International Postcard Show: Artist Interview

ARTIST: NICKI MCNANEY

I lecture at the University of Derby in Illustration and set up the Wooden Dog Press with my friend & colleague, illustrator, Richard Levesley, to document some of our professional practice and to share our common interest in drawing, storytelling, and printmaking.

The Night Siren print derived from an artist book I have been creating for the Pages Book Fair 2017, Leeds which initially was inspired by the title “ Mermaids are Always Welcome” and the curious nature of the mythical creaturese and lure of the mermaids to sea fairing sailors. I am interested in creating a backstory and narrative to even a simple illustration and hope that the audience will also create their own interpretation of what they feel the characters and environments communicate.

My work consists of a series of personal and collaborative illustration projects in which I investigate aspects of artifacts, collections, curation and curiosity. My most recent work creates visual hybrids where one element is shown in proximity or even blended with another object or character. I invite people to consider their own narrative and to react to what they are shown. My work aims to create curiosity from the ordinary and less seen. I test the notion that the collection of objects, character and the environment they exist in, is thought provoking and that narrative value is subjective.

I prefer to work in silkscreen, mono-print and collage, as the processes offer the opportunity to create textures, mark making and layering of colour that I seek to enhance the uniqueness and individuality of the publications and the final prints. I am interested in challenging traditional processes and exploring their application in artists book, print and in this case the postcard format.

 

Website: www.woodendogpress.ac.uk

Website: http://www.derby.ac.uk

Twitter @derbyillustrate

Interview by Dominique Mitchell (Writer in Residence)

International Postcard Show: Artist Interview

ARTIST:: ADAM BRANT

 

Introduce yourself and your art.

I’m a visual artist specialising in painting and drawing.  My work explores the relationship between the past, present and future.  I’m influenced by the tradition of still-life painting, and use objects and environments as starting-points to create images which investigate space and time.

 

I graduated with a Fine Art degree in 2002 from the University of Hull (Scarborough Campus).  I can recommend studying by the seaside – it’s as fun as it sounds!

 

During my studies I was lucky enough to spend a month at the Cyprus College of Art as part of a student exchange programme.  Finding inspiration in the ways the modern world impacted the ancient history of the island helped me to establish my identity as an artist.

 

My art practice can generally be divided into two work streams:

-  Conceptual series of work created in response to a theme (over months and years)

- Observational one-off work created in response to an object or image (over a few days).

 

Where/How did you develop the idea for your postcard?

‘Taut’ was inspired by receiving a Spirograph set as a Christmas present.  I often receive art related gifts (including art materials and books, as well as completely unexpected items such as an Etch A Sketch and the Spirograph!).

 

The idea for the postcard developed after seeing the Spirograph back in the art studio alongside other more traditional artist materials.

 

What was your intention for your postcard?

Over recent years I’ve been exploring different ways to combine painting and drawing within a single art work.  The intention was to challenge myself to use the Spirograph as the starting-point for the postcard as part of this exploration.  I didn’t use a Spirograph when I was young (I’m discounting trying out my sisters when she wasn’t looking!), so the aim was to see what I could make out of my unskilled efforts in using this new tool.

 

Is this your first exhibition and if yes, how do you feel about it?

This is not my first exhibition, but it is the first time my work is being exhibited in 2017!  It’s always exciting to be involved in a group show and see your art alongside the work of others.  It’s also a great way to connect with like-minded and supportive creative people.

 

My work has been exhibited in various locations across the UK, as well as in Norway and America (and is currently more well-travelled than I am!).

 

It can be daunting getting your work out there. I’ve been both successful and unsuccessful when submitting work for exhibition.  My advice to anybody creating art work is:

-  Do it because you love it.  If your work becomes recognised and appreciated by others that is great, but don’t let be the reason you produce work

-  Don’t be disillusioned if your work isn’t always successful.  Learn from previous experiences and stay inspired – you never know what exciting opportunities that next piece of work might lead you to…

 

Does your postcard have any connection to today’s world?

My work expresses experiences of space and time, and how these experiences impact how we connect to the world around us.

 

I join objects that already exist in the world from the past and present together for the first time.  By expressing my personal response to that connection, a new object is created with its own future in the world.  ‘Taut’ is no exception and represents:

-  The past (a plastic monster figure collected from a cereal box as a child)

-  The present (the Spirograph received as a Christmas present)

- The future (the postcard itself).

 

What artists inspire you?

I’m inspired by many different artists but if I had to pick one it would have to be Jenny Saville.  You can get a sense of the history of painting within Saville’s work so it also reminds me of other artists who inspire me such as Seventeenth century Dutch still-life painters, Picasso, and Lucien Freud.

 

The commitment of Saville to painting and drawing techniques fascinates me.  I treated myself to an expensive book about her work many years ago (I couldn’t really afford at the time, but it was a great investment). It has fantastic close-up photographs of the brushwork within her paintings.

 

I always turn to this book whenever something isn’t going well with my own work, and it usually leads me to resolving whatever artistic challenge I was facing.

 

What research do you do for your art works?

Research for my art work tends to be focused on local history, supernatural phenomenon, and my day-to-date interactions with the world around me.  This informs the theory of my work and provides visual inspiration.

 

My methods of researching vary - from looking-up information on the intranet, to visiting local libraries, to taking photographs of places I visit.

 

I love stationery so have more notebooks than is necessary to write down ideas and record information.  I tend to capture visual research information using a digital or phone camera as it is so convenient.  These have gradually replaced keeping a more traditional sketchbook.

 

I aspire to get back to keeping a sketchbook as they are a great archive of source material (I still refer to ideas from sketchbooks I created during my student days).

 

Do you have a creative routine/pattern?

I have a full-time office job to ensure the bills are paid so my art practice is planned around this.  It can be challenging juggling work, family and social commitments with time spent in the art studio.  Finding a healthy balance isn’t always easy.

 

I try to ensure I have a balanced schedule of time in the studio with time spent away from my art work.  Despite this I do still sometimes fall victim to deadline pressures (and have been known to stay up for 24 hours to get an art work finished!).

 

In the past I would feel guilty about not producing art work at every opportunity.  Now I have a more realistic routine of making sure I do at least one activity related to my art practice each day.  This can range from:

-  A few minutes spent updating my website or social media pages

-  A few hours spent researching concepts or sketching out ideas

-  A whole a day spent totally absorbed in painting a canvas.

 

It’s amazing what progress can be made from even doing only one task each day.

 

What are you trying to communicate with your postcard?

There isn’t a specific message I hope to communicate with ‘Taut’, but hope people can relate to the postcard in some way whether that be:

- Recalling memories of using a Spirograph

-  Wondering what the drawn figure and colours represent

-  Thinking about how the ink and paint has been applied to the paper.

 

I often use one-word titles to suggest rather than describe what the work expresses about my own experiences.  I hope people can take away something from my work that makes them challenge and reconsider their preconceptions.

 

You can discover more about my work via the following links:

Website: www.adambrant.co.uk

Facebook: Adam Brant – visual artist (www.facebook.com/abrantartist/)

Twitter: @brantus (www.twitter.com/brantus)

Instagram: @a_brant_artist (www.instagram.com/a_brant_artist)

International Postcard Show: Artist Interview

ARTIST: JENNIFER YIP

 

  I am a Year 2 Fine Art student of the University of Lincoln. My artworks centred around the beauty of everyday life and specific colours of cities. Through a delicate style of drawing and painting, my works aimed to capture a particular moment in our daily lives, as well as to raise people’s awareness to every object and scenery which we sometimes overlooked.

 

 As an international student studying in the UK, I often yearn to be home, Hong Kong. It was perhaps of the feeling of homesickness which inspired the idea of my postcard. The particular use of bright colours may be related to the famous night view of Hong Kong, as well as to link with personal experiences and memories.

 

Following the rapid development of our surroundings, fast-paced living habits appeared to dominate our everyday lives. By focusing on unnoticeable characteristics and features of a local area, I would like to remind, as well to encourage our society to pause and admire the pleasantness of every objects or scenery.

 

It is my first time to participate in an exhibition and I am feeling very excited about it. Not only does the exhibition offer me a chance to share my artwork with a wider audience, but as well to be involved in opportunities of a professional context, which may help in building up confidence and gaining experiences.

 

As my artworks relate to themes such as everyday lives and memories, all illustrations of scenes involved the process of visiting different places in person. During conversations with the local people, it allowed a better understanding of the area and its surroundings. With more knowledge of the background and history of site, a more suitable choice of media may be used to demonstrate a better representation.

Interview by Dominique Mitchell (Writer in Residence)

Treasure Hunt, Hong Kong

Treasure Hunt, Hong Kong

International Postcard Show: Set Up

We're nearly ready.

Here at Surface Gallery we are buzzing away painting, sweeping, mopping, curating, folding, hammering, nailing, sanding, typing, photographing, organising and, of course, drinking copious amounts of tea in order to get the International Postcard Show all set up and ready to go for opening night which is this Friday 13th at 6pm.

The International Postcard Show 2017 features over 460 unique pieces of art from artists all over the world. From over the road in Sneinton, Nottingham to the other side of the planet in Western Australia to just over the channel in the Netherlands. 

Opening night will be an opportunity to grab a beer or a glass of wine, chat with artists and other locals whilst perusing these fabulous mini-masterpieces. Some of these mini-masterpieces are for sale and would make fantastic gifts or the start of a budding art collection!

We look forward to seeing you!

 

A tweet treat

A tweet treat

Beginning to curate the postcards

Beginning to curate the postcards

Applying the finishing touches

Applying the finishing touches

Getting all those shelves up.

Getting all those shelves up.

Rows upon rows of mini-masterpieces.

Rows upon rows of mini-masterpieces.

Written by Dominique Mitchell (Writer in Residence)

Re:Surface : Interview with the artist

ARTIST: REBECCA PEAREY

 

What inspires you to create and does your work reflect this?

Nature normally inspires me to create my work, as I mostly draw animals and plants. I think my work definitely does reflect this however I'd like to broaden what I normally draw!

 

What medium do you primarily work

 I use fine liners of various sizes for my work.

 

 How do you work/create?

I create small, detailed illustrations in a pointillist style, or sometimes linework - almost like tattoo designs. I like to use small strokes or marks to create an overall much larger, detailed piece.

What do you like about your work?

I really like how detailed my work can be for someone who can be very, very impatient!

What do you see for you in the future?

In the future I'd love to be able to be a freelance illustrator selling my work and commissions part time, while working in the graphic design industry - however I'm not sure which field yet!

 

Explain what you do in 100 words

My piece(s) at Re:Surface are a collection of my favourite drawings I've done over the past year or so, showing the style I like to work in and what I sell on Etsy.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Sam Lindley

Photo Credit: Sam Lindley

Re:Surface : Interview with the artist

ARTIST: PETE ABRAHART

 

What inspires you to create and does your work reflect this?

My paintings come from my love of music and the heroes and icons I hold dear to my heart.

 

How do you work/create?

I have two areas of work - acrylic and collage icon paintings and biro/correction fluid scribbles

 

Explain what you do in 100 words.

I paint my portraits on A3 card, mostly in black and white and then collage them against a 16x20" art board with brown paper frame. After this I give the artboard a distressed effect with acrylic paint. I also distress the brown paper frame either with water and paint and then tear in to the frame or simply distress it with black acrylic paint depending on the musical artist and their life. I like to give each one a separate colour background that I feel represents them in some way also. I guess this is just a form of double framing and image.

 

What do you like about your work?

I like how my paintings are not just simply straight portraits - each one has it's own personality and double framing to bring it to life. This is something I don't plan for and although the black and white portrait itself is highly planned and measured the background and frame is very much an organic process.

 

What do you see for you in the future?

I think probably more of the same to be honest. I'm only really a hobby painter but love the work I produce. I always paint with the thought in mind that if I don't sell the pieces I produce I'm more than happy to hang them in my own home! My work also gets me some commission work too which is really a boost for my enthusiasm in creating work.

 

A few words about your piece at Re:Surface.

 

My seven pieces at Re:Surface represent the past six months of my life and work but my favourite being "Silent Sense of Content" the Amy Winehouse portrait - this piece was to commemorate five years since her death on the 23rd July. I wrote lyrics from my favourite song of hers around the outside and slightly changed some of the words to make it more personal to me. Amy Winehouse is someone I had the pleasure to meet many years back and I feel it is the most important piece in my collection as my own personal tribute.

 

 

photo: Sam Lindley

photo: Sam Lindley

EM16: Pulse 4

The project space has begun to empty as our resident artists move their work downstairs and take over the main gallery space. There’s a monster in the middle of the room, black drapes dancing from the rigging and a lace table, that isn’t quite a table, by the stairs… It’s hard to believe that all this has been created in only four weeks. It's harder to believe we're almost at the end of those four weeks! Our artists have shown nothing but dedication and love for their work but it’s not just their exhibited work; they’ve done their own press release, designed their own catalogue and really taken every opportunity to make this their show. At Surface, it’s been a pleasure to watch their work grow and to help in whatever ways we could. I think they can also feel very safe in the knowledge they have some huge fans in all of us (especially me, I can never stop gushing after each interview how excited I am for opening night).  It comes back to what Jane and I talked about, Surface very quickly becomes your home and I think we quickly take in our artists are part of our Surface family.

So what’s next? Well, opening night is the 4th November 6-9pm and we would absolutely love to see everyone there. It’s a celebration of learning, a celebration of growth and just looking at some interesting art. Plus, we have some cracking local beers and I don’t think there’s a much more satisfying Friday night than wandering around Surface with a Roaring Meg. 

After that we have an artist talk and tour on the 12th November at 2pm where you can follow after the artists and ask everything you didn’t get to read in our interviews. You can engage with their work and question their motivations or you can find out their favourite flavour of crisps.

There’s a whole two weeks to explore and enjoy their art and then you can always keep up with them online

Tracey King - traceyking.com / Uta Feinstein uta-feinstein.com /

  Jane Smith janerosesmith.wordpress.com / Tayler Fisher taylerfisher.com

Connie Liebschner  connieliebschner.com / Dave Dent davedentartist.com

Miriam Bean miriambean.comEllysia Bugler ellysiabugler.com

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

EM:16 Tracey King

Tracey's work reminds me of Alice Through the Looking Glass; it seems to be one thing until you look a little closer and notice a skewed perspective, something a little off about a table and a delicate lace print you can only see if you're really looking. Tracey's work resonates on a variety of levels, having returned to the East Midlands from years living in Cornwall, she's trying to find that pulse here again. Many of us in Nottingham find that from the other side, waking up to realise Nottingham is home and the pulse isn't quite as strong where we grew up. We're just on different sides of the mirror.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student?

It’s less prescribed in a way, it’s a real mixture for me because obviously there’s new people in a group which is nice and it’s a bit like university because you’re bouncing off each other. It’s very familiar as well because I’m working next to Dave [Dent], we actually sat next to each other at uni, our spaces were adjacent!

So it’s almost like you’ve bought a bit of university with you?

Yeah, (laughs) I think the main difference is that you don’t have the workshop facilities at your fingertips because in the past I could go hmm, I’d like to do that in the porcelain slip and fire it. I perhaps would have done that with some of this work and although you could probably source that I’m kind of challenging myself to do what I can with the equipment available.

How do you think that’s impacted your work?

I’ve had this battle with myself in a way, some of it looks cruder maybe than I would normally do; just because of the different material I’m working in. I might have done something, like say, rather than soaking it in plaster I might have done it in porcelain, fired it and it looks finer and differently made. After the tutorial with Christine though, I’ve come to think actually this does say what I’m trying to say more. I’m trying to let go of the fact it’s crafted nicely. I’m seeing something different in the work. I’m quite excited about it now.

With the group name Pulse - how are you connecting to it?

It’s this pulsating city center. It’s busy, there’s life and yet, with my work there’s a lot of severed hands, without wrists; that’s the strongest part, where you feel your pulse, and it’s all cut off. It’s that sort of feeling I’m trying to get across, an unsettled feeling. This is my hometown, I used to live in the city center and be a part of everything but I feel a bit disconnected. I’m at a different part of my life and I’m doing something completely different. Because of body parts and wrists and almost a pulse that’s not there.

It’s that feeling that nowhere quite feels like home because I’ve lived away for a long time. I lived in Cornwall for quite a few years and had my children there and we’ve got very close friends there and we do go back. I feel as though that’s my home too but here still has family there and I’m kind of, at the minute, at that stage in my life where I’m trying to decide whether to stay.

When did you get into sculpting?

When I started uni, I’d never done sculpting. When I went to an open day and we were shown all the equipment… We were shown the welding bay and it excited me. I think that’s what it was, the welding bay and then when you first start you have little inductions to say woodworking, metal working and showing us all around the workshops and I don’t know, it quite excited me, casting was the thing. One of the first pieces I did was with a carnation and I cast it into bronze. I like that, it’s magical and that got me into sculpting.  You can make something that looks real, or is a normal everyday thing, but you can completely change it into something else. Present it in a different way.

This sense of feeling unsettled and a bit out of place, is that what you want your audience to experience on Opening Night?

I’d like them to see it and question it. I want them to look a bit closer to see the lace print you can’t see at first, see how the pieces react to each other. Hopefully they'll get this unsettled feeling. No one’s going to know how you feel, your history and why you’ve made it like this but there might be something… I try to use recognisable things, familiar objects and forms that anyone would know, you know, a hand, an egg or a glove but why’s it like this? Why does it make me feel like that? An emotive reaction I think, that’s what I always want to get.

What do you want to get out of this residency?

It’s that confidence really, because it’s quite hard working on your own without any feedback when you’re new, isn’t it? To suddenly not have any critique or feedback. It was that side that appealed to me because I like the idea of working in a smaller group, You get to know each other quite well and there’s the group critique [with Diana Ali] and the one to one tutorial with Christine [Stevens], whose work I absolutely love, so that was a bonus.

Did you find the one to one helpful?

Really helpful, that made me move on from ‘I’ll do the casts again, see if I can get it more precise’. I was actually in this real indecision about it and she gave me her take on it, I think you need those bits of reassurance. We were looking through the old catalogues and I was thinking I really love this piece, because she did EM13, and then Jez said ‘oh that’s Christine, she’s doing your critique!’ That was amazing.

How are you finding sharing a space?

Really good and positive. I do really like it, like I said, Jane I knew and Dave I’ve worked alongside him for the last two or three years… We work really, really different. It’s nice to have someone who knows your work and what you’ve done.

Do you find he works reacts to your work differently to the rest of the group who aren’t familiar?

I think he understands what I mean more because he’s seen what I’ve created before but it’s nice to have fresh eyes on your work too. Especially when it’s something a bit newer that you’re trying to do so you’ve not necessarily had any feedback on that type of work. You get some really different ideas from other people.  

Traceyking.com

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Image by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

 

EM:16 Pulse 3

It’s hard to believe we’re already three weeks in! It doesn’t seem like long ago we were taking down the last exhibition and prepping the project space for our EM16 residents to arrive. Already the depth of work is fantastic and there’s still two weeks to go until opening night on November 4th. As Connie said in our interview, the project space is an inspiring one. Every time I pop into the project space, I see the work grow, new additions being added and refined and I’m more excited for it to be shared with everyone on opening night.

This week finishes up our series of critiques sessions, the group crit being led by Diana Ali and individual sessions led by Sumiko Eadon, Shelley MacDonald, Christine Stevens and Bruce Asbestos. All the artists seem to have really responded to the chance to get feedback from established artists who have experience in a gallery setting. Everyone seems to have used it to develop their work, as can be seen in my interview with Connie (here) and as I discussed a bit in my interview with Dave Dent (which you’ll have to wait until next week to read). My main worry about opening night is how we’re actually going to carry everything down, specifically a certain metres high monster.


Our workshops so far have been a great success, the volunteers have even been fully taking advantage to grab a space on one whenever they can. It might even be leading the way for something special from Surface in the future… It’s given our artists a chance to try something new in the creative field; that’s the beauty of the residency, and Surface in general for our volunteers, it’s about trying something new and finding what works for the individual.

While I mainly poke around everyone’s work, and I’m only a bit ashamed to admit, ask if I can touch it, our artists have been doing the real heavy work: designing posters, writing press releases and deciding what to do with that lovely big window of ours. Miriam has put countless hours into the poster design and Dave Dent worked on our press release; it’s nice to be able to get involved in every aspect of their graduate show to really have the control over how they present themselves. When they discussed design ideas, the concept that was constantly returned to was shedding the student skin and becoming artists in their own rights. The designs definitely do this - they’re bloody lovely, you can even read the press release and get a sample of the flyer here.

One of the things I’ve especially loved during my interviews is finding out why the name Pulse resonates with each artist and why they came to Surface because despite their work being so diverse, there is a theme that pulls them together. Life, movement, transition, change, and whether it’s come at from a confrontational or reflective place, it has all been about growth. That and me following them around with coffee asking for quotes.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images 1 and 3 by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

Image 2 by Surface Gallery

EM:16 Pulse

It’s one of the most exciting times of year at the gallery, not only is Halloween just around the corner but the East Midlands Graduate Programme is finally beginning its residency. Our eight resident artists have been chosen for offering a style and project our committee was genuinely excited to showcase; and this year our artists cover a wide variety of mediums and influences so it promises to be a varied and exciting show. There’s something incredibly special about the first project created after graduation when you are beginning to label yourself as an artist without the adage of ‘student’. We’re excited to be part of this transition and hope you are as well.

    Connie Liebschner, Uta Feinstein, Jane Smith, Dave Dent, Tracey King, Ellysia Bugler, Tayler Fisher, Miriam Bean

   Connie Liebschner, Uta Feinstein, Jane Smith, Dave Dent, Tracey King, Ellysia Bugler, Tayler Fisher, Miriam Bean

Our first planning meeting, this Monday, was the first time we’ve all met in one big group; this could be an incredibly awkward experience with lots of drawn out introductions and ‘ummm’s but everyone’s instantly bonded. We’re all there for the same reason, to create something great. and besides, we don’t have time for nerves, there’s too much to do.

                      The Group Discussing Ideas

                      The Group Discussing Ideas

Our main aim this week is to discuss flyers and names - how the group want to brand themselves and present their debut. The recurring idea is that the design, and name, needs to say ‘Artist’ not Art Student’. The name settled on is Pulse, and the flyer, well, you’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

This week, the group was happy to meet with John Mitchell, of WiT Partnerships, who is conducting an independent evaluation for Surface to follow the residency; it plans to see what the artists hope to gain from the residency, what their plans are and then will reflect back on this once the exhibition has actually begun. John describes it as “more about learning than evaluation,” and it promises to teach us at Surface as much as it does the artists.

Next week, the artists will be having their critique sessions, which was mentioned in our October newsletter. Local artists will be meeting with the graduates, based on their experiences for individual critique sessions, as well as a group critique. Look forwards to reading more about this next Wednesday, when we look back on what’s happening and how the group are feeling for their sessions.

                                                       The Artists known as Pulse            

                                                       The Artists known as Pulse            

This Saturday kicks off our first EM16 workshops, the ‘Noisemaker Workshop’ led by Miriam Bean and ‘Engaging the Senses’ with Ellysia Bugler. I’ll also be publishing some interviews with them on Sunday so make sure to check back and find out how it went!

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin ‘Urban Shutterbug’ Conwill