Tuesday, 28 September 2010

AWARD - WINNER! Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck

We had a great time at the 2nd Whitechapel Gallery London Art Book Fair - lots of old friends and faces, some very promising new interest in the work for both of us.

Best moment for me was when my dear friend and co-exhibitor Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck was the recipient of a Birgit Skiƶld Memorial Trust Award from the selection panel (Richard Price, Head, Modern British Collections, The British Library, Elizabeth James, Documentation Manager, The National Art Library at the V&A, Gill Saunders, Curator of Prints at the V&A and Trust representatives Marc Balakjian and Victoria Bartlett).

This was for her new laser-cut volume 'Steam, Salt, Milk' - made in July at the laser-cutting facilities at the University of West England in Bristol with the skilled help of artist Tom Sowden.

Here are images of both winner and book – both beautiful.

See her website link in the right-hand list here on the blog of my inspirational things.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Oh, My Followers! A REMINDER -

Just a quick mention of an imminent event that I know you will all find a way to attend (but best not all crowd in at once as the venue only has a capacity of 650 and it wouldn't be fair on other exhibitors).
Despite the fact that several of you don't even live in London - one of you is across the Atlantic, and another in Oz - I KNOW you won't let me down!


will run from Friday to Sunday (24th to 26th September) between 11.00am and 6.00pm!!!
It's free admission and Mette Ambeck and I are at stand 88 on the 1st Floor, in the 2nd of the large gallery spaces.

Drop by and we shall shoot the toot and exchange money for beautiful things.
Best - M & M xxx

Saturday, 18 September 2010

ENSIXTEEN EDITIONS - THE BOOKS - bio auto graphic - 'A Place of Interest : Mapping Myself'

The final edition of the three produced between May 2009 and early Summer 2010 was this one - responding to an open call from the 2nd Doverodde Book Fair, in Denmark.
After last year's theme of 'Island' they had selected a curious symbol

– currently used to indicate 'A Place of Interest' in Scandinavian mapping and signage – but actually with a cultural provenance of half a millennia or more – as the focus.
My own modest piece is of particular note – in relation to the ongoing series and my creative agenda – because I was drawn to use a hand-printed component - a very messy hands-on image, made with cut corrugated card, roller and printer's ink.
I can't say why I was moved to use this method - but I think I instinctively wanted a more random, distressed, textured feel to my own visual interpretation of the symbol at the core of the project. Something that would imply the rigours of passing time perhaps?

Once printed on the fly during my lunch hour at college - my own secret intervention in our new Print Area - I then took the image through the lovely Quick Gratification Machine (AKA photocopier) to duplicate, before remixing it in a cut-and-paste fashion with the hand-drawn artwork.
With each new edition of 'bio auto graphic' I have tried to incorporate something new in format or visual approach, so this fitted that personal remit nicely.

Return from the Americas - a mind-expanding 2010 jaunt

This image was taken while my partner Mette-Sofie D. Ambeck and I paused on an already hot Sunday, just before 12 of the mid-day clock, in the splendid little town of Northampton, Massachusetts. We had already travelled many, many miles – from the horizontal rain and 40 mph winds of Boston to the quiet suburbs of Nashua, New Hampshire and the bizarro shennanigans at the Duchess County Fair in the Hudson Valley, NY State (Funnel Pie and a Pig Race anyone?). . . Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
Our heartfelt thanks to our various hosts - Kay and Faith and Brian and Martin, Nina and Gigi - and my thanks to dearest Mette.

The world's big and it's all too easy to forget it.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

ENSIXTEEN EDITIONS - THE BOOKS - 'Night and Day/Day and Night'

As one of the invited speakers at Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘The Story of Things’ conference on narrative – in all kinds of formats and manifestations – I reviewed my working process, inspirations and agenda in a tight twenty-minute slot.
The event tied to a wonderful exhibition of the same name which local artists and collaborators Jonathan Carson and Rosie Miller (AKA Carson & Miller) had curated – an ‘artistic intervention’ of sorts in which they sought to juxtapose elements from MMU’s impressive and exotic Special Collection. Ceramics, stage wigs, fascinating film from the North West Film Archive (researched with the help of Marion Hewitt). . . all contributed to a genuine ‘cabinet of curiousities’.
Each speaker drew from their own field (journalism, photography, archaeology) in a discussion of their relationship to storytelling, with the usual mix of artist/practitioners and academics/researchers.
I felt I did a pretty reasonable job of stating my case, and had created such a ruthlessly stripped-down ‘script’ for the day that I was able to relish the speaking of the words – the performative aspect of public presentations that has consolidated through years of tutoring and which I really enjoy. I was able to take pauses and let the audience (academics, artists, librarians et al.) appreciate the details from the images I had selected.
While talking I surprised myself with how passionately I felt about the Ensixteen range of issues. Creatively I have to ask myself if these books – these modest paper testaments to what I see as the higher qualities and baser instincts of life – are the thing of me that might outlive me?
My testament?
(Never underestimate the ego of an artist.)
They’re a humble mark on the cave wall, certainly, but I can’t say I feel any particular comparable pride in all the many, many published pieces I made in my years as an illustrator, or the countless frames of the storyboards I made in film and television.

Why don’t I seek out a more professional, broader outlet for the work If they’re so important to me, you may ask?

All I can say in my defense is this: I feel I stepped out on a journey with Ensixteen’s ‘bio auto graphic’ series and the road’s still stretching away into the distance with no end in sight – and that’s good. I literally don’t know where I’m going with it all. But that’s not a cause for fretting. The unexpected is good in this context.
Everything’s copacetic.
I am touched by the enthusiasm of readers, enjoy the act of surrendering to instincts honed over a lifetime and excited by the experience. I feel in many ways they – the books – express my drawing skills at their peak after such a long time allowing them to be shaped by professional, commercial contexts.
Don’t get me wrong, I always felt great pleasure at the delivery of a job – a craftsman’s pride in his trade, perhaps – but as many a poor movie trailer has said: This time it’s personal (in that stupid husky voice, you know the guy).

Anyway, as a gift to the delegates I made a freeform, curate’s egg of thing – a new edition called ‘Day and Night/Night and Day’ which sought to offer a 24-hour record of my head/thoughts – weaving up into the conscious world from sleep and on through typical varied episodes in a day. The parallel upper and lower segments of the page attempted to get across the endless, intertwined strands of our outer and inner selves. It’s dense and highly experimental in the way it juxtaposes images and words.
I was rather pleased with it, and have since made a 2nd edition for wider distribution at book fairs.