Tag Archives: Winchester School of Art

Trilithon (Song For The Architect)

Stonehenge 01 ACN 2014

This post will be the last to include a new musical piece in 2014. Its been a good run and for me its been a breathless run, grabbing available time to throw herbs & sources into the mix. This one is the end of the Norfolk Cycle and finishes with a piece inspired by Hampshire & Wiltshire.

Some number of years ago I attended Winchester School of Art and during the first week of December, with Mrs A4+, I went back to have a look around- with the best part of 25yr gap. It was a bit of a flash back pilgrimage, I still have occasional dreams that fix in the town, and I was interested to see any changes that have occurred. The WSA Campus is a lot bigger, there are new shopping centres, but the core of the main thoroughfare and are around the Cathedral are unchanged. With a little more time I would have liked to walk some more of the area, the Water Meadows, the riverside area, St Catherine’s Mount but overall the visit was satisfying.

Stonehenge 02 ACN 2014

The one thing I did want to do when in that neck of the woods was to visit Stonehenge. Whilst its more associated with Salisbury its only 20mins drive away from Winchester. I am really quite entranced by the countries very early history, stone circles and long barrows of the peak district I’ve referenced previously in pictures, sounds and moving images. Stonehenge is the ‘holy grail’ (ok, maybe thats in Glastonbury theoretically) being the largest megalithic structure in Northern Europe. Raised between 3000 & 2000 years BC its an unbelievably impressive example of planning & will. The stones were transported over huge distances, shaped with minimal available materials, organised and plotted with unerring precision and raised by methods we can only guess. The site was used over a millennia and was adapted and evolved throughout that time.

Bronze Age people produced monuments from the Mediterranean, through central Europe and up into the British Isles that have endured and surpassed constructions from later more adept civilisations. I’m always struck by the thought of the individual the directed the concept. No matter what the capability of the hive, there must be an architect, scratching in the sand, watching the sky, pointing the way.

The following images are Holga photographs on 120 film with intentional overlapping.

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Winchester Cathedral is a similarly engrossing edifice. When at college I spent quite a lot of time in there, copying patterns, looking at sculpture and being overwhelmed by the architecture. Despite my issues with organised religion I’ve always been fascinated by the power of spaces such as this. They exemplify wonder & glory even though in the main they were constructed through forced labour, associated poverty and coercion over extended periods of time. From York & Lincoln Cathedrals in the UK, the Sacre Coeur in Montmatre, the Alhambra Palace in Granada and the Sagrada Famila in Barcelona the human impulse to honour abstract and indefinite visions is frightening in its intent.

The following are some motion blur picture taken of the windows in Winchester Cathedral.

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Winchester Windows 02 ACN 2014

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So at the end of all this what are we left with? An admiration of the designer, an inability to understand the effort and methods of the builders and the chatter of history – wedding and flowing in it’s attempt to theorise the cause and inception of these great things.

The song / soundscape that I’ve ended up with is a long form piece, a snick over 25 minutes long. It’s roughly in three parts although the overlay doesn’t lead to clean section breaks. The sections are essentially Conception-Construction-Communion.There are repeated sounds in each that link them but they ultimately form the ‘Trilithon. the rock in three parts.

The track uses my ‘kitchen sink’ of tools including Launchpad (for the majority of the chill/cinematic sounds), Amplitude (for effected guitars and for the first time real bass guitar) and is finished off using LANDR mastering which whilst ‘off the peg’ seems to work well in bringing everything to workable level. The middle section might have the affect of inducing some anxiety but it does ‘come down’ in the closing section. In the words of Bill Hicks “it’s just a ride”.

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Various Lino Prints

Hope

With some recent down time due to summer holiday child maintenance I took a rare visit to the loft and dug out some old artwork. Whilst I didn’t get to any of the large-scale pieces I did find some books and some mid sized prints. There are etching, litho graphs and screen prints amongst the hauls but all of the following use probably my favourite print making medium, the lino (or linoleum) block print. There nothing like the smell of a warm piece of lino and the buttery smooth cut you can get with a sharp cutting tool. Its an unforgiving and graphic medium, if you over shoot a line you can’t go backwards. I’ve been burnt, stabbed, developed rashes and caused myself tennis elbow through lino block printing – almost all worth it. I’m a bit lax on dates so unless they are noted on the prints its a guess at best.

The image at the top is the one I sold the most of. These come from 1994 approx when I lived in Crouch End. The elephant is the central image of triptych, the full sequence is below. The elephant is seen through a tunnel which was in Riversley Park in Nuneaton, the left hand panel is Crouch End Broadway and the the right hand panel is Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos in Mornington Cresent Underground. The piece was called ‘Hope & Forgetfulness’. These were made outside of a proper studio – kitchen table – homespun work.

Hope & Forgetfulness

The next piece is a diptych from around 1985, made at Winchester School of Art. This is called ‘Phototropism’s’ and reflects an interest in comparative religion & Jungian psychology. A lot of the work I did at this time had a fairly sexual content, this is less overt than a lot of my other pieces.

Phototropism

The next ones are from slightly before the one above and are called ‘Hydrotropism’s’. These use more African/Haitian voodoo motifs & masks, they are less skilled in some ways and quite flat & graphic with the activities of the characters buried in the pattern. Not quite self censorship but definitely game playing.

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I did make another image called ‘Geotropism’. This was a single image. Unfortunately I haven’t found that one yet. As I recall it also used a Voodoo Zombie theme.

The next image I much later and probably one of the last lino prints I made. This is from 1994/5 and produced when I lived in Forest Fields. Its a slightly biographic / partly symbolist narrative played out amongst the Goose Fair and the carousel rides. Its called ‘Fairground Deception’. I alms produce a set of small images (24 I think) called ‘Nocturne’ around the same period which again I’m yet to find.

Fairground Deception

The last set of images in this post are from around 1991/92. This was a book project that uses a reverie set set on the Northern Line between Highgate & Morden. At the time I lived in Muswell Hill and went to Wimbledon School of Art – so I spent a lot of time on that line. The book was called ‘Re-Orientation/A Documentary – A Documentary/Re-Orientation’ and was designed to be ‘read’ from either the front or the back. Seen here in Gif format running from front to back.

Reorientation

The final images in this post are also from my time in London. These are small prints made as cards for a small gallery in Highgate. The images are stone carvings from Highgate Cemetery which at that time was mainly gated off from public access and very overgrown.

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As above I have many more images to share here but as a start these are representative of a particular style and process that always gave me some satisfaction to produce. I hope you like them.

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Barcelona 1986

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28 years ago I was at Winchester School of Art studying printmaking & fine art. That covered screen printing, traditional lithography, etching, relief printing, letterpress and to some degree photography. It was fun. I lost my finger prints to strong chemicals and had a professional introduction to the uplifting possibilities of industrial solvents. I’ve no doubt in was a Health & Safety nightmare that is consigned to history unless you have extensive insurance.

One of the many other good things about WSA was the travel opportunities. Twice a year they took virtually the entire faculty to some exotic and educational location. I managed Paris, Moscow & Leningrad (as it was then) and Madrid & Barcelona.

Barcelona-Series

The piece here is from Barcelona. I took some zinc plates with soft ground resist on and little card frames with newsprint covers, all bound into a little book with masking tape. If you drew on the paper the resist came away from the plates so that the line would etch when immersed in acid. They are only a couple of inches square so the sketches were immediate, complete in a minute or so. Not unlike traditional photography the final result only really showed it self post processing and printing.

The cover image was lino cut and the text plate printed on a small Adana Letterpress. Proper print making. I even purchased paper from an ancient art shop in the back streets of the city to tie the project down.

When we flew home the Spanish customs officer wanted to know what the little heavy block of metal was for. He rubbed his fingers over the drawings and prodded them. It didn’t seem to have a detrimental effect.

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The Elephant in the Gallery

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After reading Georges post on the George Thornton Gallery blog about the value of printmaking I had a world of comment gush up on me. I studied fine art and specialised in Print Making at Winchester School of Art waaaaaaay back in the eighties. I totally treasure printmaking as a beautiful alchemical process that more often than not exemplifies skills in drawing and composition that more free forms of two dimensional art dodge. There are many artists whose output in this genre at least equals their painterly production – Picasso, Goya & Bonnard spring to mind but the list far longer.

In his blog George discussed two of my favourite artists, Salvador & Bob. I admired Salvador quite a long time before I became a full blown Bobcat. Dali was an unmitigated transcendental genius. His drafting skill is beyond comprehension. He was also a master of self promotion and highly ‘brand aware’ half a century before the phrase birthed. Dali had a commercial awareness and understood his value. As a superstar artist of his generation he was subject to opportunistic fakery and this materialised in his Limited Edition Print activities. The up shot was that he signed thousands of blank sheets of paper. In doing this he undermined the value of not only the fakes but his own work but established a mystique around his work that elevated his own perceived stock.

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I own a Dali print, maybe. It could be any number of things, a real print with a real signature, a fake print with either a real or fake signature or potentially a real print with a fake signature. At this distance I doubt the existence of many experts who could decipher the truth. Well done Salvador.

Dylan, in a much repeated interview in the mid sixties was described by a journalist as the ‘spokesman for a generation’. Dylan’s response was ‘No, I’m just a song & dance man’ perhaps the greatest understatement of his career. Dylan must be possessed of superhuman self confidence as he has always ploughed his own path musically. Even in recent years he has mystified audiences with ‘unusual’ versions of his classic songs and extreme vocal styles. Like Dali he is utterly self aware and brand loyal. His visual output has been just as idiosyncratic and subject to criticism as is music. By any stroke he isn’t a world class draughtsman and as with his music he has been accused of plagiarism. I don’t own a ‘Bob’ but I did buy the first ‘Drawn Blank‘ book (and paid a lot more than I did for the Dali print). I admire his process and have viewed the prints with interest. Being close to the types of processes that produce works of the type that are selling the process and supply chain is very interesting. You can’t buy a ‘Bob’ for much under £1000.00. The galleries that show these (Castle Galleries/Washington Green) report high levels of sales. Margins are misty but ‘the piece of paper’ would be less than 5% of the cost in it self and the margin to the artist and his management will be clear in the chain. Personally I think they are OK prints. They are however taking relatively small original pieces and enlarging well beyond their passable scale. This is plainly because something ‘big’ has a higher value than something ‘small’.
As with any work of art the value is determined by the market. Anybody who buys a Dylan on the basis of investment should consider caveat emptor. If I had a grand lying around I would buy one, not for any potential investment but because I would like to see it when I walked passed it every day rather than having to open a book. And strangely, on consideration it probably wouldn’t matter which picture it was as long as it had that 5 square centimeter pencil signature at the bottom. Oddly I received an invite to the 2013 edition review today.

Drawn Blank

That, (and here is where it gets misty) is my point. Art is like voodoo. It’s about memory, association, faith & connection. If what you see fits your expectation and you believe it’s from the place you think it’s from you will be happy with your experience. We all like to be connected to something bigger. It marks the lamppost in our cultural neighbourhood.

…..and if you would like to buy an original limited edition giclee print from an original lino block print circa 1986 called ‘Hope & Forgetfulness’ like the one at the top I have 6 only left with no intention to make any more. £35.00 each plus postage. Make a connection.

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Old, Old Art Work

During the recent Bank Holiday when we were blessed with some decent weather I managed to get into the back of the shed and retrieve a large folder of ancient prints and drawings. The poor folder has with stood attics & cellars, floods & frosts, and seems to have come through it all fairly well.

The items inside it are mainly large-scale drawings, screen prints and block prints from both North Warwickshire College of Technology & Art and Winchester School of Art during my pre / Degree education. It always surprises me that I did so much work given the various distractions. It surprises me less how weird a lot of it is.

I haven’t included anything that would scare the children at this stage, I might need a subscriber only page for that. I would also need to check that none of the works are covered by a Super-Injunction of any kind.

You can see about half a dozen images here in the Art Gallery. I have been a little slack and not tagged or titled anything, mainly because I would struggle to remember what most of it is about. Invariably they are a mix of Jungian, musical,, theological and art history references. Most had long titles at one time which frequently change for no apparent reason.

The pictures shown here have been photographed, photoshopped, PicGrunged, Swankolabbed and Hipstamaticed before being posted here.

My personal favourite is the degraded screen print of Victor Mature from the 1950’s Biblical epic ‘The Robe’. I took the image during a regular Easter repeat on my old Minolta XGM from an ancient B/W television. I made about 30 or 40 prints all with different colour orders on different papers until the screen degraded beyond use. At the end we laid them all out on the floor of the studio in a huge Warholesque grid. I’m surprised any of survived given that they are on a very low-grade coloured sugar paper.

I have masses of other items scattered around the house, so more to come as and when.

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