Lest we forget

For Those In Peril

For Those In Peril..

829 Merchant Seamen from 104 ships, and 1,944 Royal Navy personnel from 18 ships lost their lives on Arctic Convoy duty. In protecting the convoys, the RN sank 5 surface ships, 31 submarines and many, many aircraft. Countless more were pulled from the water, from their ships, and from boats and islands, by the RN and the Convoy Rescue Ship Service. Rescuing sailors meant stopping the ship, leaving it wide open to u-boat or air attack.  Referencing the scrambling nets that went over a ships side, and with details of the 18 ships lost, this is my homage to the RN and Convoy Rescue Ships Service.

The sculpture is one of 25 works in a series of artworks both commemorating and offering homage to the work of the men and women of the mercantile marine during the arctic convoys of 1941-45. The works were exhibited as an audio-visual sequential narrative between June 23rd and July 12th 2017 at Gage Gallery in Sheffield. I am currently in talks to restage the exhibition at a different venue in the New Year.

Central to the exhibition were a series of paintings and sculptures, presented as a journey through the eyes of an ordinary merchant seaman engaged in the Arctic Convoy runs of 1941-45. The audience were invited to take the part of the sailor, and immerse themselves in the journey through the artworks and the ambient audio soundscape that accompanied them.

Read more about the exhibition here

 

 

Advertisements

For Those In Peril.. Book now available

 

They’ve arrived 🙂 Very happy to say that the first print run of the book of my last exhibition has now arrived. A5, 200gsm silk finish paper, hardcover, casebound, 60 pages with 27 pictures. I’m really happy with the result, they look and feel like the quality production I hoped they’d be.

The book includes images of all paintings and sculptures in the show, a gallery shot, and all the text that accompanied the artworks at the show (short ‘excerpts from letters home’ that serve as explanation) plus a short history of convoy PQ17 and the overall background to the arctic convoys operations.

The first 50 will be signed and numbered, and they are available direct from me, at £15.00 plus £2.50 postage and packing (UK only first class untracked). For international orders please contact me for a quote.

You can order copies by email. I accept paypal payments and will email you back a link to follow for payment.

(jlpaw@blueyonder.co.uk)

 

 

Telling a story

Front Cover

The feedback I got from the Arctic Convoys exhibition was very strong, and one thing that stood out was how much people appreciated the story that the exhibition told. As a result I have decided to produce a book of the exhibition.

The book will be in landscape format, A5 size, 60 pages long, hardcovered, and printed on 200gsm silk finished paper. It includes a brief history of the convoys, and all the exhibition text and images. I expect it will be out during November, and it will be reasonably priced at £15 plus postage and packaging.

I have also been updating the site, making the artworks section more comprehensible, and including my newer works. Take a look at the new arrangement by following this link Artworks

 

Back on the street

Battle of the giants final40pc

Battle of the Giants

The requistioning of horses during the 1914-18 war gave Sheffield’s industry a considerable problem. The horse was still the main means of transport, including that of moving goods and industrial plant around the City. One company came up with an unusual solution to the problem; Thomas Wards, a scrap dealer, leased an elephant from a menagerie in the city, and used her to help transport metal scrap and machinery around Sheffield, a vital contribution to the war effort. The elephant, Lizzie, was reputed to have overturned a steam traction engine, and I have depicted the aftermath of this, and placed the event in front of the Sheffield Tramways power station that is now the site of Kelham Island Industrial Museum.

In the 1980’s I worked for a community murals organisation in North London. We created murals in schools, hospitals, and a railway station, great fun and I learnt a lot. Now, 29 years later and I’m doing the same again, and loving it. I had been wondering for a while how my current, industrial inspired style would work as street art, and have  been given the opportunity to find out thanks to an exciting initiative generated by the Kelham Island Community Alliance (KICA Facebook page).

The Kelham Island Arts & Cultural Heritage Trail started as an anti-graffiti measure, with a particular focus on telecommunications cabinets (those green steel boxs that have become such a feature of street furniture). It was recognised that taggers were less likely to spray over street art, and so a project to generate murals on all 27 of the cabinets was born.

The brief calls for artworks reflecting the cultural, environmental, industrial and social history of the area, and the individual boxes are sponsored by local businesses. The cabinet I painted is sponsored by a company called The Suit Works, who have a very positive approach to tackling unemployment (a subject very dear to me) – check them out Suitworks website

The Suitworks are a social enterprise, and were able to sponsor the cabinet due to support from Jerry Ibberson, whose family were Sheffield Cutlers, at the Violin Works in the centre of town Brief history of Ibbersons.  In recognition of this, I have include a Violin in the painting, propped up in the bottom R/H corner.

Waterwheel

Waterwheel

Being a 3d work, I had and interesting time coming up with a cohesive design. One side panel references the River Don, the power source that enabled the growth of Sheffields industry.

BOTG Tram end

Sheffield Tram on Mowbray Street

The other shows a Sheffield Tram coming down Mowbray Street, appropriate given that the central panel shows the power station that generated electricity for the tramways network in the city.

So far three cabinets have been completed, and you can see them below. From left to right the works are by me, Simon Wigglesworth Baker, and James Croft. I also have a commission for a 4th, and we expect more to be completed over the next year. An exciting initative and one that I’m proud to be part of. I would like to thank KICA for the opportunity, and once again the Suitworks and Jerry for making it possible.

The first 3

My, Simon’s and James’s cabinets brightening up Ball Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busy August

Skye from Gairloch

Skye from Gairloch

Only half way through the month and I have so much on. Got back from the Scottich Highlands at the end of July, after a week of fanastic sunshine while it rained in most of the rest of the UK 🙂 This painting of the North-Eastern coast of Skye was done from a plein air paint sketch I did standing outside our tent at Big Sands in Gairloch, a lovely place, and one we hope to move too.

Sadly, I got back to discover that we have lost our gallery, Gage. This has been an integral part of our studio collective for 5 years, but now the landlord has taken it back for redevelopment – the harsh reality of cheap rents in an emerging area 😦  I am searching for a suitable replacement for the gallery, and attached arts education space, but there is a shortage of run down industrial property in the area, so we may have to move.

My recent show, For Those In Peril.. was a success, and I am looking for another venue to house it. I’ve got some interest, so I hope to be able to share some more good news with you soon (fingers crossed). Meanwhile I’m busy producing work to fill my stall in our marquee at Sheffeld’s Art In The Gardens event. This takes place over the 1st – 3rd September in the Botanical Gardens, and is always a fun event. This year I will be doing a series of landscapes, and Skye from Gairloch is the first of these. In addition I’m organising a pop-up art show to help promote a local club, to coincide with Nether Edge Farmers Market on the 17th September, and then helping put together the KIAC stall at Kelham Island Industrial Museums ‘Down By The River’ event on September 24th. And I think August is busy 🙂

 

 

 

Last day of the show

exhibition2

Last day of my exhibition today – For Those In Peril..’ at Gage Gallery, Ball Street, Sheffield S3 8EN 11am – 6pm. 205 visitors to date, which is good for a show in the second floor of a factory complex in Sheffield’s industrial hinterland, and I have really enjoyed watching the way viewers have engaged with the show. The response has been fantastic, with ‘Powerful’ and Moving’ the most common comments in the visitor book, and seeing people taking the time to consider each piece, with an average gallery stay of 30ish minutes has been very gratifying . My most positive memory of this show though will be the two women who spent a good 5 minutes in front of each of the 24 works, talking. Naturally this got my curiosity. When they finished their tour, the younger one came up to me and explained that they were from Russia, and she had been translating the text accompanying the works for her Mother. She went on to say that they had been visiting a local street market and popped in on spec, and how happy they were to stumble across an exhibition about a subject that is well known and still valued in Russia, because it was the last thing they had expected. Made my day 🙂 Just have to find somewhere else to house it now.

 

 

The Troubadour’s tale

Desperate Measures

Desperate Measures

July 4th 1942, and Arctic Convoy PQ17 is under heavy attack by Torpedo Bombers flown from Luftwaffe air bases in Norway and Finland. The Navarino has already been abandoned and wallows ablaze in the water. The convoy is 240 miles east of Bear Island, and 800 miles still to go.

On the Panamanian registered freighter Troubador concern about a shortage of ammunition for the ships US Navy installed (and partially manned) defences has resulted in an inventive solution. On her deck she carries 3 M3 light tanks. These are armed with 37mm quick firing M5 guns, and the Troubadour’s hold contains armour piercing ammunition with tracer rounds, necessary against the well protected Heinkel HE-111 bombers the convoy faced. The decision was taken to break the seals on two tanks and the ammunition crates. 2 two man crews were assigned to man two of the tanks, and in this unusual manner she protected herself effectively enough to be one of the 11 merchant ships (of 36) that managed to get to Murmansk. Indeed, the Royal Navy were impressed enough by the approach as to recommend it to other ships in the convoy.

One of the more unusual tales of the Sea, it struck me in researching the story of the Arctic Convoys for my forthcoming exhibition just how inventive people are in the face of adversity. For merchant seamen and women, on their poorly (if at all) armed, and completely unarmoured ships the psychological impact of the unrelenting attacks of bombers and U-boats must have been huge. Human instinct tends to the fight or flight, and at 8 knots no ship can outrun an aircraft. It is admirable that in such circumstances creativity rather than panic rules, and I have titled the painting Desperate Measures in recognition of this.

Flier