and Alan said that he has been working with a group of students there. This installation of his letterpress prints seems like a protest against misuse of social “meedia” and lies that are spread digitally. It is a striking and colourful display and the simple slogans made me really think about the messages I see and hear every day. Interestingly, one of the most interesting prints seemed completely blank until I took a very close look, but you’ll have to visit to see it for yourself!
This print feels louder then the others because of it’s huge, blocky typeface and dark colour. I liked the way that the print isn’t completely finished in places and Alan explained that this technique is called a ‘kiss’, whereas a strong complete print is called a ‘bite’. I’ve never done any letterpress printing but seeing this exhibition and meeting Alan has gotten me really interested in trying it out for myself!
This abstract piece by Oona Wagstaff is a painting, but her paintings felt more like sculptures when I viewed them up close. She layers oil paint on board and there are sections cut out of the boards which made me want to stroke them and feel the edges.
Information Bomb is a silkscreen of a graphite drawing by Oona. It is dark and scary but still beautiful, and so are her black and white monotype prints. Both Oona and Alan will be in the gallery at different times throughout the exhibition if you want to talk to them or have any questions.
The shop at the front of the gallery has several pieces by artists from Ocean Studios including this story box by Fi Smart. Her story boxes are cute and inspiring. We have been making houses with story box rooms at my Saturday Arts Club and these have given me some ideas.
The Art of Truth in the Digital Age exhibition is part of Home Grown, a month of pop-up exhibitions at Ocean Studios by various Plymouth Artists. I hope I can go to and report on all of them!