Monday, 19 November 2012

Studies for housing series

I'm currently working on some studies for the housing series,  I'm still not quite sure how I want these to look but I'm starting to visualize quite large pieces.  I like the mark making in this most recent piece and I feel that this could be explored and developed further on a larger scale.  

After alot of deliberation about whether to put text on these I've decided against it, using text was always my 'formula', and a really simple way to be direct about the points I was making in my work.  However I think a poignant title can be just as powerful, in a subtle and perhaps more effective way.

I love Charming Baker's paintings, and his titles are really effective in adding further dimension to each piece.  When I look at a painting by him and then read the title, I start to visualize something else and reflect on alot more than just the image I am looking at.

Charming Baker: 
'My Weakness is Invariably Stronger Than I Am' 
Oil on Linen 2010

Charming Baker: 
'Just Because Everything is Different Doesn't Mean Anything Has Changed' 
Oil on Linen 2012

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The rents just keep on rising...

I made a piece of work about the issues surrounding the housing rental market in London afew years ago, but with the situation now far worse, recently I've been feeling the need to make another series of paintings about this subject.

I've been reading several articles and reports with the aim of gathering information and figures relating to the private rental market and how the prices compare to average incomes.

'Private rents rose at an average annual equivalent of 7% across London in 2011'
'The rate of inflation on London private rents is 1.8 times greater than the rate of inflation on the average London wage'
'In contrast to the rises in rents, average London wages have fallen for a number of key worker professions'

Quotes from a document produced by the charity Shelter: London Rent watch: Rent inflation and Affordability in London's private rental market

Alongside the research I'm doing, I am also collecting images taken of actual adverts in estate agents windows.  These will eventually form the basis of this new series of paintings.


£599 per week for this?! So you would need to be earning far more than the average salary to afford 2.6k in rent aswell as bills and other monthly outgoings... 
and you wouldn't even be living in a nice home!

 This 'stunning two bedroom apartment' doesn't look worth £327 per week to me...

'Gorgeous one bed flat' ?! £319 per week!

I've started working on some studies for the paintings, I'm not sure how I will paint them eventually so for now I'm experimenting, researching and collecting adverts from estate agents windows - which in this climate are not in short supply!

I'd looked at afew different artists work, George Shaw, some Lucian Freud amongst others.  A friend suggested I look at Walter Sickert's interiors, I really like his paintings but hadn't considered looking at them for this series.

I thought the painting titled 'Jack the Rippers Bedroom' could almost be one of those advertsIts just missing a price tag of £450 per week....

 'Ennui' Walter Sickert 1914

'The Camden Town Murder' (ironically this piece was previously titled 'What shall we do to pay the rent'!) Walter Sickert 1908

'Jack the Rippers Bedroom' Walter Sickert 1908

Monday, 17 September 2012

Exhibition at Nunhead Cemetry for Open House Weekend - Plus some other news

This weekend I will be exhibiting three new paintings for the first time at the restored Anglican chapel in Nunhead Cemetary in Brockley, South London.

Diamond Decades is an exhibition celebrating the Queens Jubilee, curated by Jolanta Jagiello.  There are 16 artists involved: Jill Rock, Sally Buchanan, Lorenzo Belenguer, Mike Hoath, Jolanta Jagiello, Elisabetta Chojak-Mysko, Jo Nicholson Smith, Twinkle Troughton, Ana Moradian, Anna Whyatt, Will Parker, Derek Miles, Ahmed Faroqui, Abilene and Mary Pritchard.

'Nunhead is a magnificent Victorian cemetry with gothic chapel and ruined lodge.  One of London's Wildest and most overgrown cemetries, a square mile of inner city forest, unique in London - 50 acres of wilderness complete with bats, owls, foxes and squirrels.'

Open House London

22nd/23rd September is Open House weekend, where hundreds of venues across London open their doors to visitors.  I'm delighted to be taking part in the Diamond Decades exhibition, and showing work in this unique and fascinating historical setting.

Nunhead Cemtetry

Linden Grove 
22nd-23rd September
11am - 5pm

Stepney Green Design Collection

The wonderful Katie Antoniou is curating a very interesting project for VIVO London :The Stepney Green Design Collection was commissioned to coincide with the launch of VIVO's new housing development.  Katie has selected works from ten creative people living in East London, read more about all of the participating artists on her blog London Plinth

Myself and Twinkle Troughton were invited to create a collaborative piece for the project, we have been busy working on this over the last couple of weeks.  The Stepney Green Design Collection will be launched in the next few weeks, more info, pics of the piece and details of the launch to follow soon.

Exhibition in Vienna 2013

In June next year, Twinkle and I will be exhibiting at the Michaela Stock Galerie in Vienna! They approached us after seeing our Mini Retrospective duo show at A-side B-side Gallery this summer.  We are both delighted to have been given this opportunity, I can't wait to take our exhibition to a brand new city! with a vibrant art scene and rich in history and culture.  Dates and info to follow soon!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Collaboration with Art Star in the USA

I was recently approached by US based, as they were interested in collaborating with me to produce some limited edition prints, and I am pleased to announce that my profile page went live today! is an innovative website providing a platform for emerging artists with the aim of linking them with collectors, it offers affordable limited edition prints aswell as original pieces. There is some really good work on the site, including online exhibitions too, their current exhibition 'The Cuba Collection' is worth a look.

I'm really excited to be working with the lovely people at Art Star and showing some of my work to a new audience.  The two works they selected: 'If I snogged Nicolas Serota' and 'If I snogged Jay Jopling' are paintings which I made in 2007, and it feels like they are now being given a new lease of life.  Its good to be able to show them in a new context and I'm thrilled that they will now be available as prints.

And info from their mailout below:

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Mini Retrospective and Kidnapping a Banker

A Mini Retrospective is the recent duo show of mine and Twinkle Troughton's work.  Spanning 6 years, the exhibition features previously unseen works and a selection from the back catalogue.  The show was held at A-side B-side Gallery July 5th - July 19th (The art space and studios I recently established with Catherine Magnani).  Although it is now officially closed to the public the work will still be installed for the next couple of weeks, and you are more than welcome to make an appointment to come and see the show.

Although retrospectives traditionally come at the end of an artist's career, both myself and Twinkle felt that we wanted to put on a retrospective exhibition.  From a personal perspective the opportunity to see works from 2007-2012 all assembled in the same room (in roughly chronological order), was really helpful.  Being able to have an overview of the progression and different areas of interest I have been exploring helped me to re-assess where I am now with my work and where I want to go next.  From the audience point of view we both felt it would be really interesting for people to see the development of our ideas, and chose to install the show in a chronological way to reflect this, we also produced an accompanying catalogue in true Tate style! The catalogue offered insight into each and every piece in the exhibition, this will be available to view online very soon.

Myself and Twinkle work as individual artists but we share similar motivations and creative concerns, social and political themes dominate the exhibition, illustrating our quest to highlight, expose and question, and to bring contemporary issues to the forefront.

Kidnapping a Banker

Although we work separately, we occasionally collaborate on interactive art pieces, for the exhibition me and Twinkle decided to Kidnap a Banker.  Similar to our previous collaborations 'Opinionated Objects' and our Traffic Warden free art giveaway, Kidnapping a Banker was all about public interaction and in this case responding to the issue of the economic crisis.  We waited outside RBS with some fishing nets and a sack, capturing a banker and holding him to ransom for the duration of the private view.  On arrival guests were given Tinsel & Twinkle bank notes, and asked to write their thoughts, solutions and opinions about the recession and the banking situation onto these notes, which were then pinned around the banker forming an insightful display which developed and grew throughout the exhibition.  It was all very tongue in cheek, and it was not about having a vendetta against bankers - far from it, the banker kidnap was all about bringing an issue which is forefront in the media and in politics, into an artistic arena.  To encourage debate and to give people the opportunity to voice their feelings and opinions in an arena which is ultimately about the freedom of expression.

We will be gathering the bank notes together and documenting it all online shortly, there are some fascinating and insightful comments.  It was quite an amazing coincidence that the Barclay's scandal and the rigging of the libor rates became headline news that same week! meaning that feelings and thoughts surrounding the banking situation were forefront in people's minds.

The exhibition was in support of Shelter, a charity providing not only help for the homeless but housing advice, we chose Shelter because they are a wonderful charity providing support to people who's lives have been directly affected by this recession. The show was featured in Zeitgeist Magazine, FAD and Hackney Gazette, you can also read interviews with us on Run Riot, Trebuchet and Amelia's magazine.


Run Riot:



Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Details from a Work in Progress

Not sure of the title yet, but this new piece is about the increasing wealth divide in the UK.  

I need to get it finished in time for the Tinsel & Twinkle Mini Retrospective at A-side B-side Gallery, July 5th!! 

Here are some snippets, not the best pics, just snapshots taken on my phone:

And some studies inspired by a medieval illustration by Peter Van Heyden:

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A-side B-side Gallery in Dazed and Confused this month

This months issue of Dazed and Confused magazine asks 'Is East London Dead?' They interviewed all sorts of creative people local to the area: artists, fashion designers, illustrators, artists, musicians, independent labels....and loads more.

In light of the forthcoming olympics the changing landscape, rising rents and the future for creatives in East London is a forefront issue.  

We were delighted to be invited by Dazed to take part!  They came to A-side B-side to take the pic back in Feb, an off the cuff decision by brilliant photgrapher Jamie hawkesworth led to myself and Catherine being photographed with all the builders and electricians working at Hackney Downs Studios at the time.  (Thanks to all the builders who agreed to be in it!)

The issue is out in the shops now, you can read the full interview on Dazed Digital

Following this we were asked onto Dazed's live radio show with Strongroom Alive, we were interviewed by deputy editor Tim Noakes,  you can listen to it on the Strongroom Alive site (we are on around 1.12 or so...)

The same show also features Dazed editor Rod Stanley discussing the thinking behind the issue and Theo Mass, the masked cover star.  (he had swapped his diamante mask for THIS AMAZING gold number).

Thanks Dazed...!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Some of my favourite mark-makers...

In the last couple of years one of the things I have really been working on is trying to develop my painting technique and style.  

I still want to make protest paintings, and I will still incorporate text, but I want my paintings to be less illustrative and more gestural.  My previous style seemed to work, but I realised that I was really missing painting painting (if that makes sense?!). I am so excited by the materiality of the paint and its endless possibilities as a medium, and even though I'm not quite sure where that fits in to my work conceptually, it is an area I really want to explore.

After many years of working in acrylics, three years ago I decided it was TIME FOR A CHANGE! and upgraded to higher quality paints, extended my colour palette, bought a whole load of new brushes and started working with oils.  I began exploring different techniques and ways of applying the paint. This way of working is actually much more intuitive to me personally as an artist, and is in fact similar to the way I used to work years ago. 

 Three years later I am looking at a lot of pieces which I don't want to exhibit, lots more of which have gone in the bin!  But I feel I'm on the right path somehow...

Every now and again I love looking at other artists work purely for their mark-making, forgetting about ideas and content and purely enjoying looking at their use of paint.  Here are a few I thought I would share: (I would love to be posting some of my own new paintings alongside, but they don't exist yet!)

‘The Teacher Sub A’
Marlene Dumas

Red and blue faces….amazing! love how she paints

‘Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pop Innocent X’
Francis Bacon

All those dry brush marks, the direction and energy…Bacon manages to use paint to create something otherworldly, for me, he is one THE best adverts for the power of painting.

Wilhelm Sasnal

Simplicity of the figure in contrast to the rough/sketchy lines and squiggles of paint.  I like the way Wilhelm Sasnal's work is often political but in such a quiet and understated way.

Walnut Trees
David Hockney

Man of the moment…
I started to like Hockney's work when I first saw some amazing portraits of his mum at the National Portrait Gallery.  After that I saw a documentary which showed some footage of him painting some of his new landscapes – I was in awe of it! – just watching his handling of the paint.  I love the bold, simple and confident quality of the line and how intuitively he paints these landscapes.

 (Don't know the title of this!)
Thomas Gainsborough

I’ve been working on some portraits for a while now, and came across Gainsborough through research, I keep returning to the images in fascination. When you look at the paintings up close there is such a contrast between the static porcelain like faces, and the sketchy playful mark making of the background and the fabrics, I love that about his work.

'Gerard Malanga'
Alice Neel

Love the ease and simplicity of Alice Neel’s style, her paintings have so much humanity and emotion.

Would have been good if I could have included some more women painters, why is it that so many of the famous ones are men? On that note...I'm off to think about my next painting.

Thanks for reading!   xxx

Monday, 30 January 2012

2012 so far....

I can't believe January is almost over already!

So far 2012 has been a good year....!  The London Calling show at OCCCA in California has had some brilliant reviews, you can read a review which features my Shoebox painting in Zeitgeist Magazine, written by Nicola Anthony here

30 London based artists shipped their work over to California for London Calling, the ambitious group exhibition at the Orange County Centre for Contemporary Art.  

I have also just exhibited some pieces at IMPRINT, at The Serpentine Gallery Centre for Possible Studies,  put together by Francesca Goodwin and The Fabelist community You can read more about Imprint in Trebuchet magazine

However for the majority of January I have been busy in the studio working away on a series of new pieces.  One large piece I am working on looks at the problem of the growing wealth divide in the UK, and in Western civilizations generally.  The transience of life is a recurrent theme in my work at the moment, therefore this piece takes its starting reference from a medieval painting by Peter Breughal: 'The Triumph of Death'.  The painting is also inspired by a wide variety of sources, Victorian poverty paintings, the Kinks lyrics, the occupy movement, pre-revolutionary figures, and Canary Wharf amongst other things.  I haven't quite worked out what the text on this one will be yet...

My work seems to be getting more and more SERIOUS these last couple of years...I guess SERIOUS times require SERIOUS paintings!!!