Categories
Artist Research

The Pansy Project

The Pansy Project was founded in Manchester by Paul Harfleet. Harfleet plants pansies at the site of homophobic abuse; he finds the nearest source of soil to where the incident occurred and generally without civic permission plants one unmarked pansy. The pansy is then documented in its location, the image is entitled after the abuse. Titles like “Let’s kill the Bati-man!” and “Fucking F*ggot!” convey the reality of LGBTQ+ experience, which often goes unreported. This simple action operates as a gesture of quiet resistance; some pansies flourish, others wilt.

Paul Harfleet began by planting pansies to mark his own experience of homophobia on the streets of Manchester UK, he now plants pansies for others both on an individual basis and as part of various festivals and events. Pansies are a flower, which have gay associations. However, the word pansy is derived from the French verb, penser, which means ‘to think’.

Here are a couple of examples of the pansies throughout the UK.

“I’m not racist, I tell jokes about poofs too” From Bernard Manning, North Pier, Blackpool
“Fucking F*ggot!” London Bridge, London
“Punched” For James Parkes, Stanley Street, Liverpool

The Pansy Project is very touching and moving. As A LGBTQ+ Artist myself, I tend to use my homophobic experience in a more satire, tounge in cheek way, but after viewing Harfleets work it has moved me to reclaim back these experiences into something more empowering for those going through or have experienced the same. It is great seeing a peaceful protest to raise awareness about such things still happening around the world and even in the UK where homosexuality is legal and celebrated.

Coming up is May 17th.

May 17 is The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Here are a couple of links if you, or someone you know is struggling with some of these heavy subjects.

LGBT FOUNDATION

Information for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans communities on sexual health, wellbeing, groups and events, Manchester.
Website https://lgbt.foundation

STONEWALL UK

Stonewall working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and trans people.
Website www.stonewall.org.uk

MESMAC

A group of sexual health, support and information projects working with Gay and Bisexual men in the region.
Website mesmac.co.uk

Categories
Artist Research My Work

Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape | Andy Holden

Andy Holden is an artist whose work includes sculpture, large installations, painting, music, performance, animation and multi-screen videos.

From 2011 until 2017 Holden worked on Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape, described by The Art Newspaper as an “epic and widely acclaimed masterpiece”. The work is an hour-long animated film, narrated by the artist Andy Holden as a cartoon character, in which the world is declared to have become a cartoon, and cartoon physics is used as a way of understanding the world. The work also sees the limitless possibilities of today’s world through the prism of ten ‘motion laws’ delivered in a tone that is part-lecture, part-documentary and part-conspiracy theory. Laws such as “Everything falls faster than an anvil” and “Anybody suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation”, are mixed with Greek myths, philosophy, politics, physics and the history of animation.

Andy Holden: Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape (Still)
Andy Holden: Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape (Still)
Andy Holden: Laws of Motion in a Cartoon Landscape (Still)

Animation of an alternate world is something I have explored within my own practise with 3:06 AM. 3:06AM is a 2 Minute 39 Second Song alongside a hand drawn stop motion animated music video. The song and video represents the sleep cycle and the current situation we are in of Covid-19, only seeing a loved one within dreams until the dream switches to something else. Something Scary. The Sound is designed to be heard with both ears to create an immersive experience and play with your senses of not knowing where the vocals and sounds are coming from. It will work best with earphones or headphones. The video sticks to a very consistent style of animation and illustration throughout the video, edited for a dream like but abstract feel.

WARNING: Strobe Lights, Arachnophobia and Trypophobia

Categories
Artist Research

Mike Kelley | Artist Research

Mike Kelley was an American artist regarded as one of the most influential members of the Conceptual Art movement. Kelley’s work was often both playful and grotesque, using found objects like stuffed animals, knickknacks, and child-like drawings. This evoked the audience of the feeling of the unknown. Something similar to the work I create for an audience reaction or the small details featured within my work. Whether the blurred lines between censorship or homosexual erotica, and the murder mystery of ‘Revenge Is Better Than Masturbation.’

 “I think they’re really standardized kinds of repressed things in the culture— embarrassing things, like sexual dysfunction and the scatological,” he once said of his subject matter.

The Trajectory of Light in Plato’s Cave
1985/1986

The Trajectory of Light in Plato’s Cave is an immersive interactive exhibition exploring the human body. On entry, as it is a cave, one must crawl through a paper mache entry and be welcomed by a view of the image above. Then one has to pass through a curtain with a vertical red slit, like the opening of a vagina. Opposite of this are two other pictures hung. In one of them we can see an impression of Kelley’s body, in the other images that look like a Rorschach test. On the opposite side to the entrance, a fake fireplace raised up like an altar; at the sides large sheets of coloured material that might recall Mark Rothko. The colour of each one corresponds to the colour of a bodily fluid: excrement, urine, semen, blood.

Kelley calls into question the seriousness with which art, knowledge and politics. More than that, physicality overpowers everything: themes of sex are constantly present within this, metaphorically, in bodily fluids, in figures from psychoanalysis and, of course in the vagina that we have to go through to enter the cave.

Categories
Artist Research

Guy Oliver | Artist Research

Guy Oliver was born in London, 1982. Oliver currently lives and works in Margate. Oliver’s practice within the arts features video as well as text, painting, collage and performance.

‘And You Thought I Was Bad?’ was a solo exhibition in 2018, London. Oliver researches and portrays artwork exploring themes of the relationship between comedy and tragedy within contemporary popular culture.

Oliver’s single-screen projection, And You Thought I was Bad, is surrounded by three wall-based works, paintings with accumulations of objects now associated with the 1990s and early 2000s. Throughout the video, the artist takes on the role of a TV host or arts reporter, leading the audience through a storyline that tells a story of his protest t-shirt project and its inability to actually happen. The film cuts to a quick montage of news clips from the time, including Michael Jackson, Hurricane Katrina, Osama Bin Laden’s arrest, and George W. Bush. Is Oliver’s ideas as bad as what these people did?

Pop Culture and the satire humour is something I have previously explored within my work from Censorship Sucks (2019), 03:06am (2020) and Revenge Is Better Than Masturbation (2021).

Oliver explores American Presidential figures, the cultural importance of Johnny Cash, and how the history of his own life has become entangled with recent socio-political global events, charting the surreal links between art and modern politics through a sort of mangled personal nostalgia.

Check out more of Guy Oliver and his work via the link!

Guy Oliver, And You Thought I Was Bad? Installation view, Zabludowicz Collection Invites solo exhibition, London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo Tim Bowditch
Guy Oliver, And You Thought I Was Bad?, 2018 (still)
Categories
Artist Research

Bein Art Gallery

Bein Art Gallery recently featured a miniature art exhibition on their website with miniature artworks able to be bought from a plethora of many different artists.

Bein Art Gallery described the exhibition which ran from 8th to the 25th of March, “the magic is in the invitation extended to the viewer to reimagine the world on an entirely different scale, one in which even Thumbelina might be considered a giant.”

The show was co-curated by master miniaturist Joshua Smith, who has built sculptures of urban decay, made principally of cardboard, fibre and paint and been shown internationally.

Here are a few selections of the artwork which were featured:

Vildan Hoşbak – “Toilet”- mixed media, scratch built
Joshua Smith – “68 Bolesława Limanowskiego”- scratch built miniature made from MDF, balsa wood, styrene, plaster, wire, acrylic paint, weathering pigment
Steve Casino – “Beatle Breath”- polymer clay, acrylics and Tic Tac container
Categories
Artist Research

Rhythm 0 | Marina Abramović

Between 1973-1974, Abramović performed five pieces in which she tested the mental and physical limitations of her own body. This series of performances, called “Rhythms,” represent Abramović’s turn away from more traditional media of painting or drawing, to instead focus on the use of her own body as art. Today I will be looking at Rhythm 0.

In 1974, Abramovic exhibited Rhythm 0. Abramović had a long table in front of her made up of 72 items spread out with a white tablecloth. The items on the table included a gun and bullet, roses, lipstick, an axe, an apple, and perfume, to name a few.

Alongside, laid instructions which explained ‘There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me… I am the object. During this period, I take full responsibility’

For six hours, Abramovic subjected herself to the visitors, which allowed the public to do as they pleased to her.

Abramović said that at first visitors were peaceful and shy, but quickly became violent: ′′The experience I learned was that… if you leave the decision to the public, you might be killed… I felt very violated. They cut my clothes, put rose thorns in my belly, one person pointed the gun at my head, and another pulled the gun out close. This created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I got up and started walking towards the public. Everyone ran away, escaping from a real confrontation.“

The impact this exhibition and meaning had and still has to this day is so influential on the art scene in today’s society. Exploring the capacity of a human to embody the mental processes of conceptual art. The significance of Rhythm 0 represented and influenced artwork today showing how the body is used to reveal hidden meanings and trauma is presented as a form of sculptural language.

Categories
Artist Research

Inspiration: Mike Nelson, “The Coral Reef”

The Coral Reef has also been a massive inspiration to me during the process of creating my End Of Year piece. As previously mentioned in the blog in earlier posts, I love the ideology of an immersive art space and everything that can transport you into a new place or looking at things through someone else’s eyes. Growing up, I loved fun houses, and maybe this is where my love for immersive spaces has stemmed from.
My end-of-year piece subconsciously takes inspiration from Nelson’s work with miniature rooms and putting yourself into someone else’s shoes when looking at things. I also took inspiration from songwriters such as Taylor Swift when she wrote Folklore and Evermore and the wrote stories from other peoples perspectives, and there is something about this idea that fascinates me. When looking back at my work this there is a thread which links my work and academic work, which is the persona of the artist, and to see this all come together is fascinating and amazing to witness it unfold in front of me.

The Coral Reef 2000 is a huge architectural installation consisting of fifteen rooms with connecting corridors. The Coral Reef displays signs of occupation and use within the rooms of the exhibition – the rooms contain furniture and various objects, while some lights and screens have been left switched on – the questionable inhabitants of the depilated spaces are nowhere to be seen. Only other visitors are encountered along the way, and it is unclear from the range of items in each room – which visitors are not allowed to touch – who the occupants might be or what they might do. Several of the rooms are loosely themed: there is a security surveillance office, a mechanic’s garage, a room littered with drug paraphernalia, a wood-panelled lobby decorated with Americana and other spaces containing various items including advertisements for a religious gathering, Soviet English-language propaganda, a toy gun, a clown mask and an empty sleeping bag. The final room of the installation is an exact replica of the waiting room that appeared at the beginning.

Most of the installation is made up of found objects collected by the artist. Nelson has explained that the work came about. “From repeatedly walking past a mini-cab office around the corner from where I was living in Balham [in London]. The aesthetic was interesting because of the makeshift way such spaces were built and then inhabited. There’d be only a few objects or posters, but through them you could both recognise that these people were quite transient in terms of what they were doing there and also get an idea of what their identity was.”

The title of the work, The Coral Reef, refers to the large natural structures under the sea. Nelson has connected this to the underlying structures of beliefs – whether religious, political, social, or economic – that individuals hold in a mostly subconscious way. – The Tate

Categories
Artist Research

Inspiration: Awesome, Thanks AKA Devin Smith

While I was scrolling on Instagram, I came across a miniature version of the ‘Werk Room’ entrance of Ru Pauls Drag Race on my explore page. I was absolutely fascinated by how someone has managed to create such detail on such a small scale. I clicked on the profile, and it was Awesome, Thanks. I was blown away by what I was looking at! Miniature silkscreen printing (which works), Tiny glory holes, bathroom cubicles, and other small scenes. Awesome, Thanks is owned by Devin Smith, who is a miniature artist based in Wisconsin and is featured in “Ripley’s Believe it or not” for the world’s smallest silkscreen! Straight away, I was inspired and wanted to create something miniature and immersive. I previously tried something like this back in September with a project called Identity, which Locke and Key inspired. It was a one-minute video of what I expected my brain to look like. I thought it looked a little arts and crafts as I had a haul in Poundland and went crazy with random bits and bobs.
Smith got into creating miniatures back in 2013 for a T-shirt factory he worked for during the summer. On the last day of the summer, he used some cardboard, went home, and started to construct a miniature version of the T-shirt factory itself. Five months later… it was finished, and he had the opportunity to go back to the T-shirt factory and give it to everyone there as a Christmas present. It sits there today in the front showroom for every customer to come in and enjoy. (I took this from an Interview with Daily Mini)
I love his story of creating something, and he previously said in an interview with Daily Mini that “You can make one incredible giant thing and take up an entire room, or you can make thousands of tiny things.”

I got the chance to message back and forth with Devin, he described his to me and what he hopes to achieve. “With my work, I like to capture a specific moment in time. A moment that means something special to me, and hopefully through the expression of my art, means something to someone else as well. Creating a link, a connection, a conversation between me and my works admirers.”

Check Awesome, Thanks out on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/awesome__thanks/?hl=en

Categories
Artist Research My Work

The Holy Art Exhibition

On the 27th of January 2021 I was lucky enough to get my ‘On Entry’ work featured within The Holy Art Identity virtual exhibition and E – Catalogue.

I found this exhibition through an Instagram advert which came up and was followed by a few artists I follow who have previously exhibited with The Holy Art.

The Holy Art has a main studio in Hackney Downs Studio, London and seems a fairly new studio and seems to be growing with each exhibition they put on!

Please feel free to look through their website and their collections and see if you can spot my work in Room One and on Page 33 of the catalogue.

THE HOLY ART – Artists Opportunities