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Saturday Update: books and projects

Time for my Saturday update! This week I’ve read ‘ The arrival’ by Shaun Tan, well ‘read’ I should say as this amazing book consists only of images, telling the universal story of immigrants, in this case based upon stories by immigrants and images from Sydney, Australia. It has taken the artist 4 years to complete this work and it is a true beauty to behold.

Also, I’ve just finished ‘ The 12 million dollar stuffed shark; The curious Economics of Contemporary Art and Auction Houses’ by Don Thompson. I’ve already mentioned this book in yesterday’s blog on Cindy Sherman, and I have to say that although it is an insightful work, the author drones on and on about prices, prices, prices. Thankfully, he also shares his thoughts on the new artists’ climb through the ranks, from local dealers through high street galleries and the superstar galleries, Who the major players on the art market are, where they gather, how they get their works from auctions, how auction houses market the works and make their profits and the (sometimes very subtle but always elitist) politics of buying and selling contemporary art and these factors made the book a worthwhile read. I’ve read both books by courtesy of my local library, so you can check if yours has them in stock as well.

This week saw the opening of the ‘Renewal 2’ exhibition at Gallery 150, which opened on the 14th and will end on the 27th of February. I have one work included, titled ‘ Mother’ (previously ‘ Mother and Child’) which will be up for sale. Gallery 150 is located on Regent Court in the centre of Leamington Spa, so go and have a look at the great talent our region has to offer!

I attended an Art Funding workshop in Coventry on the Thursday, organised by Emerge and hosted by ICE (Institute for Creative Enterprise). Here I’ve met Maria Rankin, a Leamington Spa based photographer and film maker and since both of us are interested in art photography, we might combine forces and create something worthwhile. Speaking of combining forces – I’ve been talking to my favourite Northern geeky girl Christine and talks of a very specific photography project are in full swing. Some details are yet to be filled in and mulled over before we kick off but there is some definite progress in this area and I hope we can start soon.

I am already working on a Leamington and Warwick based series of the contrasts in the surroundings, photographing the beautifully maintained pride and joy, but also the ruined and neglected. I’ve been to Warwick Castle, The Warwick Maria Church and Leamington Spa Jephson Gardens of which the first two still need to be developed and all need to be printed. Since the darkroom is shut for half-term, I will have sooooo much to print when I can get back in.

I’ve been printing and framing works for the upcoming Twycross Zoo Wedding Fayre, that date is closing in fast. This week I’ll need to put a slideshow together, which I’ve never done in my life so that should be fun (please note the sarcasm). Other than that I have a lot of administrative and research tasks to do on various organisations, funding, galleries etc. and I’ll have some great new artists and photographers to discover. But first I’ll be looking forward to an antique and collectibles fair near Leamington Spa tomorrow, I can barely contain my excitement!  Roll on tomorrow!

Saturday update: Gallery 150, wedding fayre at Twycross Zoo

This week has been a little more relaxed and to be honest, I always find myself slightly flustered as to what to do with myself and my time after having made a tight deadline.

I’ve been working towards my exhibiting at the Twycross zoo wedding fayre on February 2011 – Come and find me if you are attending -It will be my first time exhibiting at a fayre so I am well excited about this day!

I’ve read ‘AUTO-FOCUS; The self-portrait in Contemporary Photography’ By Susan Bright, 2010. It has been a good and useful read as it has given me some fresh ideas for projects in the future, as well as a photography art project collaboration to be made with fellow photographer and awesome geeky girl Christeeny who also led me on to this funny link: Should I work for free? (It’s funny because it’s true)
A little less good and useful about this book has been the ‘ bullshit alarm’ that has been going off in my head at several occasions when reading it. Even though it is perfectly understandable and even desirable for anyone to create a deeper sense of meaning to an image, for me I still find it slightly annoying when someone is digging too hard of deep. For instance: Taking a snapshot of a flower and someone else placing my feeling for my parents, fear of death or love of reading in that image. Understandable – but I call shenanigans! Maybe this annoyance is a mere residue of my time spent at Art College where lazy students made up any story to cover the fact that they hadn’t done any actual work and got a high grade handed to them on a silver platter.

I’ve also been reading ‘ The Creative Darkroom Handbook’ by Chris Wrainwright FRPS, 1993 which proved to be useful when engaging in conversation or searches for outdated film and paper for my Medium Format project with my Microflex TLR. I’ve managed to shoot 3 films with that so far, shooting hand held without a light meter and my guesstimations are still a little off at times. Still, the results have been encouraging. Images to follow soon. In my online quest for information I also stumbled upon the Analog Photography Users group which currently boasts over 47.000 members worldwide. They discuss every format from 35, 120, large format, pinhole – you name it, they’ve got it!

Today, I will be handing over 2 pieces of art at the Gallery 150 for the upcoming ‘Renewal 2′ exhibition. At least one piece per artist will be on display but obviously I’m hoping both of mine will be allowed up. Who knows? If you want to check out my work and that of other Warwickshire based artists, head over to Gallery 150 from the 15th of February onwards. Entry is free.

Saturday update: Exhibit opening

Today my exhibition at the Gaia Coop gallery opened officially an I would just like to extend a big THANK YOU to all that came in. I know some of you had to get into Leamington specifically and some of you were shattered from long hours at work but your attendance today has been amazingly encouraging! If you haven’t had a chance to see it, head over to the Gaia Coop, 7 Regent Place in Leamington Spa where it will be up until the 28th of February.

On other news: My Microflex TLR came back yesterday, all repaired and currently loaded with film. I’ll be hoping to shoot some nice pictures when in London tomorrow. I’ll be attending the London Edge trade show at the Olympia as one of the guests of the Dark Arts alternative agency where I am non-exclusively represented as a photographer. Well, IF I manage to get there. It looks like due to maintenance works there will be at least an hour delay to my journey! *sigh* Maybe it won’t be too bad, I thought wishfully?

Saturday update: Paintings and darkroom

This last week I have done little else but paint, photograph and prepare for my upcoming exhibition at The Gaia Coop in Leamington Spa. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, I will be showing a new series titled ‘Fashion Victims’ (for want of a better name) which will be put up on the 1st of February 2011 and runs throughout the entire month. The opening event will be held on Saturday late afternoon from 16.00 – 18.00 and there will be coffee, tea and cheesecake. Everyone is invited to this free event, so if you happen to be around 7 Regent Place in Leamington Spa, drop by!

I’ve sent off my Microflex TLR to North Shields to have it fixed and hopefully I’ll get it back somewhere next week so I can start using it. In the meanwhile, I have dug up my old Praktica Super TL2 SLR, complete with a set of lenses and accessories, which had been gathering dust underneath the bed for nearly a decade. After all, I was in desperate need of some new images to print in the Darkroom! I have shot and developed an Ilford 125 BW film, shot it indoors ( I know it’s not ideally made for that) and developed it using the gear my Mum has sent over last week. Thanks mum! The results were…..ok. It did give me some ideas for future projects however, so when I’ve got anything good, I’ll make sure to show you.

This week, I’ve also signed myself up for an artist showcase -‘ Renewal 2’ – in Gallery 150 in Leamington Spa, where they will be displaying pieces from members (and some of non-members) of the Leamington Studio Artists (LSA). I will be entering two pieces for this, now all I have to do is keep my fingers crossed both will be selected to go into the show.

Both works will be for sale as well, so if you fancy owning an original by yours truly, head over to the Gallery 150 between the 14th and the 28th of February.

Saturday update: TLR & shoots

Good ol’  saturday! This week I’ve been rather busy and I still have not managed to get everything done I wanted. I found a brilliant Microflex TLR camera at the Warwick Antiques Centre, cosmetically in good condition, the glass is clean and scratch-free and the winding-mechanism (this model’s Achilles heel) seems perfectly purring. It even came with it’s original box, manual and a couple of filters, all for only 95 pounds! There was just one but – so it turned when I had already taken it home. The aperture wheel wouldn’t move any lower than 11, moving freely between f11 and f22. Oh dear…. I took it back to John (the gentleman that sold it to me – I would recommend going to the store if only to have a chat with him. You can find the store at 22-24 High Street in Warwick, UK) to show him the fault he had overlooked.

The camera seemed a little fickle then as well, for when John turned the wheels, everything worked fine. Then I held it again and it froze up! In the end, we worked out that if he could find me someone to repair the fault (for under 60 preferably) I’d gladly have the work done. After all, just try and find a decent vintage camera in perfect condition that won’t need at least basic servicing. If he wouldn’t be able to do so, he offered to give me a full refund. Deal! That’s the nice thing about this place, the people are still of the old-fashioned honest kind. He called me today to tell me that he managed to track down a man in North Shields (of all places!! I used to live there not so long ago!) who repairs old camera’s for his camera club. I’ll send off the camera in the upcoming week and hope the doctor has a cure…..

On other news: I’ve been gathering and cleaning/ painting some frames for my upcoming exposition at the Gaia Coop in Leamington Spa. I’ve spent a lot of my time on painting and drawing and in general getting my work ready to put on the walls before the 1st of February. On the Thursday I’ve spent my first evening in years in the darkroom again and even though I think it’s great to get back into it, I had simply forgotten how long it takes to get even one print done. This will prove to be a lot more fun when I get to move on to large format printing – I am very much looking forward to seeing my first 6×6 negative appear on paper.

I was supposed to attend a Dr Sketchy in Birmingham today with my friend stylist Melysa Fay but for some mysterious reason there was none! Good thing we still enjoyed the Flea Market at the Custard Factory earlier in the day – it’s held every Saturday if you are around – and a light spot of high street shopping. We are planning a couple of shoots together again so watch these Saturday updates for more news regarding that.

Personal update – Face of 2011 competition and art expos

Since it’s Saturday, I’m taking a quick break from my photographer/ artists blogging to bring a little update on my personal life. The year 2011 has started off great – I’ve put a couple of my paintings up at a buzzing local pub in Leamington Spa, ‘the White Horse‘ so if you are local, go check them out!

I’m also preparing for an exhibition which will run in February of some of my other work at the Gaia Coop, a Leamington Spa based ethical food shop, workshop and gallery space. They are located on 7 Regent Place, Leamington Spa and trade in locally and ethically produced, fairtrade, organic, vegan and animal friendly produce. The art space in located in their cellar, which is spacious and well lit, with a different artist showcase each month.

Other than that, I’m preparing for the Twycross Wedding Fayre on the 27th of February 2011, which hopefully will be very succesful and good fun to boot 🙂

I will be one of the official photographers for the ‘FACE of 2011′ competition organised by models-united.com in the Warwickshire region – entry to the competition is complementary with each shoot! Contact me for available dates via the contact form.

I’m very much looking forward to what the new year will have to offer, and I’ll be working my socks off doing shoots and creating new works of art.