KurbArt

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am working on a major new project, and I’m glad to now be able to announce it. The project has the working title (and hashtag) KurbArt, and brings street art and gallery art together by presenting public art pieces in a gallery style, separately hung to a common top line, with title/artist plaques next to each. The end result will be 13 murals running along a 400 metre wall, with work by 5 different artists.

I am producing 7 of the works, and the pictures above are work in progress images of a series I am calling Figurescapes. Broadly referencing the elements – though I have chosen Space rather than Air – these figures will be cut out and mounted to the wall. Two of my other 3 murals will be normal landscape ratio, and the final one an abstract pattern arrived at by cutting a large landscape into slices. To give a sense of scale, the figures shown are 3 metres tall.

The project is being sponsored by an imaginative developer, Citu, as part of their Little Kelham project. The brief they gave us was very loose, simply requiring that the murals paid heed to their brand values of sustainability, innovation and technology, and a commitment to tackling climate change through reduced carbon emissions. We have all approached this in different ways; the Figurescapes, and one of my landscape murals, will also highlight the importance of people to place. I aim to do this using people shaped empty spaces as well as the figurescapes to invite the viewer to place themselves in the environment.

This is a very exciting project, which will be unveiled on the weekend of the 28th/29th April 2018. I’ll post more teaser images as work progresses, next up is Water, and when that’s done I have 3m x 5m and a 3m x 7m murals to complete, which will reflect the change in the area from a decayed brownfield site to a living environment. Watch this space 🙂

 

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Good start to a new year

 

Invite Kelham Island final

It’s been a busy couple of months for me, but they’ve been good ones. I have a major project coming up, of which more in the next blog. First though I have the news that the Arctic Convoys exhibition ‘For Those In Peril..’ will be showing at Sheffield’s Kelham Island Industrial Museum from March 2nd.

First shown at Sheffield’s gage gallery in June 2017 (to mark the 75th anniversary of the sailing of PQ17), it was the strong and positive response to the show from the 216 visitors to gage that encouraged me to look at taking it away from a gallery setting. Visitor feedback highlighted how many of us have or had family members involved in the convoys. Bringing the show to the industrial museum fits in well with my belief that art can help bring a sense of life to heritage sites, and that art needs to move out of the gallery to encourage people who might not normally engage with it to see it’s relevance to them. I’m currently exploring the future of the exhibition, which I’m hoping to take to Liverpool, Loch Ewe, and ultimately Archangelsk, the destination of PQ17 and many other of the arctic convoys.

Working the show out has also been interesting. One element of the show is that it’s designed as a sequential narrative, but the Brearley room is not as large a space as gage, the gallery I usually exhibit in. Ensuring that the narrative element remains, and is coherent, has been a fascinating challenge, one that I feel has sharpened my curatorial skills as well. Good times 🙂

The exhibition will run from March 4th to May 14th, and is open 10am – 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 11am – 4.30pm Sundays.

 

 

 

 

Playing with colour

Mythago Wood (absorbing) 36pc

Mythago Wood (absorbing)

I have always been entranced by myth, and take great delight in wandering through the remnants of the vast woodlands that used to blanket the British Isles. I am also an avid reader, and occasionally am inspired to respond to works that I find particularly powerful. So last week I decided to tackle a subject that has long engaged me, and play with a colour balance that I use less often. I also thought I’d work on a different surface, having become interested in the challenge of using palette knives on an unyielding base when painting the steel utility cabinets in July and November.

Mythago Wood is a novel by Robert Holdstock, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy. In it, the woodland is timeless, measureless and jealous of its boundaries. Here I have shown it in it’s full power, fighting back against human encroachment, and ultimately absorbing our endeveaours – as indeed is inevitable, surely whilst we are capable of inflicting grievous damage, we will destroy the conditions of our own sustainability well before we destroy all life?

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

 

 

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.