Thursday, 29 September 2011

Somethings I have learned from my exhibition at No: 8 Community Arts Centre Pershore

In fact I learned a few things from the exhibition, as always it doesn’t matter how organised you are something under the conditions of stress involved in installations will create at least one thing to go wrong, so you need a contingency ie installing at a time when the local hardware shop is open just in case I forget to pack the right screws (that’s happened) and make sure I have some loose change or a bank card to pay for anything required.

No 8 Community Arts Centre Pershore

I have driven to the Number 8 Gallery a few times to do a reconnaissance on the space so I felt very confident that I knew the way with my eyes closed so I didn’t bother switching on the satnav, and while I was talking to my friend we went straight past the M6 Motorway junction, I noticed the Pershore sign on the road that we should be on, but the only solution is to carry on down the motorway to do a u-turn. That was the only problem that we experienced during the installation, and perhaps one that can’t be covered by a contingency.

When installing big artwork its ideal to have one small person (me at 5ft 2) and another person who’s at least a foot taller.

Libor Installing at No8

Libor is a friend of mine from the Czech Republic who has helped me many times before he’s great with all kinds of DIY and I found this out a few years ago when he helped me do an installation in a To Let unit at the Manders Shopping Centre in Wolverhampton. I think I would be there to this day without his strength and expertise. Unfortunately for me Libor is forging a successful career for himself in IT and only comes to Birmingham for a holiday so I need to be very successful before I can persuade him to work for me full time. So something else I have learnt is make sure I do all my exhibitions when he’s on holiday.

To Let units at the Manders Shopping Centre
To Let unit at the Manders Shopping Centre in Wolverhampton

We made quite a team, me measuring and marking the wall, Libor drilling (without standing on ladders). We were so good that I thought it would a good idea to produce a video so that my customers can see the best way to mount the artwork on the wall; there is a knack that makes it a whole lot easier. I commandeered someone who was I believe waiting for a friend who was involved in rehearsals for the Christmas show to hold the video camera but video lots of storage space and my compact flash card which was only intended for the still photography didn’t have enough capacity to record the full process. I will produce a video in the future and if I do the installation on my own everyone can see how easy it is, mmmmm.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Social Media Helps Track Down The Birmingham Riots Produced Artwork


When the news programmes show wars and riots around the world I wish half heartedly I admit, that I could be there dodging the bullets to capture the surfaces of burning cars and military vehicles, can you imagine the cross fire is in full flow, the heat and noise is intolerable as I crawl from the barricades to the burning mangled upturned mess of metal in my bullet proof combat jacket and helmet.

Burnt Out Van In Digbeth

Of course while I do have to keep an eye on my surroundings when photographing and I have been in situations were I have felt at risk and I keep one eye on my escape route there is no need as romantic as it sounds to jetting into flash points around the world to get my stock of images.

Bordesley  Street Digbeth
On closer evaluation the images that I would get from those vehicles isn’t worth getting my head shot off for. To produce the conditions for a good surface to photograph I need the fireman to attend and soak the hot metal with their hose pipes, don’t think that will happen in the Lybian desert or downtown Kabul. It would also stand to reason that in dry climates there will not be the reaction from the damp in the atmosphere. This week I had the perfect scenario the trouble spots came to me in Birmingham but I also had perfect events and elements not only did the fireman attend but we had a night of rain.
Found On Facebook

I had no interest in photographing the mindless idiots who rioted in Birmingham I felt embarrassed the way my great city and the country in general was being projected on the television screens around the world. I was tempted to drive into the effected areas and try to find a burnt out car but with a very busy schedule I realised to get up early in the morning before the debris from the night before is cleared would mean I wasn’t going to get any sleep, so I left it. One of my Facebook friends posted a photo of this car with a message that it was wasn’t far from where I live and it was still there. As this arson attack occurred outside of the riot areas I don’t think it was related but, because the clean up had stretched the recovery yards to the limit it meant that this burn out for once was here for a few days

Saturday Van Via Digbeth Is Good Blog 01
While Facebook provided me with a car on Friday morning I discovered this beauty via the excellent community blog Digbeth Is Good overnight they reported on the clean up campaign and itemized outstanding damage to the area, Ah Ha,
Metal Artwork

Interestingly, both this van and yesterdays cars produced very poor specimens of scorch marks so in both cases it wasn’t worth photographing them but the story is great to add to my now resurrected blog. I wonder if its karma as I have started blogging again and the burn outs have suddenly appeared

Saturday, 6 August 2011

A Return To Blogging

About 12 months ago I had this wild idea to reorganise my existence on the web, to stop blogging on my various sites and spend time planning the future strategy. The main problem and reason for this drastic pruning and remodelling was because I realised that my websites and blogs have evolved over a period of time, there is no planed framework and this led to duplication.
At that stage my plan was to change my website to a portal of all my online activities linking to separate websites for each of my projects and further more linking to my social media Facebook and Twitter activity. This Blogger blog would be no more because I was going to produce a Wordpress blog attached to my website, indeed the blog illustrates the reasons for change, the title of the blog “You will never look at them in the same way again” refers to one project a very important large project that no longer needs research and developing. It runs.  But, I have now moved forward with so much more work and in the last 12 months I have:

Getty Image Boy On Swing

Become a Getty Image Artist.

Derby Format Festival Image

Exhibited as part of a collective at the Format Street Photography Festival

F Stop Magazine

Had a series of Self Portraits published in F-Stop Magazine

100 Strangers

Completed the 100 Strangers (well 99 with one special one to finish off)

365 a photo a day

I’m in year 3 of the 365 a Photo a Day Everyday

Burnt out van

And I have also photographed the odd burnt out car

So why am I posting now, why the change of heart. Well I never did get round to delving into code and creating new sites, or clear the kitchen table and produce artistic Mind Maps and Mandellas, the project manager software remains in the box and I thought at least with the old setup at least I’m produced something to tell the world about my art. So I’ll keep it going until I defeat this procrastination thing.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

I shall be making my way down to the beautiful city of Bath to visit the exhibition Britain From The Air

In the early days of developing my car project I found great inspiration from the work of Yann Arthus Bertrand and his acclaimed project The Earth From Above. By coincidence the exhibition was on show in Birmingham city centre and it was through viewing that series of large photographs in the open air and bright sunshine that I began to think of my work moving away from pretty rusty images to photographs that create an illusion of landscape, this then became an important aspect of the statement of my work

“…….Using results of the explosion; scorched metal, molten glass, fabrics, and plastics, the rust and the gallons of water from the firemen’s hose I strive to turn a negative blot on the landscape using technology, photography and oil paint to transform the textual image into a positive beautiful landscape”.

I am therefore drawn to images of landscape and aerial photography and came across “Britain from the Air” a free exhibition on display in streets surrounding Bath Abbey. I came across this event via a slide show on the BBC website
And by yet another coincidence on the same day I found this set of pictures from one of my favourite sites The Big Picture  This time the focus is on Florida from above. Take a look at both sites to compare the contrasting layout.

To make the final comparison: my own work,

Blog Image

This image originates from a photograph I took of a discarded panel from an old burn out, which I took home and added to the many other pieces that I have in my backgarden. No flowers, no vegetables just car bonnets and side panels in my English country garden.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

One of my photos is selected for the BBC News Viewfinder Blog

The BBC Viewfinder blog has a “Your Pictures of The Week” feature, there is a different subject for submitted photographs to be based on and as this week the subject was “Metal” I felt compelled to contribute this image.

Monsters of the Deep

Today I looked and there is my photograph amongst the stream

Working as an artist I often think recognition like this is as good as selling a piece of my artwork, of course it is different because job satisfaction doesn’t pay the bills but if I can keep an even balance between the two achievements I very happy.

I have been involved in the 365 project during 2009 the aim is to take a photograph everyday on any subject and then upload it to Flickr.

Number 365 of 365.  Finished

Number 365 of 365.  Finished

On the 31st December I completed the project by recreating the photograph I came across on 31st December 2008 that made me say “I want to try that” unfortunately that original has been lost in the ether of the internet because I didn’t realise the great significance to my future at the time.

Year Two Gets Off The Mark At Midnight

Year Two Gets Off The Mark At Midnight

Year Two began on a freezing cold hilltop overlooking the firework display across the city of Birmingham at midnight. The image itself didn’t work out the way I wanted but the significance of the time, the date and the place made it more meaningful.

During the year I noticed an article on BBC Viewfinder by the editor Phil Coomes whom had begun his own photo a day challenge. Phils project is exclusively produced using Kodachrome 64 film and because of his chosen media he has to allow for the delay between finishing a roll, sending it to the US for processing, and then scanning, he is going through this torturous route to mark the death of Kadachrome, 75 years after its introduction, as the last processing laboratory handling the film will no longer offer the service.

Phil asked on his BBC site for those who are undertaking a 365 project to write in about our experiences and sure enough he mentioned my findings and plugged my Flickr site that contains all my 365 images


Friday, 27 November 2009

Theres Hope For The Future Availability Of Models For My Artwork

A combination of a full moon, and car park lights turned the kids playground into an ideal setting for some night time photographs to use for my 365 project.


"A Photo a Day Everyday" has no restrictions, that is subject or content, just take a photo a day everyday and post it - no exceptions


Just as I started to take some shots of the playground a couple of young lads turned up and promptly parked their bikes between me and subject after I had spent some time carefully looking for the best shot. Somehow I felt uncomfortable and thought perhaps there might be some confrontation even thinking my camera is at risk, although I am used to this exposure when I’m photographing the burnt out cars. I find the best form of defence is to engage people and explain what I’m doing and why so that they take some interest in this strange man with his camera.


They didn’t seem that interested in what I was doing and I heard one mutter something that “Miss so and so would say that was great” I presume Miss was a teacher. I enquired if they had seen any Burnt Out Cars on the park knowing they would say no because the burn outs are few and far between at the moment. I also pass the park regular and look across the open space to were in days gone by I would see the rusting wrecks - Happy Days. But to my great surprise yes there had been a dumped car over in the overgrown area far from the main road, so that’s why I missed it.
I was half annoyed and half very relieved, annoyed because I had missed it but relieved because torching cars still goes on in the area and who knows I might see a revival.


The lads were playing football using great light conditions and the walls of the play area (to save them having to keep fetching the ball) and once they forgot about me and my camera they began expressing themselves with trick shots backwards and forwards over the wall, and aiming for the basketball basket.



Returning home I evaluated that perhaps although they had this apparent couldn’t care about art strut about them, they did put my business card with a picture of my artwork in their pocket.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Artwork Delivered for the Exhibition at Aston University Business School

Saturday Morning I delivered 2 art pieces for the Arts and Business Visual exhibition at the Aston Business School. Normally I deliver the work a few days before the installation date to The Framers in the Custard Factory and that’s all I have to do, they install the exhibition and next time I see it is at the private view a few weeks later. However, this time the printing of one of the pieces was held up because the inks in the printer have been changed, that’s not just replacing a cartridge with the same cartridge, no, in January 2009 Action Graphics invested in a major upgrade to the inks for the machine that prints my images onto glass.

The quality of the work produced with the new ink is outstanding but each photograph that hasn’t been printed previously with the inks has to go through a calibration process to match the output with my original file, this process can take the best part of a day

There’s some good news if you purchased one of my photographs before 2009 because that would be printed using a unique process that will never be repeated

Martin The Man Responsible For Printing My Photos on Glass

Martin The Man Responsible For Printing My Photos on Glass

Anyway all this extra work for Martin who prints my images onto glass for me has meant that deliver took a little longer. Because I didn’t want to rush this important process I arranged to take the work direct to the venue.

Shared Earth at Aston Business School

And there alongside the new work was Shared Earth which the Business School purchased last year, I have never seen the piece in situ at the University so it gave me the opportunity to record the work on the wall.
You can see all the work in the exhibition here via the Visual website