Events and Exhibitions, Personal Work

Plymouth Art Weekender 2017 – Day 3

Today my plan was to visit as many of the Plymouth Art Weekender events as possible before the festival ended.  I wanted to make sure I took part in some of the different art workshops around Plymouth, so finding venues with workshops happening was my highest priority, and I had two boxes left of zines to take with me.  I sat down with my family and we made a plan together.

Our first stop was Ocean Studios.  I dropped off some YEA ’17 zines in the cafe area and had a look at the portrait exhibition U + ME = US by Jojo on the way to the Made In Plymouth Maker’s Table, where we created papier-mache people for a family sculpture.  I haven’t worked with paper-mache much before, and though gluing layers and layers of paper over each other was messy and fiddly, I had a really good time.  While I was there, lots of families and young children came and had a go at making the sculptures, and the atmosphere was friendly and active, but also relaxed.  We left our paper people with there to be arranged later into the bigger sculpture.

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Making papier-mache people at the Ocean Studios Maker’s Table
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Me with my papier-mache sculpture

I wanted to see Laura Edmunds’ drawing and sound exhibition A Soft Introduction upstairs, so I left the workshop early to check it out.  I spoke to Laura and learned that the sounds had been recorded on very sensitive microphones placed around her body while she drew and painted her pieces.  There was a circle of speakers and I stood in the centre to listen, the sounds were soothing and mysterious, and reminded me of the sea.  On display were around 69 of Laura’s drawings, and she described drawing them as almost like making musical notation.  I thought they looked like a visual representation of her subconscious train of thoughts, and the overall feeling was serene.

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A section of nine of Laura’s drawings from A Soft Introduction

I made my way back downstairs to join Sue Lewry’s monoprinting workshop.  I was given a small rectangular plate which I inked with a roller, then I arranged pieces of textured wallpaper, cardboard and other materials on top of it, and each piece I inked with a different colour.  I placed it carefully for registration with a piece of paper on top then it was put through a rolling printing press.  This workshop was more quick paced than the earlier one as lots of people were around the table using the inks and press, but it was still a lot of fun.  I like monoprinting and would like to try incorporating it into my illustration work in the future.

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My monoprint from Sue Lewry’s printing workshop

I headed off from Ocean to my next destination which was to Plymouth School of Creative Arts (PSCA).  I delivered the last box of YEA ’17 zines here, and went up the stairs to visit the exhibitions.  First I looked at Three In One, an exhibition by Janet Sainsbury, Andy Coldrey, and Charlie O’Sullivan.  Their art worked well together, and I liked Charlie’s sculpture of paper houses and paintings made on a long scroll of old book pages.

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Sculpture by Charlie O’Sullivan for Three In One at PSCA
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One of my favourite paintings in Three In One, by Janet Sainsbury
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My favourite piece of Andy Coldrey’s in Three In One

We then headed up to Janine Rook’s inkblot painting workshop.  Janine was one of my art tutors during my first Saturday Arts Club at Plymouth College of Art, so it was good to see her again and tell her about my new college course.  This workshop was also popular with families, and there was a big display of inkblot paintings from lots of children that had taken part as well as more paintings on all the flat surfaces around.  I used pipettes to carefully place a small number of coloured ink drops on my paper and then folded it down the middle to create patterns.  I learned that inkblot painting is called klecksography and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere with even the smallest children very quietly concentrating on their pieces.

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Inkblot paintings by Janine Rook
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Several families enjoying the klecksography workshop with Janine Rook

On the same floor as the inkblots was one of the highlights of the day, Funny Blind Date, an exhibition of collages sent to Plymouth from around the world that has been collected together by Object Recordings.  Everything in the collection is an analogue collage, meaning it was put together physically using magazines, posters etc, and scissors and glue, rather than being produced digitally.  There was work from eleven different artists and I was surprised how each one had a very different style and mood to their work.  Some of the pieces were very humourous or witty, and others were more serious or political.  I have never been to an exhibition of collages before and Funny Blind Date was inspirational, showing me that collage can be just as visually interesting and meaningful as drawing and painting.

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This collage from Funny Blind Date made me think about city life and our aspirations
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This collage from Funny Blind Date is interesting because it is made of one full poster, with the pieces rearranged

I had to move on but I paid a quick visit to the Union Street Party just around the corner.  It was smaller than previous years and the road hadn’t been closed off, but even the rain hadn’t stopped people gathering to play drums and dance.  I was disappointed that I didn’t find any participatory art projects here this year as in previous years I have really enjoyed that element of the Party, but it was good to see that even in the rain Plymothians can have a good time!

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It was hard to get a non-blurry shot because everyone at the Union Street Party was so energetic and active!

I also stopped to have a look at Bouys and Girls by Mary Trapp in PSCA’s playground.  This installation features wire and foam sculptures of children wearing lifejackets, suspended over water alongside orange buoys.  It made me think of public information films, on first look the figures look like they are having fun, jumping or dancing, but as I spent more time looking at them they looked more like they were struggling against currents or trying to escape.  I thought it was a really interesting piece of art and I would like to see where Mary takes it next, as she suggested that she would change the arrangement when she moves it to new locations.

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Bouys and Girls by Mary Trapp

My next stop was to the Park Bench Reader by Bram Thomas Arnold, who was going to read from Jurassic Park, but unfortunately my family made a mistake and went to the wrong location so I missed this event.  I was disappointed as it sounded like a fun piece but I am going to look out for Bram’s future projects.  I then went to the Athenaeum to take part in a zine workshop from Make Stuff/Drink Stuff, but unfortunately that had been cancelled!  I think I need to pay more attention to messages on social media next year so I can keep up with the changes that can happen in a big event like the Art Weekender.  Fortunately there were other things to do at the venue so I watched some of Rhys Morgan’s video and sound collage Platform, revisited the Handling Collection, and listened for a while to some poetry on stage (about pants!) for Tears In Rain.  There was a real variety in the building!

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The Travel Wallet by David Shrigley, my favourite piece in the Penryn Handling Collection at the Athenaeum

I was feeling quite tired by now but I really wanted to see some more of the things on my list.  I headed for Studio 102 which had a really interesting sounding exhibition in the PAW programme, I Don’t Believe Birmingham Exists by Adrian BishopI am really glad that I decided to keep going because as soon as I entered I felt energised by Adrian’s paintings.  This is a collection of absurd beliefs illustrated in ink, and the paintings are colourful and energetic and got us all talking and really actively engaged by the work.  Adrian’s exhibition is on until the 8th of October and I would recommend everyone interested in illustration or political and satirical artwork visits the gallery to experience it.  (I only just realised I have seen work by Adrian at Studio 102 before and wrote about it here)

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Ink painting for I Don’t Believe Birmingham Exists by Adrian Bishop in Studio 102

Our last stop was Plymouth Arts Centre as it was just around the corner and I wanted to have a better look at the Dwell installation upstairs.  There was a peaceful tented area with cushions and books by Niamh Lily Wimperis, and a quiet and contemplative arrangement of a dresser with items on top where everything was painted white, by Megan Kathryn Heywood.  I have a copy of their zine (also called Dwell) which I plan to read later.

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Niamh Lily Wimperis’s peaceful interactive installation in PAC
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Dwell, the zine

I had another look around PAC which has been repainted for Ciara Phillips’ work which is ongoing and will be added to over the course of the exhibition.  I plan to visit regularly to check on it and see how it grows as she works with local groups of people.

That is the end of my Weekender posts this year!  I didn’t manage to get to all the things I wanted to, but some exhibitions are still available to visit so I will try to get to them.  I wish the Weekender was on for longer, some of the things I missed but really wished I’d had a chance to get to were Rosie King’s G O N E (preserve us) and the Flameworks Open Day.  I also missed Sketch 2017 at PCA but luckily that is on until 6th October so I will make sure I go before then.

I hope everyone else had as good a Weekender as me and I hope to get even more involved in PAW 2018!

Here are my previous posts about PAW 2017:

Day One

Day Two

 

 

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Events and Exhibitions

Plymouth Art Weekender 2017 – Day 1

Last year I documented what I saw of the Plymouth Art Weekender, an annual city-wide art event where different galleries and venues open up to the public with temporary art installations made by artists based in Plymouth and abroad. It takes place over three days, and there are lots of exhibitions and events to enjoy.  This year, as an official blogger for PAW, I will try to cover as many of this year’s art installations as I can!

Today, I was part of an art tour surrounding We The People Are The Work, a project that “will explore ideas of power, protest and the public” and involves exhibitions by five sets of international artists in five different venues.  Each project involves working with the public in some way.

People who want to view the exhibitions can visit them individually but the curator Simon Morrissey suggested it is best enjoyed as a tour, starting at Peninsula Arts, then Plymouth College of Art, on to Plymouth Arts Centre, then the Council House, and finally to KARST gallery.

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Image depicting brainstorming for We The People Are The Work (PenArts)

We did our tour in a slightly different order, but still began in Plymouth University’s Peninsula Arts (PenArts) gallery, with a video installation by artists Antonio Vega Macotela and Eduardo Thomas called Advice From a Caterpillar.  The artists are from Mexico City and when they were approached to create a piece for WTPATW they researched Plymouth and decided to do a piece collaborating with extras who had been in the Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland.  The piece features locations which appeared in the movie or that the actors wanted to talk about.

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Advice From A Caterpillar (PenArts)

Peninsula Arts also has the first of two big black walls called We The People Are The Words which the public are encouraged to write words or doodle on using the provided chalk.

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Cat doodle I drew with chalk in PenArts

We moved on to the second part of our tour, an exhibition in Plymouth Arts Centre (PAC) by Ciara Phillips.  The space has been transformed with new colours, shapes and patterns on the walls and large prints everywhere.

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View of the cafe area in PAC from the ground floor

 

Parts of the gallery have been turned into workspaces with a darkroom, screen printing area, and a relaxing space for reading.  Every week new work will be created here by different groups of people working with Ciara, and that work will be added to the display changing the space over time, until the show ends in November.

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A higher view, this time of the same two prints and a small printing workshop (PAC)
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Screenprinted artwork (PAC)
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A small tent, as part of an art piece about anxieties and peace (PAC)

The second big black wall and chalk set is at Plymouth Arts Centre, and I drew another cat.

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My cat in PAC

We moved on to the Council House which is not usually open to the public because it is still a working building, but the city museum have been negotiating with the council to be able to use it while the museum is being remodelled.  The piece here has been planned by artist Peter Liversidge.  Peter started with doing text generating projects with different members of the public, and the pieces of text were reviewed by the council (to check for anything “problematic”) then compiled into a large book.

The gallery space is taken up with a large white stage where every day two or three sign painters will take requests from visitors, who can choose any piece of text from the book, and create big cardboard signs from them.

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Sign painters painting and assembling signs (Council House)
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Signs painted with the word “nothingness” on top of a cabinet (Council House)

On the way to the next exhibition, we stopped to look at the billboards outside the Council House for the #AtlanticProject.  These bring up questions about what it means to be a good neighbour.

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My favourite of the “Good Neighbour” billboard series

We moved on to KARST for the next WTPATW exhibition.  The artists here are a feminist collective called Claire Fontaine.  As soon as the door opened we smelled burning and smoke.  The first piece here is a huge arrangement of thousands of matches set in the shape of the United Kingdom.  Students from Plymouth College of Art took five days to place the 58500+ matches, and they were set alight on Thursday evening.  The whole place filled up with smoke and parts of the gallery have actually been burned and melted by the process, which was documented.

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View of Claire Fontaine’s piece from a small hole cut out of a doorway (KARST)
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Burned matches in Claire Fontaine’s piece (KARST)

The second room is completely filled with red light and here there are neon signs, some of which are animated and seem to respond to each other.

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A scary message in the second room of Claire Fontaine’s exhibition (KARST)

On the way to the last exhibition we passed by another PAW art piece, The Truth Wall.  This features political letterpress prints by Kiss & Bite Letterpress Studio.

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The Truth Wall

The last stop on our tour was Plymouth College of Art (PCA).  In the gallery here is a film and sound installation by Matt Stokes.  This piece looks at DIY culture and how live music venues are disappearing locally.  Four local independent bands are filmed playing their music live at the locations of once iconic, but now closed, music venues.

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The Bus Station Loonies performing at Plymouth’s recently closed bus station (PCA)

 

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Suck My Culture performing in a flat on the site of the old Van Dike Club

Tomorrow I will be going to The Plymouth Athenaeum to take part in PAW myself at the YEA Plymouth table.  We will be giving away free copies of our collaborative zine YEA ’17 which features work by ten young artists aged 11-16.  This is a Plymouth Art Weekender project and our first big project together.  We will also be selling zines by YEA Plymouth members and badges to raise money for future projects together.

You can find out more about these events and exhibitions online on the Plymouth Art Weekender website.

These are my posts from last year’s PAW event:

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 – Day 1

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 – Day 2 – Part 1

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 – Day 2 – Part 2

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 – Day 2 – Part 3

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 – Day 3

College Work, Events and Exhibitions

NatSatClub Summer Show 2017

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Last year I was a member of the National Saturday Art and Design Club at Plymouth College of Art.  We got to experiment with different media and artforms throughout the year, and take trips to local exhibitions as well as two trips to London for bigger NatSatClub shows featuring our work alongside work made by other groups.

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It was really early so at the services I grabbed an iced coffee..

Our final trip to London was on the 17th of June.  We met up really early to catch our coach just after 6am so we could get to the exhibition at Somerset House around 11am.  It was really busy as hundreds of young people from NatSatClubs around the country had come to see their work on display.  We were greeted and each given goody bags of art supplies, water, and snacks, and shown in to the first area where all the Masterclass work was on display.  Our Masterclass was in making word drawings with Barnaby Barford.

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Plymouth College of Art’s NatSatClub word drawings done in a Masterclass with Barnaby Barford

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Next we went upstairs and had a look around the different clubs’ work.  Plymouth sent in a lot of our work, and the pieces that were chosen for display were our beach glass jewellery, and our glass houses which we made in a class led by our Student Ambassador Ben Lintell.

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Some of the members from Plymouth College of Art National Art & Design Saturday Club 2016-17 stood next to our display at Somerset House.

This video shows our glass houses lit from below with a torch to cast shadows on the white wall.

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My glass house – the design is based on my home and it was etched by sandblasting

 

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Our beach glass jewellery on display
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My piece of jewellery is the one in the centre.  I found a piece of glass and transferred an image  lighthouse onto the back of it, then encased it in silver.

We were all called into a large room filled with benches for a speech by the National Saturday Club founders, Lord and Lady Sorrell.  Then we were called up one by one and received our Certificates and Yearbooks.

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The Plymouth NatSatClub group holding our Certificates
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A sneaky picture at the podium when noone was looking..

After the ceremony some of our group went to the National Portrait Gallery, but I stayed to look around the exhibition for a while longer.  There was a huge amount of different types of work on display by young people from the many clubs, including zines, puppets, film, fashion and ceramics.

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The first projects of our year were self portraits.  We saw these on display on our previous visit to London but smaller versions had been put together into these huge wall displays.
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Self portraits from NatSatClub members

At the end of the day, we met up with the rest of the group to get back to the coach.  Unfortunately, the coach had overheated (it was a really hot day!) and was broken down, leaving us stranded in London!  Our group leaders brought us all water to drink and we took a walk around Covent Garden watching a clown and looking in the Moomin shop.  The coach was fixed in an hour or so, and we headed back on the five hour journey home.

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Me at Somerset House

I was sad that some of the work I was most proud of from our many projects wasn’t put on display, but I hope to be able to put photos up of those pieces here soon, and I did have a really good day.   It was really amazing seeing so much work from young artists all in one place and I was really inspired by all that I saw.  I would recommend joining the group to anyone aged from 14 to 16 who likes art and really wants to try different things.

Below are some photos of work from National Saturday Clubs all around the country.  I have included lots here so that people who didn’t get to go on the trip can still enjoy some of the work we saw.

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There was a “We Want To Be Heard” banner above the exhibition
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Work from Cornwall College
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Work from Cornwall College
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Work from Cornwall College
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Work from Cornwall College
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Work from Cornwall College
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Zines from Kingston University, London
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Work from Cleveland College of Art and Design
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Work from Cleveland College of Art and Design
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Work from Cleveland College of Art and Design
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Work from University of West London
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Work from University of West London
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Work from University of West London
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Work from University of West London
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Work from Standpoint (a collaborative Masterclass between Ravensbourne and Greater Brighton Metropolitan College)
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Work from Cove Park
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Work from Ravensbourne
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Work from Ravensbourne
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Work from Ravensbourne
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Work from Ravensbourne
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Work from Bradford School of Art
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Work from Nottingham Trent University
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Work from Highbury College
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Work from Highbury College

 

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Work from Havering College of Further & Higher Education

 

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Work from University of Huddersfield
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Work from Coleg Sir Gâr
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Work from Bolton School of the Arts
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Work from Bolton School of the Arts
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Work from Banbury and Bicester College
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Work from Banbury and Bicester College
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Work from Banbury and Bicester College
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Work from Greater Brighton Metropolitan College
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Work from Cambridge School of Art

 

 

 

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Work from Cambridge School of Art
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Work from Cambridge School of Art
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Work from East Coast College and Time and Tide Museum
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Work from Goldsmiths
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A frame from an animation by University of Westminster NatSatClub
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Zines by University of the Arts London
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Work by University of the Arts London
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Work by University of the Arts London
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Work by University of the Arts London
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Zines by University of the Arts London
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Work by University of the Arts London
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Work by Grimsby Institute
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Work by Victoria and Albert Museum
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Work by Victoria and Albert Museum
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Work by Victoria and Albert Museum
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Work by University of the Arts London
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Work by Cleveland College of Art & Design
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Work by Cleveland College of Art & Design
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Work by Cleveland College of Art & Design
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Work by Cranford Community College
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Work by Cranford Community College
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Work by Hull School of Art and Design
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Work by Hull School of Art and Design
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Work by Hull School of Art and Design
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Work by Hull School of Art and Design
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Work by University for the Creative Arts Rochester
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Work by University for the Creative Arts Rochester
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Work by University for the Creative Arts Farnham
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Robots made by University of Westminster National Science & Engineering Club
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Work by Kingston University London National Science and Engineering Club
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Work by Ravensbourne Science & Engineering Club

Here are some links to previous posts I have written about NatSatClub:

National Saturday Club Part 1

NA&DSC London Trip

NatSatClub Devon Dialect Project

 

 

Events and Exhibitions, Professional Work

July Zine Workshop

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My flyer for the July Workshop

Next week will be my fourth Zine Workshop!  Here are the details:

ZINE WORKSHOP

Saturday 29th July, 1 to 5 pm, £2 entry

@ THINQTANQ, Central Plymouth

Book online at: tcnv.re/zineworkshop

You can read about previous zine workshops here..

 

Events and Exhibitions

Talk from Jack Gill at Central Library

On the 19th of January I attended a Careers talk by Jack Gill from So Good Studios in Plymouth Central Library.  So Good Studios is a games development studio based in Plymouth and Jack is the managing director.  Jack set up the company with two of his friends, technical director Sam Hession and creative director Will Hosgood.  The three of them studied Computing and Games Development at Plymouth University together.

Jack was interested in studying programming from an early age but he didn’t get to learn about it much in school.  Luckily his dad was a programmer and would talk to him about it, and bring home games which they would play together.  At sixteen Jack went to college and studied computing alongside english, chemistry, and maths.  He was also interested in and learning about cryptography and making Android apps, and made his first game, which was a text adventure.

Jack then decided to go to university to study computing and games development. He said that on his course he met many people from different backgrounds and with different skills, which is important when working together on projects.  Jack explained how his course worked at university.  Students would choose a module, study for six weeks, then be evaluated on their work.  He met Will and Sam on his course and they became best friends, and realised that their different skills worked well together, so they formed So Good Studios and made their first project, Bath Tubb Pirates.

Three days after their final exam, So Good Studios set up their business in the Formation Zone, which is an “incubator” for start-up buisinesses.  They made their first commercial product, a multiplayer game called Tap Tournament.  Jack said that there are many business and tech networking opportunities in Plymouth, including SOUP crowdfunding events.

Next, Jack talked about the Plymouth Game Devs which he described as a community to foster collaboration and cooperation and involves lots of local developers including So Good Studios, Brainy Beard, Sizeable Games and others.  Plymouth Game Devs organize game jams, and I have been able to take part in three so far; Ludum Dare 36, Games for Better, and the Global Game Jam last weekend.

Finally, Jack gave us “Jack’s Super Cool Advice for Aspiring Game Developers”:

1. Education!

  • Work hard on your studies while you are under 18
  • Studying at university or college is not a necessary route to get into games development but it can be extremely helpful!
  • Learning to find information and teach yourself new things is a vital skill for games developers.  You also need to enjoy learning new things.

2. Community!

  • Joining and building a community with other game developers allows you to show off your games and get support.
  • A community will also help you find people to collaborate with.  This is important because different people bring different skills to a project and splitting work makes it easier and faster to complete a project.
  • Being part of a community can help you to promote your work.

3. Portfolio!

  • Create a portfolio of your projects as you make them so that you can share your games, art, code etc.
  • A portfolio is crucial to your CV to show employers, colleges and clients what you can do!
  • It’s easy to make a portfolio online, for example you could share your work using WordPress, Patreon, YouTube, Tumblr, ArtStation and Scratch.

At the end of the talk Jack answered some questions from the audience.  The room was almost full and I think that the talk was really good!  I’m going to check out ArtStation and I want to get more involved with the Plymouth Game Devs and meet and work with more young games developers.

Events and Exhibitions

The Science and Technology Showcase at Plymouth University

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Freebies! My Explore Discover Achieve lanyard, my Event pass, a Plymouth University notepad, and our 3D printed tags from the Electronics stand

Yesterday I went with my brother to a Science and Technology Showcase for secondary school students which was held at Plymouth University.  When we arrived we were given our Event Passes and after a short wait we were shown to a lecture theatre for careers talks from four different speakers.

First was a talk from Grant Cole (Twitter) to talk about the work of being a Geologist.  His work involves studying rocks and fossils, and he has been all over the world, including Iceland, Death Valley, and a salt mine in Sicily.  Grant said that he does lots of field work on his own and he has done his research from the air and off-road.  Parts of his job sounded really exciting – lots of travelling, glacial walking and making new discoveries.

Next was Kathy Redfern (Twitter), who is a nutritionist.  Her work is researching the “impacts of food and nutrition on the health and wellbeing of humans (or animals)” to give advice for the prevention of illness.  She specifically works with pregnant women, and she says some of the benefits of her job is that no two days are the same and she gets to travel around the UK and to Portugal.

The third speaker was Jon Waters who is studying Mathematics and is part of the Theoretical Physics Group.  His current research is in lasers and he explained that normal torches contain a wide band from the visible light spectrum but lasers only contain a narrow band and can concentrate energy to a fine point.  Jon said that his work involves getting used to not knowing the answer.  His work involves coming up with mathematical models and performing theoretical tests and he learns new things every day.

The last talk was from a psychologist called Leonie Cooper.  She has worked at the National Marine Aquarium and now is working with an intelligent robot called Snap.  Her research is in using mental imagery to train people to have healthier behaviours.  She says that people seem to find that robots are less judgemental to talk to than other people.  Leonie is also interested in how games and apps could be used to reach thousands.

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The Basic code I tried out on the BBC Microcomputer

After the talks were finished we went to a big marquee filled with stands from different university departments.  It was split into three sections, and we were given thirty minutes in each section.  First I went to a stand where I took my thumbprint and compared it to one from an imaginary suspect that I lifted with powder and tape.  There was a psychology stand where I did a lie detector test.  I had wires attached to the finger on my left hand and my left ear, and I had to pick a card out of five.  They were shuffled and I had to lie about which card I had as they were turned over one by one. The wires measured skin response (sweat increases conductivity) and heart rate.  The lie detector didn’t pick up my lie I think because I was nervous throughout the whole test!  I also had a quick look at other chemistry and biology stands.

In the next section was a stand for the South West Retro Computing Archive, where I did some coding in Basic on a BBC Microcomputer from the 80’s, and J got the hi-score on Pac-man.  I have been to one of their events before and they have a huge range of retro consoles to play and learn about.  On the BBC computer there is a “return” key instead of an enter key, a “break” key to reset the whole computer, and you have to write your code in numbered lines for the system to read in order.

We then went to the Computing and Games Development stand where me and my brother played Pirate Panic, a game written by some of the students at the stand.  Pirate Panic is a multiplayer game where the players have to work together to keep a ship afloat and moving until it reaches land.  It’s a really fast paced game which encourages you to panic, just like the pirates!  I thought it was exciting and good for teamwork.  I also tried a VR game using a headset and I had to shoot lasers at robots.  It was a lot of fun to play but my arm was aching after a few minutes because the shoot button was on the headset.  We also met and spoke to Nicholas Wade who is in his final year and is working to launch his own games studio called Nikomus Games.

Next I went to the Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Robotics stand.  I watched people play with some of the university’s robots and J used a red ball and a sensor to control LED lights that were on the stand.  There was a challenge to find the right frequency on one machine by turning a knob and getting a turning circle on a small screen to stay still. We were told that the shape the green light was making was a visual representation of the frequency it was on.  J was able to do it but I ran out of time, and we were both given 3D printed tags for taking part.

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Some flyers I picked up to learn more about the courses and events at Plymouth University

In the last section there was a Geography stand where I got to try an HTC Vive VR Headset to explore London using Google Earth.  It was brilliant and I loved using the handheld controller and that you could still see it in the virtual space!  We then went to the i-DAT stand where they had a small black dome which we entered.  Inside there was a film projected onto the dome ceiling about being an astronaut. A voiceover explained that there were different levels of G-Force as we watched a CGI representation of a G-Force training machine.  We heard how astronauts need to keep exercising while they are in space so they aren’t too weak when they get back to Earth and we saw an astronaut using an exercise bike.  We also met Luke Christison who works in the Immersive Vision Theatre (in the Planetarium) which we have tickets to visit in a couple of weeks.

The last stand we visited was about meteorites and the Solar System.  I looked at a rock from Mars and compared it to a rock from Earth under a microscope.  A woman working on the stand explained to me that the Earth rock had formed in a volcano, and I could observe that both rocks had been made the same way, so at some point there must have been volcanoes on Mars as well!  There were some pieces of meteorite on the table and a few of them looked alien.  A man from the stand talked to us about the scale of the solar system.  He said if we used a scale of 1 metre to 1 Astronomical Unit (AU), and imagined the Sun was right in front of us, the edge of our Solar System would be in Taunton and our nearest star would be in London!

I really enjoyed going around the marquee and the talks in the beginning were interesting.  My favourite parts were the Retro Games area and the Games Development area, and I really want to try out more VR gaming and exploration technology and learn more about how it works.  I would also like to do more study in electronics and robotics, geology and geography, and psychology, and find out more about Leonie Cooper’s research.

 

College Work, Events and Exhibitions, Personal Work

NA&DSC London Trip

On the 19th of November I went with my National Art and Design Saturday Club on a coach trip to a Welcome Day for all our groups at Central Saint Martins college and the Tate Britain gallery.

At 6am our coach was in front of the old Plymouth museum.  I found a seat next to a friend and chatted while we waited for the rest of the group.  It was my first time on a coach and it had soft seats with buttons to make them recline and red curtains in the windows.  We set off at 6:20 and me and my friends were excited but tired from being awake so early.  A lot of my group slept for the first part of the journey but after we stopped at Exeter services to stretch our legs and get some snacks almost everyone stayed awake.  We had another five hours or so of travel ahead so we talked about visits that each of us had made to London in the past and told each other funny anecdotes from our lives.  I did some sketching trying out different character faces but my lines were a bit wobbly from the movement of the coach, and I kept dropping my rubber down the side of the seat.

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Character sketches I made on the coach
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I did these sketches of Marvel characters in pencil on the coach and added the ink and watercolour later.
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This is what my pencil sketch of Quicksilver looked like before inking.  I did this one for my brother and Skyped it to him back at home.

As we travelled through London we took pictures out of the coach windows and pointed out buildings we recognized, like the Gherkin, MI6 and Big Ben.  Our coach dropped us off close to Central Saint Martins and we walked the rest of the way.  Central Saint Martins is a huge building and we noticed that the inside room was so vast that it was almost as cold as it was outside.  We were given stickers to wear to show we were from Plymouth College of Art and ‘perylene maroon’ goodie bags from Cass Art.  In my bag I had an A4 sketchbook, some pencils, a bottle of water and some snacks.  We sat down to have some lunch while our student ambassador Ben played on a piano and we waited for some of the other groups from around the country to arrive.

After lunch we looked at all the other self-portraits from the different groups and a photographer took a picture of us in front of our own portraits.  It felt amazing to have my self-portrait up in a gallery with other young artists’ work.  There was a lot of variety in the style and techniques used in the portraits I saw.  One group, from the Victoria and Albert museum, had used concertinaed paper with two portraits drawn on it so the one that you could see depended on the angle you viewed it from.  Some of these were quite creepy to look at because one side would be a regular portrait and the other side looked strange or demonic.  Other groups had worked with print, photography, pencils or collage.  My group used acrylic paint on pieces of wood and I wrote about that process in a previous blog post.

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My PCA sticker (stuck to my usual sketchbook), and my new grey sketchbook and perylene maroon bag from Cass Art
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The Plymouth group photo with our self-portraits and goodie bags, posted by @natsatclub on Twitter.  I am on the left in the front row.
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My photo of our self-portraits hung in Central Saint Martins.  Mine is the third from the left on the bottom row.

After looking around the portraits all the groups were shown into a large room for a series of talks.  We learned that even though there were hundreds of us there that day we only represented a third of the total members nationally!  Some groups were so far away they couldn’t make it together and so one family had come alone.  Those of us from Plymouth spent at least 12 hours travelling to London and back that day!  We heard from Cecilia Weckstrom who told us that when she was younger she didn’t know what she wanted to study, and got an apprenticeship with a children’s book company and learned about graphic design, and now she works for Lego and is a Trustee for the NA&DSC.  The director of the Saturday Club Trust, Sorrel Hershberg, and Jeremy Till, the Head of Central Saint Martins, both gave us information about the Saturday Arts Club and thanked the founders Sir John Sorrell and Lady Frances Sorrell.

When we came out of the room, ginormous pieces of paper were rolled out for us all to draw on and there were people holding big buckets with tons of crayons, pens and pencils for us to use.  My group didn’t have a lot of time before we got back on the coach but we sat on the floor for a short while and I drew my friend and myself.  There were a lot of cool doodles and there were tons of kids drawing each other.  After that I bought myself a big red NatSatClub hoodie and we got back on the coach for the next part of our trip.

All the groups headed to different venues around London and mine headed to the Tate Britain gallery.  We got a short tour around a few of the pieces of art on display and our tour guide and our tutor Kate encouraged us to talk about and critique what we saw.  We studied each piece for a few minutes and tried to think of single words that described how we felt or the impression we got from the artworks.  One piece that I found intriguing was Fiona Banner’s Break Point which is a huge canvas painted white with red marker pen text describing a chase scene from the movie Point Break.  The shade of red that she used and the way the text got closer together towards the bottom of the piece made me tense and it seemed very aggressive.  I haven’t seen the film, but I hope to soon so I can see what happens next!

We moved on to the Turner Prize 2016 Exhibition.  The Turner Prize is a contemporary art award given every year to a British artist chosen from four nominees.  My favourite piece on display was an installation by Michael Dean which was a pile of pennies equal to one penny less than its title, United Kingdom poverty line for two adults and two children: twenty thousand four hundred and thirty six pounds sterling as published on 1st September 2016.   Me and my friends thought it would be fun to roll around in it all.  It sounds like a lot of money but it didn’t feel like it when I saw it as a pile of pennies.  There was an enourmous gold sculpture of a butt by Anthea Hamilton called ‘Project For Door (After Gaetano Pesce)’ and people were laughing and taking silly photos near it.  I thought it was absurd in a funny way.  Visitors were invited to write their thoughts about the exhibition and pin them up outside the gallery, so we did that and then left to make the long trip home.

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My sketches of my friend on the left and myself on the right surrounded by other young artists’ contributions to the big drawing papers
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Me at home in my hoodie
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Michael Dean’s installation

On the journey home I took some more pictures of London lit up at night, and everyone was wide awake and in the back someone was playing music.  It was such an exciting day, me and my friends ended up having laughing fits for ages for no real reason.  We stopped at services to get dinner, but we panicked because we thought we had taken too long but it turned out we were back before most of the group.  We settled down eventually and it got quieter and some people fell asleep, and I carried on working in my sketchbook.  We got back to Plymouth at around 11 and I was exhausted.  The whole day was absolutely amazing and I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of it.