I was filling in one of those proposals and thinking that I hadn't made any work recently, but then on listing what I'd actually done so far this year I realised I'd been so busy making work that I hadn't shared it so it had sort of disappeared. Which isn't great. So here's an attempt to catch up.
I asked Ryan Hughes, Artistic Director of Coventry Biennial, if I could help with some of the renovations at their new space at the top of The Empire, a new music venue in Coventry, in return for being able to have poke through the detritus of the building work and see what I could find. I ended up being able to do a few half days and hours helping here and there, take some scans and a few photos before my shoulder gave way, which it has been threatening to do for a while, but it was enough to generate some written work.
Using a desktop scanner to capture the essence of a place is kind of wierd because it's almost pointless. The scanners, I used two onsite just to see how different they were, only collect data from objects pressed right against the glass, the rest of sort of disappears into a blurry gloom, but they do take on a sense of ambient light, and I'd noticed, from scanning next to a window at home over six months that this appears as cast light, and I've become rather obsessed with that. So I really wanted to scan there in those rooms at the top of The Empire (a name I could play with for ever), with their odd array of James Turrell-esque skylights.
Those images turned out pretty enigmatic, which I liked. I also took some regular images with my phone camera and its the long shadows in these that reminded me of the surface of Mars depicted in the NASA lander photos, and this idea of The Empire extending all the way to an inhabitable planet, now seemingly inhabited by an ever growing collection of dust-covered rambling machines representing the ambitions of obscenely rich human beings. These remind me of the cloistered existence of the pet toys in the nationhood of his appartment of Blade Runner's replicant designer.
The Biennial were nice enough to agree to publish some of the resulting work in an appendix to their sixth communique, which I will share properly when it's out.
More prosaically, but just as absorbing, I am designing and producing, in partnership with Helen Nelson, a game-based workshop about liabilities in artist practice for Coventry Artspace's artist development programme. The first part is called Navigating DisasterTM and the first workshops are about to be announced.
I was also comissioned to draw all the illustrations for the development programme, the first part of which is Helen Nelson's Speedy CritsTM.
There has also been further illustration work. I designed a screen print for Talking Birds new Nest Bonds (no.10,) which they launched a couple of weeks ago with their very lovely new studios in the Daimler Building in Coventry. I was very flattered that the other illustrators they comissioned were Frances Yeung and XXXX - which puts me in great company. I have never thought of myself as a drawing type of artist before, and I'm delighted that it's something that others like enough to want to commission me so I'm currently looking at ways to do more of this.
So it wasn't like I haven't been making any work...!