donderdag 30 mei 2013

The buzz after a great fair!

Last weekend I was at Strummercamp, which is small Punk rock festival and I had a really good time there! Mainly because of the response of people to my work I had on display there and a bit for the general atmosphere and great weather!

I have the impression that the people who came there are more than average interested in what I make and might be more open for alternative things. Might, makes sense that they are! Again, my work didn't appeal to a certain age group. Like always, I got a lot of attention from children, but also from everybody else. It is really nice to here positive comments on my work and seeing people smiling or being genuinely surprised!

I always leave a fair like that with an energy boost to create more based on the feedback I got, but I don't want to make a lot of new things, because I haven't explored some areas enough. For example, the fossil making, fridge magnet sculptures, road kill based sculptures etc. So I decided to focus on these ...... and soon realised I didn't have enough material to work on either one of them. It is a slow process to get bones and with my back injury it isn't easy to source big stones for the fossils.

So today I couldn't resist the urge and started something new. Well, it is also a bit old, because for these new sculptures I am going back to the sculptures I used to make two years ago:



 Hom Rottey


The danger is that the whole idea is crap. Normally, when I get a 'good' idea I leave it for a while, like a month, and check back later. If that idea still feels good after a month or longer, it probably is good. But  now that I have no part time job to keep me occupied, I have time and I don't like doing nothing, so I immediately started. 
It will be a few small fictional urban animal characters. The first one will be a bird and I am thinking of adding a very small story or description to them. To be continued.....

donderdag 23 mei 2013

New work: Switchback Jack

I have finally finished the commission from The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal! Yeah! It is a mountain biker made from plaster, bones and bike parts.

I got this commission to give myself time to make art I normally wouldn't make. In my case it was making something big. The nice thing of commissions in general is that it throws up boundaries which I have to overcome and normally I learn valuable things from it. I often use these experiences in other artworks. So it has been the same with this sculpture.

The main experience is how to work with plaster. Plaster is a strong and stiff material, but breaks easily if it moves. I think I'll use it more often to fill bigger volumes in new work.
I have also used a new texture on the sculpture; the mountain biker has dead leaves as a finish layer and I am already busy with a sculpture in which I have used the same thing.

It all took a lot of time and I think half of it was thinking and staring at it to make it strong enough while retaining the visual effects. I wanted to have the shapes and the mechanical character of the bones in 'Steady Eddy'...

....and the movement of 'Flow Joe'

The more I progressed with the sculpture, the more limited I got in flexibility in the choice of bones and bike parts and ended up asking 5 different bike shops if they had a old handlebar and to drive an hour to the only place where I knew there would be leg bones of the right size. I made the head from a skull that came from Grizedale forest.

This and many other sculptures can be seen from now in Grizedale forest cafe in the Lake District. Here is a link to the exhibition information:

maandag 13 mei 2013

Job adverts are depressing!

As an artist earning money can be difficult and for the last few years I have managed to get work on a flexible basis. Now that I had to move to a different city, I had to look for a new job where I live now. I thought it would be easier to find a job here in Manchester, but so far it has be surprisingly difficult. I thought I have loads of different experience that would make it relatively easy, relatively that is. No, I didn't even got invited for an interview for jobs of which I thought I ticked all the boxes and I am now wondering why.
Could it be that I am AGAIN battling the same prejudice as a jobseeker as I am battling as an artist? As an artist I have a strong feeling that there are a bunch of pretentious curators out there that are lacking self confidence and therefor don't dare to select non-art-background artists for their exhibitions. Could also be pure jealousy that I manage to make good stuff without going through the system for 3 or 4 years. Then again, once I have found a curator that doesn't select artists on that bases, my background is actually an interesting asset.

With jobs it is the same and different. Again, my background consisting of several very different, but solid, jobs in which I have done well. I am now wondering if the diversity on my CV confuses potential employers. But to be honest, if you have any knowledge you would see I have a wide range of skills and serious about what I do.
I have applied for very basic jobs in administration and wasn't even invited. If they would read my CV well, they could see that I can actually create an administration and not just maintaining it! They could also tell that I am not this pain-in-the-arse-smart-guy that will question everything; my CV also contains basic jobs in which I have done well.
Knowing I can do loads of jobs, I read these adverts for basic jobs where it sometimes seems they are looking for a CEO or Superman. I wonder how people would respond in an interview to a question like this: 'Do you have a passion for administration'? Passion? Passion? There might be a few autistic people out there that would describe it as a passion, but don't you mean 'like'? 'Do you thrive in a target driven environment?' You mean scoring points by harassing people on the phone? No thanks.
If I get a job I am not passionate about, but like and if the job has targets, I'll probably do well anyway. I am a hard working individual and my base mentality towards work is better than average. Did I say I am self confident? Seems to be clear that I am also quite independent..... Anyway, this is the crap I daily read when looking for a job:

Customer Service Door Executive

This is an exciting opportunity with a company going from strength to strength. We make recession busting products and are leader in our field. We are now looking for a Door Mat to compliment our dynamic team of professional Door Mats!

We are looking for strong driven independent talents with a passion for receiving the interesting bottom side of someones else’s footwear. This is a hospitality role and therefor you need to have proven track record in customer service, preferable in the same field. You also need to have a minimum of 3 years experience in a similar role. You should also be able to maximize sales opportunities and increase brand awareness.

-       - You must be fluent in Door Mattery and English
-       - Able to do draw attention to yourself so our customers don’t bring in dirt in our marvelous clean state of the art shops
-      -  Excellent communication skills
-      -  Outstanding presentation skills
-      -  Be able to express the word ‘Welcome’ like no other
-       - Be able to clean all types of footwear

Do you thrive on targets? Do you have a strong mentality towards customer service? Do you have a passion for laying on your back 24/7 getting covered in other peoples crap? Does this sound like you? Then we might be looking for you!