Studio 102 is an independent studio and gallery space near The Barbican at 102 Vauxhall Street, primarily focusing on creating a space for student, graduate, and emerging artists. The artists featured in Studio 102 display exciting and innovative work, and the shows I’ve seen at the gallery usually encourages the artists to work with new media and push themselves to experiment.
This year for the Plymouth Art Weekender, Studio 102 hosted a live Paint Jam. Over the whole weekend, visitors could come in and watch different artists painting large square canvasses based on spontaneous concepts they had for the event.
Outside the studio was a temporary wall where graffiti artist Yannis Nicolaou was leading drop-in workshops for visitors to try spray painting for themselves. The wall had been painted over throughout the weekend, layer upon layer, so it was colourful and fun yet chaotic!
I’ve seen work by Yannis at a previous exhibition in Studio 102, and really enjoyed his work, which was inspired by science fiction and horror films. He handed me a can of paint and told how to do a few basic strokes, then let me experiment for myself. Spray painting is more difficult than I expected, as you need quite a lot of control, it’s so easy to put too much paint on and make it drip. Though it was hard, I still found it to be really fun, and plan to try again with some paints I was given some time ago. Yannis also sprayed up my little sister’s name, which made her happy!
I visited Studio 102 several times over the weekend, and so I managed to see how some of the paintings progressed.
Farrah Seyedi is a textile designer/maker who worked in a different paint each day, layering ready mixed paint with acrylic and finally oils. She was still working on her painting when I took the photo below on Sunday afternoon, creating a bright playful pattern with a lot of texture that I can imagine printed on fabric.
Steve Pinchess completed two seperate pieces in the span of two days. I watched him brush on his first layer of oil paint in the painting below and then came back and saw the finished painting a few hours later. It was amazing how he could complete this piece so quickly, it is definitely inspiring to see what can be achieved in such a short time. The final artwork looks alive and I can imagine it animated for a movie.
John Chan (Swolf) also did his entire painting on Sunday. He usually works in acrylics but this time he did his work in oils. He said he was in “a Bill Murray mood” so chose to do this portrait based on an image from Lost In Translation. I watched him creating Bill Murray’s face from a blank oval as he added highlights and shadows, and as he built on the canvas it was almost like watching magic happen.
Nona Finne was also experimenting with oils in her painting of a woman rising from a mountain range. Between Friday and Sunday she added lots of layers and texture, and the sharpness on the woman’s face and mountain peaks contrasted with the blur of blue and orange surrounding them to create this dreamlike painting.
I was lucky to be able to be able to speak with Tomhas Rayment as he worked on his piece with Tombow brush pens and water. His work was expressive and open, and he knew exactly where to put each stroke intuitively and how the colours would blend. He showed me his technique and it was fascinating to watch him work. He talked to me about his career so far as an artist and designer and gave me a lot to think about.
Some of the other paintings I liked but wasn’t able to see in progress included the ones below. Unfortunately I don’t know all of the artists’ names but I am happy to add links if anyone reading does! The first canvas here was covered in glue drips then painted over to give a three dimensional effect that looks like rain streaming down a window. I spoke with the artist but unfortunately didn’t get her name, I really like her work here.
The milk piece on the left below is by graffiti and community artist Jon Lilly, but I don’t know who did the work on the right.
Studio 102 is one of my favourite places in Plymouth to visit, as it is always unpretentious and playful. It is just around the corner from all of the Plymouth College of Art campuses and I really recommend that everyone who likes art and illustration visits their exhibitions, you can follow their Facebook page for regular updates.
Plymouth College of Art (or PCA) is a local art college thats spans across three campuses, each with a different set of courses – Tavistock Place (Undergrad and Postgrad), Palace Studios (Foundation Diploma), and Palace Court (Pre-Degree). PCA always has really interesting and innovative projects for Plymouth Art Weekender, and they have almost always featured their own staff and students to show off their artwork.
For PAW ’18, in Palace Studios there was an exhibition of work made by Foundation Art & Design students called It WILL Change!. For this project, all the participating artists had to base their work around the theme for the exhibition – protest and activism. They had an extremely short amount of time to produce this work as a challenge, but were allowed to submit recent artwork that did play into the theme. I was really impressed about how well it came together and the variety of artwork. Here are a few of my favourites:
There was also a long piece of paper (called a “colouring wall”) stretched out on the floor that was filled with black and white doodle drawings to colour in. The project was intended to draw attention to how tools like colouring books are promoted as forms of therapy, but that they can’t be a substitute for professional care, which is difficult to access.
Dr. Antigoni Pasidi is a lecturer in Fine Art at PCA, and is also a visual artist herself. Her piece, Self Made Structures, is a sculptural installation incorporating screenprinting of photography and text on tarpaulin.
YEA ’18 visit from PCA Young Arts Club!
My group YEA Plymouth had our own event on Saturday comprising our exhibition of work by 11-19 year old artists YEA ’18, and also a workshop space with different creative activities. I will be writing all about this later, but for now I want to say how cool it was to have this year’s PCA National Saturday Club visit our event with their tutor Kate Marshall, especially as I am an alumni of NatSatClub myself (2016-17) when Kate was my own tutor.
It was really good to see her new class and to think they might enjoy or be inspired by the work I am doing now with other young artists. I hope some of them consider joining YEA and taking part in our future projects with us.
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!
The first exhibition I visited was Call & Response, our Art Weekender, a collaboration between Laura Hopes, Erin Bailey, Gem Smith, and pupils from High View and Prince Rock Primary Schools. There were cardboard boats, structures populated with tiny plastic people, and stories of sailors and pirates.
Next stop was Studio 102, to catch up on the Paint Jam.
I’ll be writing more about my trips to Studio 102 this weekend at a later date.
I then travelled to Stonehouse to visit RAAY (Royal Adelaide Art & Yoga). Here I peeked through black cardboard doors for glimpses of the rooms behind and the pieces of art dotted around them.
Next I made my way down to Union Street, stopping at the back gate of 36 Adelaide Street for an unusual and unexpected exhibition.
Union Street Party was absolutely heaving with people and things to see and do. the event is really built around family fun and my little sister had a great time.
Further down Union Street is The Clipper, where I stopped for handmade pizza from a stonebaking oven out the back, and also to try screenprinting with tips from Sue and Will Lewry.
Next stop was the Millenium Building which was open to the public. Upstairs was a huge audio visual installation by Ryoji Ikeda. I felt like I was watching a spaceship’s radar screen zooming through the galaxy.
Downstairs was another audiovisual installation, this time by Carl Slater.
On the way home we stopped by the Docwra Brothers garage to see Roy Christie’s Chrysler customisation project.
A few doors away is this mural at Street Factory where there is the opportunity to take great photos of your friends and family.
One more stop before home was a visit to KARST. The very much not family friendly I Am My Own Primal Parent exhibition was bizarre, hilarious, and disturbing, all at the same time. I would absolutely recommend visiting but not with young children (or if you are easily freaked out).
I stopped home for a short break, just long enough to start relaxing, befor I had to head back out to catch up once again on the Paint Jam at Studio 102. This is one of my favourite galleries in Plymouth so I wanted to make one last visit to finish my Weekender experience.
Outside I met Yannis Nicolaou, who I have been a fan of for a while, and he gave me the opportunity to try a little bit of spray painting, which I was really bad at! It was much more technical than I expected.. I have spray paints at home I was given a while ago that I want to try, but I never knew where to start.
There will be more posts to follow about parts of this weekend, I have a lot of photos to share and it was a great Weekender. I hope everyone else had a good time too, I’ll add links in here later but now it’s time for me to (finally) rest and play videogames!
This weekender is Plymouth Art Weekender 2018 – I will be covering it on this blog but I am off to a bad start as the past two days of PAW have been absolutely insane!
FRIDAY & SATURDAY
I’ll be writing more about the events I visited yesterday, but it’s late so for now here is a satirical piece of work from the It WILL Change! exhibition by Plymouth College of Art’s Foundation students at Palace Studios (open Fri-Sun 11-6pm)
I intended to post a blog in the evening but I went to the Opening Night for the Atlantic Project and watched Ryoji Ikeda’s Supercodex performance which was stupendous!
I couldn’t work late on my blog after that because I was up all night (well, until 3am) working on last minute preparations for YEA ’18, the first exhibition I have ever curated myself.
Tomorrow I’ll be blogging short updates from around the Weekender’s Sunday events, as well as posting up photos on Instagram. And then tomorrow evening I’ll be in here making a start on writing about my experiences over the whole weekend.
If you’re in Plymouth, you have one more day to take in this year’s Weekender!
I will be at The Clipper this week making badges, taking commissions and most importantly talking to people about YEA Plymouth our PAW 2018 project, and about the Plymouth Zine Library and zine workshops!
The Clipper is open to the public on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st July from 12-6pm, and Saturday will be a Community Open Day with food, music and activities. Come down and see what is going on and have a chat to me at 65 Union Street, Stonehouse PL1 3LU!
P.S. My poster was inspired by a detail in an amazing mural in The Clipper and the sign in the window:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 Bishop. I 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)
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.
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’sG 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!